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Well, this is going to be my greenhouse (or more specifically, Nephouse) build thread. Starting from the very beginning :smile:

When Ian Salter got me into Carnivorous plants 12 months ago, i was living in a first floor flat with no access to a garden, only my windowsills. A few weeks ago, i officially moved from South Wales to Wigan to be with my partner of 3 years full time.
Roughly 20 years ago, she had a 24 foot x 10 foot static caravan installed in the garden to live in while the house was being demolished and rebuilt. This caravan was never removed after the house was finished, and remained a large dumping ground for general tat and rubbish. The garden had also got very overgrown from years of neglect. This is the scene soon after i started work. The caravan was mostly obscured by brambles, so clearing and laying old carpet as a weed suppressant was the first job in order to easily gain access all around the caravan. Still quite a bit to do, as the capacitor on our garden shredder burnt out and i'm currently waiting on delivery of a new one.

 

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Many trips to the local recycling centre have already been made with loads of rubbish and junk from inside the caravan, and what little remains to be cleared is piled outside. The four trees to the left of the picture are apple and pear trees, which are in need of some serious pruning and tidying up. But we've successfully made some rather good cider with them during my visits up to Wigan over the past few years. (hic! :wacko1: )

 

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Originally, the plan was to convert this huge 24x10 into a greenhouse by removing the upper half of the side cladding all round and replacing with twinwall polycarbonate. The same was going to be done to the flat felted roof, but with a slight apex conversion for water collection via added guttering. However, after removing all interior walls, insulation, and room partitions, it was discovered that the caravan was rotten in places. (Note the dismantled garden shredder awaiting the delivery of new capacitor !)

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So far we've got 15 large rubble sacks full of good timber for our woodburning stove from the interior and i estimate at least another 15 sacks to come. The aluminium cladding once removed, will be re-used to clad our old 12x8 garden shed, which will hopefully cure all the leaks between the parting dried out shiplap so we get a few more years use out of it. The polystyrene insulation boards from the static caravan will also be used to insulate the inside of the garden shed. All the good 4x2 beams from under the floorboards will be re-used to build benches/staging in the new greenhouse. I've also reclaimed metres upon metres of flat twin and earth cable which is in perfect condition considering it's age, and this will come for all the heating/cooling/lighting/pumping/watering wiring systems. We aim to recycle as much as possible from the caravan dismantling. The caravan already has connected water and electricity supplies, which will save a lot of work and they'll only require extending into the new greenhouse position. Even though we intend using rainwater from butts for the plant watering, fresh water for general washing and cleaning of equipment will be an added bonus (we'll be re-using the original sink/drainer top from the caravan).

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So that's the state of play so far. Still loads to do before the caravan is totally removed, including cutting up of the steel chassis, and then ground clearing and levelling so i can then get the greenhouse ordered. We've decided upon a Rion 12x8 Hobby.

I'm very excited about this project and can't wait to see things taking shape over the coming months.
Stay tuned ! :smile:

 

Edited by Welshy
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You have alot of work ahead. Its great to see people recycling good materials. So often people just throw stuff away and get new. Apart from the environmental considerations you also save a fortune.

I have saved hundreds of pounds over the last few years by repaiing power tools and domestic appliances that most would just throw away. Usually its just carbon brush or bearing replacement that cost just a couple of quid.

Ive also been renovating a house and have saved hundreds reusing bricks, stone and timber.

More people should do this but humans are generally lazy or dont want to get their hands dirty.

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WEll good luck with the project Welshy it as a great deal of potential, and it will be worth it :)

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Thanks for your comments. I realise this thread isn't going to be of much interest to most until the greenhouse is erected and the plants move in. But for now it's nothing more than a photo diary for myself to look back on in years to come...... you can't beat the fun involved with destroying your own property sometimes !

It's been slow going, working between the downpours and/or howling gales, but as soon as the skies cleared it was time for the fun to begin.....

 

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I'm hoping more gales might bring the remainder down for me :laugh2:

Edited by Welshy
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Guest paul y

break out the chainsaw and drop those trees! they appear to be shading the area your using and sods law states quite clearly that its coming for you a week after the greenhouse is finished!

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I thought i had already posted the following photos, but obviously not ! This was the state of play 10 days ago, with the old caravan finally dismantled (or should that be destroyed ? Either way it was great fun, and with no injuries !).
A neighbour lent me his circular saw which made short work of cutting up the chassis. The third photo shows the position of the existing water and electricity supplies and the arrow points roughly where i want to extend them to for the new greenhouse.

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Things have progressed a bit further since i took the above photos, with the ground levelled, services extended, and a start made on the base and surrounding footpath. I'll take some more photos in the next few days :smile:

Edited by Welshy
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.......and here's the photos of the start made on the base and surrounding path. I've seen two totally different sets of dimensions on websites for the greenhouse we intend getting, so i'm not taking any chances and will be able to order it in the next 2 to 3 weeks. Then i'll assemble the base of the greenhouse and rest it on top of the already laid blocks in order to get exact measurements for laying the remaining two rows of blocks. That's the plan anyway :smile:

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Edited by Welshy
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coming along nicely.

the foundation looks a bit shallow for laying on soil. Hovever. the greenhouse is relatively light so it could be fine.

So two pipes. One water, whats the other?

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coming along nicely.

the foundation looks a bit shallow for laying on soil. Hovever. the greenhouse is relatively light so it could be fine.

So two pipes. One water, whats the other?

