DIY Lean-to Greenhouse: How to Build a Solarium Yourself with Plans & Kits!

Solariums are a sunny three-sided room off connected to your house. Sometimes solariums aren’t used to grow food, but are more similar to a sunroom.

Conservatories and sunrooms are used more as sitting room, not a place to grow food. I still have fond memories of my grandparents’ sunrooms as they’re seen more in the UK where I grew up.

Here in North America weather like deep snow and cold reduce people’s desire for sunrooms. However, lean-to greenhouses offer an opportunity for a year-round garden close to your home.

Whether it’s a lean-to greenhouse or solarium they’re used to grow plants year-round, or seed starting with benches.

Lean to greenhouses
Lean to greenhouses from White Cottage

While we grow food year-round in our unheated 20’x 20′ greenhouse, we’ve thought about building a lean to greenhouse against a garden shed or the chicken coop. When we started thinking up different chicken coop plans, I had in mind to use the coop warmth for cold frames, however because we get snowy winters is was more important to have our chicken coop raised off of the ground for increased roaming area.

water collection off of a lean to greenhouse
Love this water collection idea from woodpecker

Lean-to Greenhouse Kits

Here are some visual ideas for lean to greenhouses and solariums. Check your local area for any builders specializing in building them. You can also build your own, I’ll share some DIY lean to greenhouse plans at the end of this post. Although there are many greenhouse kits, it’s harder to find lean to greenhouse kits.

One thing to consider is whether you’ll use brick or wood for your base building construction.

I love these lean to greenhouses build from woodpecker in the UK.

I LOVE these cold frames against the lean to greenhouse

Very extravagant corner solarium and potting shed

Solarium and potting shed

Other ideas for lean to greenhouses

Lean to Greenhouse Idea

Lean to greenhouses
Greenhouse from Sturdi Built
lean to greenhouse cottage garden
LOVE this cottage garden lean to greenhouse spotted on Instagram

Lean to Greenhouse Plans

If you want to build your own lean to greenhouse you can check out these plans.

Lean to greenhouse plans so you can build your own

Click here for more plans

Lean to greenhouse plans

Lean to plans from Grovida

Lean to greenhouse kits

There are some greenhouse companies like Windsor that offer small lean to greenhouse kits

Lean to greenhouse kit

Lean-to Greenhouses Benefits

  • They make a great use of space because one wall isn’t glass or polycarbonate
  • They retain heat better than stand alone greenhouse because one wall is against a building
  • They add a wonderful architectural feature to your home
  • Other building option other than your home, are building such as chicken coops or a garden sheds

lean to greenhouse with stone floor

Before Building your Lean-to Greenhouse

There are things to consider before building your lean to greenhouses:

  • Sunlight- you need to have adequate sunlight so you can grow plants.
  • The height of the walls of your house will be a factor to the width your solarium can be (in general the wider the higher the supporting wall must be)
  • Building code for your area
  • Whether or not you’ll add supplementary heating
  • If you’re growing food or using it as a conservatory
  • If you have a lot of snow keep in mind glass breaks easily and polycarbonate might be a better choice unless you plan on heating your solarium
  • Ventilation systems, windows and doors
  • COST will be a major factor to the design
  • Whether you’ll add cold frames on the outside of your solarium

Double solarium

Will a lean to greenhouse work for you?

That depends on your finances, backyard size and whether you can find someone to build a solarium in your area or build your own. In general I absolutely love these lean to greenhouses and find them to be a great way to grow food if you can afford one!

Solariums & lean to greenhouses

4 thoughts on “DIY Lean-to Greenhouse: How to Build a Solarium Yourself with Plans & Kits!”

  1. I am going to build a 40’ long by 12’ wide greenhouse attached to my detached garage back wall that’s about 10’ high. I’ll put in a 3’ high retaining wall on the outside. I have 21 sheets of 3’X 8’ glass that I could use for the outside wall? I want aluminum extrusion beams and 8 mm poly roof panels.

  2. Thank you for all the ideas. I have an old primitive greenhouse on the side of my detached garage. It is at least 30 years old and in dire need of replacement. I’m excited with all the beautiful ideas and will move forward next spring!!!

  3. I hadn’t even considered a greenhouse attached to the side of my house or garage. I was planning on adding a freestanding structure in my backyard. You have given me something to think about.


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