I've had a greenhouse for a few years now, but just had a mixture of old tables and stand-alone shelving that I already had.
It was always my intention to build proper shelving that fitted the greenhouse, but always felt daunted by the project.
Finally in July hubby and I pushed forward in buying lengths of wood, screws & mesh to make the shelving. We drew up plans, measured the wood carefully before buying... then changed the plans once we got going... amazingly the wood was still exactly the right amount, only very short pieces left over
Anyway, I wanted to share the process, because I know when we were planning this I found that pictures of other people's similar projects really helped in getting a feel for how we should do it, and not feeling so daunted by the idea of starting from scratch. This won't interest a lot of people, but I hope it may help someone in the future with ideas.
First here is the finished staging... complete with plants. Don't laugh at my shade cloth... with is an old sheer curtain from the house. It seems to work well
It's a 6' x 6' greenhouse, so not massive, but enough space to to have the U shaped staging with space left to get in and get to the plants
We made it mostly single layer (because I seem to rot plants underneath if I have them on multi-layer shelves) with one section that is three shelves deep for storing pots, fertilizer, tools etc.
Above the shelves is a mesh from which I can hang mounts. This is made of the old shelves from some of the old units I used to use, flattened and affixed to the back legs, which were purpose extended up above the shelving for this purpose.
I was worried that stand-alone units would never fit together properly, so we made 4 units for the four corners, and then shelves that spanned the gaps. Thus making it a complete unit, that holds together and does not pull apart. However each piece is small enough to get through the door (and round the corner as there is a wall only just outside the door and only a path width to maneuver in), and the whole thing comes apart easily so that we can take it out and clean the greenhouse, or put up the bubble wrap in the winter. But while it comes apart it is solid as a rock once together.
So... the process... it took 5 days, spread across several weekends.
We might not have used the best techniques... but they were techniques we could easily achive with just basic tools... a saw, a power drill (I had such great fun using that, I never have before
) and electric skrewdrivers were the main tools throughout... nothing fancy at all.
We also used rough cut wood from a local timber yard, and didn't worry about screws showing or even being perfectly aligned... after all this is for a greenhouse, if we were making something for the house it would have to be far more carefully done! All wood, screws and mesh were of course bought as treated ones that can withstand being wet. We used two types of wood... 25mm x 50mm and the other 50mm x 50mm.
We started with one of the table tops. We made a grid, starting with a surround, then 3 bars across. These were all angled with the narrow side up. Then we added two bracing bars the other way on. Then 'fill-ins'... short pieces of the 50x50 wood which filled in the gap between the two bracing bars and the top level of the rest of the table top.
We had a fine mesh to cover the table top. I chose a mesh rather than a slatted top as it makes it easy to stand small pots and is also very free draining so I can just water my plants and let the water run onto the floor.
But before adding that we added legs of the 50x50 wood. The back legs coming up above the table top to support the grid for the mounts and shorter front legs.
Finally bracing bars were added arround the legs, and the grid was cut to size and stapled down. We made the mistake of trying to do these last couple of stages in-situ in the greenhouse when the rest had been done in the garden. We needed more space.
The original design was for longer tables, in two of the corners and shorter spanning tables, but we realized that the longer tops would not fit through the door/round the corner of the wall, so that constrained our design to this size.
At the end of the day my first plants went into their new home, all be it temporarily and the rest went back onto the old tables. We had to empty the greenhouse each day we worked, but it kept the plants out the way and had them back in place overnight and during the week days when we weren't working on it.
I was out for the morning of day 2, so hubby spent the morning sawing up lengths of wood ready to do a more concentrated after noon of putting together without having to keep pausing to saw the next piece. The first unit had been a sort of prototype, working out what we were doing, so needed to be done one step at a time, but now we had the idea we could speed up. This time doing most of the construction in the garage as it was during the UK's massively hot July and the garden had become just way too hot.
Each corner unit is slightly different. The two in the back have three longer legs rather than two, as they will sit in the back corners and of course each is a different way around to the other.
We completed one of the back corner units on the afternoon of day 2, and again the plants went back into their new home at the end of the day.
We started day 3 by throwing out the final 5 of the grids for the table tops that were all the same size as the previous two. We really knew what we were doing now
Then the third top. We now had enough shelving that I didn't need a couple of the old ones, and that meant the old shelf tops were available to make a mount rack on the third unit.
We had originally planned to have a wooden bar along the top of the back legs above the mount rack, but we found that unnecessary.
And again... plants back in place at the end of the day. Including mounts on my very effective new mount racks
We just had an afternoon available which spent putting together the 3 shelf unit for tools, pots etc. We had already completed the shelf units for it, getting all three lined up and in place took a surprisingly long time.
Originally, for symmetry, the top shelf was at the same height as the top of the mount racks on the other units. However Day 5 didn't come until last weekend, several weeks after the rest of the work, and in that time I found it was too high for practicle use, and too close to the roof of the greenhouse. So as part of day 5 we took the top layer off again and shortened the legs then put it back again lower. But here it is in place before that.
What I also did at this point is put copper tape around the legs of all the units. This aims to discourage slugs... no idea if it works but it was worth a try
Due to busy weekends and a vacation we didn't get the final stage done until this weekend. I used the existing 4 units as stand alone units, but hadn't really gained any space over the old stand-alone shelving.
This weekend was when it really came together
We had already made an extra top of the same size as the others to span the gap between the back two units. We had also made two smaller shelves, using up the off cuts of the mesh from the larger shelves.
So first all the plants had to come out the greenhouse yet again. They've never had so many trips to the garden
Moving everything to the garage again, we fixed bars connecting the back two units together. These bars are fixed with coach bolts which can easily be removed, and we cut slots rather than holes in the bars for the bolts to go through, so that they can be adjusted left to right to snugly fit the shelf resting on them. There are then also two locating screws up from the bars into the shelf to stop it moving, but easily removed when we want to dismantle the setup.
Then having taken that apart again we fitted similar bars across the gap between the front and back pieces. In a similar way with coach bolts and slots so that the shelf could be slotted in, then everything tightened up.
Then finally we tested the full setup in the greenhouse, before dismantling it and transferring it to the greenhouse. Thus testing the whole idea of being able to easily take it apart when needed as well.
I've been really pleased with the result. Roughly made, but strong and just perfect for the greenhouse