I have dug a shallow 6 inch trench and concreted it as a footing for the blocks. I suppose it looks like the blocks are sitting on the soil surface because i 'ramped' the concrete up around the blocks slightly when i laid them ? I tend to do this when i lay the base row of blocks, just for extra strength and rigidity. I felt 6 inches was ample depth for a light greenhouse as you say, as my footings are sitting on the old rubble from when the house was knocked down and rebuilt 20 years ago, so it's well compacted. I reckon it'll all be fine anyway for a plastic Rion. The paving slabs however are just sitting on top of a 2 inch bed of concrete.

Armoured power cable?

I would definitely route power to a new GH if I was starting from scratch.

Cheers,

Steve

Yeah, it's 4mm 3 core armoured cable beside the 20mm MDPE water mains which have been extended 4 meters from the old caravan position. The small flexi-pipe laid between two blocks is for overflow.... after the rectangle block base is finished, i intend digging out the centre of the greenhouse to a depth of about 1 foot, line it with pond liner, and then fill entirely with large ballast and water. The idea being to create a water table of a foot deep to aid humidity and thermal mass insulation, with the flexi pipe set slightly lower than the ballast level so you're walking on water without getting your feet wet. The overflow pipe just goes under the paving slab at the back and into a 2 foot deep sump hole filled with ballast. I'll also be fitting an overflow from my greenhouse waterbutts (more thermal mass insulation) which can top up the water table, which when full, then overflows outside. I'll also run a tap tee off the mains water pipe so i can also top up the water table if my precious rainwater in the butts needs conserving. I'm going to try and cover as many multiple options as i can, even if some seem like overkill.

Edited by Welshy
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What will you use for ballast? If using rubble, something soft between the ballast and membrane to stop it peircing the membrane when weight is applied on top

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Yes, of course you're right. I'm just trying to avoid describing every single step of the way to the minutest detail in my posts, as that would be far too boring, mate :laugh1:

Ballast/chippings (whatever you prefer to call it) will be bought new from a builder's merchants. I've already got half a dozen or so bags of sand for beneath the membrane, and also for the inside as a bed for the ballast. I'll buy more sand if i find i need it.

Edited by Welshy

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Its a good feeling when things start to take shape, looking good so far. 1 year on and were still finishing things up.

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The greenhouse has now been delivered which enabled me to put the base section together so i could accurately measure where to lay the fourth wall of blocks (due to conflicting greenhouse measurements on different websites). The inside of the foundation was then dug out to a depth of 12 inches, and i've started infilling with sand to bed the pond liner on. Then it's a case of another layer of sand on top of that before filling with 20mm ballast up to the level of the blocks.

 

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Edited by Welshy
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Looking good!

Are you finding that it is consuming huge quantities or materials? I would imagine that it is going to take a least two of those cube-shaped builders bags of 20mm stuff to fill your space there.

Cheers,

Steve

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Looking good!

Are you finding that it is consuming huge quantities or materials? I would imagine that it is going to take a least two of those cube-shaped builders bags of 20mm stuff to fill your space there.

Cheers,

Steve

Indeed Steve. What you see of the base has cost about £130 so far (30 blocks, 20 pavers, 1/2 tonne of chippings, sand, and a few bags of cement). I'll need to get about another 10 or 12 pavers to complete the path around the greenhouse, but they can wait till later in the year.

I reckon it may take at least 2 tonne of ballast to fill the water pit, maybe more, so that'll be about another £80. But i see it as a long term investment that may help keep humidifier electricity costs down. I'll have to wait and see.

Edited by Welshy

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Guest paul y

go on gumtree trade it etc and go see your builders merchants for split bags etc, it sounds a little stig of the dump but you wouldn't believe what you can get for next to nothing. I always do the rounds in the local area for unused building materials most people are happy to get rid of half dumpy bags of aggregates, I haven't paid full price for breeze blocks or bricks in years, same with holm sand.

just ask the worst they can say is no, every quid saved on the basics can be a quid extra on plants

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Thanks for the tips Paul, but unfortunately we've only got a little 2 door Corsa so we wouldn't be able to run around getting stuff like 2 tonnes of ballast :laugh1:

If we had a transit van or even a towbar and trailer for the car, then yeah, your suggestions would've been a great idea. I wouldn't have thought of Gumtree (never used it) and i haven't even heard of trade-it.

I shall do some searching and bookmarking for future projects, cheers !

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its coming along nicely. How is the base attached to the blocks?

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its coming along nicely. How is the base attached to the blocks?

Cheers :smile:

Each corner and all the tee pieces have two fixing holes either side of the upright which will allow up to a 6mm screw/bolt.

40 anchor points in total. Would cost a fortune to use them all :laugh1:

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Guest paul y

all of my collecting is done in a two door clio sport, it belongs to my beautiful and amazing partner (she may read this!) it usually takes multiple trips and knocking down the seats,  also just like Harold Steptoe I will use my wheelbarrow to move stuff, its a common sight to see me with my five year old in my wheelbarrow giving directions.

some top tips, 5 metres of 9inch by 3inch creates problems and bashed legs when wheelbarrowed round blind corners (also knocks off wing mirrors), the police in their typical fashion will have nothing better to do than follow you round for a few hours just to make sure your not a thief. and as soon as you spent four hours wheeling polycarb half way across knowle your NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR will tell you he has a garage full you could have had.

one day I will buy a van(possibly a pack donkey or mule) it will be a good day and I will mourn my wheelbarrow

go forth and scab ask and you shall receive

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Also try Freecycle. Left over building materials often pop up. It is ok if you are not working to a tight timetable. .

Cheers,

Steve

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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