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How to Transport a Greenhouse

August 20, 2020
 By Heavy Haul and Oversized
How to Transport a Greenhouse
Last Modified: June 2, 2023
Need to know how to transport a greenhouse? From B2B shipments to business to residential, see how Heavy Haul and Oversized can get your greenhouse on the road.

Whether you have an existing structure to move from one place to another, or you’re hauling a brand-new one to set up for the first time, it’s imperative you know how to transport a greenhouse. The buildings, which can greatly range in size, are not inexpensive and learning how to prepare and properly ship them can be a hurdle if not appropriately taken on. 

Having knowledge about greenhouses and how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates various aspects of them is a good first step, as is knowing what your different options are from getting them from point A to point B. With the right attitude, knowing how to transport a greenhouse can turn into a less frightening endeavor.

There are many different kinds of greenhouses and how you end up transporting them will depend on what style it is and what materials it has. Keep reading to learn about the optimal way to safely have your greenhouses hauled.

What Is A Greenhouse?

A greenhouse is a structure that is built to help grow fruits, vegetables and flowers by harnessing available sunlight to kickstart climatic changes inside. Greenhouses can be small and simple with few bells and whistles or very large to account for commercial use and include heating/cooling options electronically. These bigger structures may also incorporate additional lighting and regulation of humidity to help create the ideal conditions for plant growth.

The most basic way the greenhouse naturally works without all of the other additions is sunlight enters the transparent walls and roof. This allows the interior of the greenhouse to get light and also raise the temperature inside. Because the greenhouse is completely enclosed, the heat can’t escape through convection — the transfer of heat from an area to another by the movement of fluids, in this case humidity.

The amount of optimal light varies for each type of plant you’re trying to grow and the cover for the greenhouse should reflect that. You can generally pick between glass, cloth or polyethylene (plastic) and fiberglass. Each has their own merits and drawbacks, which should be thought about when picking.

Most greenhouses do have ventilation, which plays an important role for the plants being grown. Some pathogens that affect plants can build up in still air and proper circulation is essential in preventing this from happening. Through vents or fans, ventilation can also introduce a fresh supply of air into the greenhouse that aids in both plant respiration and photosynthesis.

A greenhouse will appeal to all sorts of interested customers and the range in price reflects that. A very simple structure could be bought from a big box retailer or home improvement store for personal use for just hundreds of dollars. However, the bigger and more complex the greenhouse, the higher the cost — which can be thousands of dollars for home use and tens of thousands for commercial usage.     

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greenhouse in a backyard

Different Types Of Greenhouses

As mentioned above, greenhouses come in all different sizes. There are also a few different kinds depending on the scale in which they’re intended to be used.

The different designs of greenhouses are also helpful in selecting the right one based on your objectives. The designs are not the same because certain kinds or features are conducive to one type of plants could actually negatively affect another type. It’s important to keep in mind what you plan to grow before investing a lot of time and money into a greenhouse that is ill-suited for your purposes. 

1. A-Frame

This is a simple, popular design that doesn’t require a bunch of materials and is therefore relatively inexpensive to construct yourself or buy pre-made. As the name hints at, the roof slopes down almost to the ground. For this reason, there needs to be a concerted effort to make sure the edges and corners get sufficient airflow.

2. Lean-to

This kind of greenhouse is more for personal use and it gets its name because it is built onto the side of a very sturdy, existing structure — such as a house. This kind of greenhouse is beneficial when space is an issue or if the elements are a concern to the structural integrity. One issue that needs to be addressed with a lean-to is where it is erected. It needs to be placed on a side of the house that seems a lot of sunlight during the day and not in one that seems a majority of shade.

3. Hoop House

Many of the names for greenhouses are descriptive of the shape and a hoop house is no exception. The structure looks like half a hoop and is valued for its ability to allow for more vertical growth among plants and easier access through the wide openings at one or both ends of the structure. This is another type of greenhouse that can be cheaply constructed but if it is put up in an area that snows, special care must be taken to not allow the weight of that precipitation to cave in the roof.  

4. Gable Roof

One of the most popular designs for a greenhouse, the pitched roof, straight walls and glass walls to let in ample amounts of sunlight make this a good setup. These buildings are able to hold a lot of plants and also lend themselves to being able to be easily walked around inside. With a straightforward design, there’s the chance you could choose to erect it yourself. Even more simple is a prefabricated kit that makes setting up the greenhouse to be easy as can be.

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5. Gothic Arch

This style of greenhouse is for those who want a more aesthetically attractive design. This kind is both functional and elegant since the style of roof allows for rain or snow to not pile up while the structure is still able to absorb light very easily. Construction is not any harder than even the more simple designs.

6. Geodesic Dome

This is a greenhouse that has some very strong pros but one perceived con. Let’s go over the positives first. The spherical shape of the dome lends it to being extremely sturdy. It will stand up to nearly any type of weather and its design is also very energy efficient, allowing in an ample amount of light. The one drawback is you might need a professional to build and install because of the preciseness needed to accurately construct it. If you’re not a master craftsman, there’s little chance you’ll be able to do it yourself.

7. Sawtooth

Without a photo of this kind of structure, it’s hard to explain exactly what it looks like. Imagine a hoop structure with one side dropped down lower so that there is a wall of vents that can flip open for easy ventilation. This is ideal because heat rises and that hot air can exit at one of the tallest points of the greenhouse. On the flipside, new air can blow into the greenhouse, allowing for the cycle to continue.

This is a bit of a more complex setup, so that’s something to think about when opting for this type of greenhouse.

8. Shade house

Not every greenhouse should be designed for maximum sunlight. There are some plants that do not need intense, direct rays from the sun since it will actually damage or kill them. With a shade house, shade cloths are used rather than glass or plastics on the ceiling and sides. The cloth is customizable in the sense that you can purchase from a number of different shades to find the one that’s right for your operations.

These are specialized greenhouses that might not be so simple to construct, so that should be taken into consideration. 

small greenhouses

Getting A Greenhouse Ready For Shipping

Whether it’s a brand-new, prefabricated set or you need to move an existing greenhouse to a new location, this is a structure with both strong and fragile components, so special care should be taken during the transportation.

Unless the greenhouse in question is relatively small and its materials can be secured in place, using a flatbed trailer and leaving it in complete condition will not be the way to go. As with any freight shipment, the overarching goal is to have the greenhouse show up in pristine, undamaged condition.

A helpful tip to make reassembly easier in its new home is to take pictures of the completed greenhouse so when it needs to be reconstructed, there are readily available points of reference. Also using a pen or another marking device that will write on the glass or aluminum pieces can also help. You can number them or mark the pieces so that putting it up is more of a breeze.

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In nearly every case, if your greenhouse has glass, that will need to be taken out of the frame for safety reasons. The last thing you’d want is big, possibly expensive glass panels to shatter during shipping. Removing them and tightly securing them so they can’t bounce, shift or bang into anything will be a huge step in that direction.

As far as other parts go, you’ll be able to take less stringent care of plastic, cloth or metal pieces of the greenhouse. However, it should still be loaded and maybe strapped together in a way where it will suffer the least amount of impact. The plastic or cloth could be susceptible to being ripped so having it rolled up, covered in some manner and away from anything that can pierce or slice these materials is a good practice.

The metal should be much more durable so the biggest thing to do is make sure none of those parts become bent or otherwise unusable during shipping.

Options For Shipping A Greenhouse

There are a few different options that are available when you’re ready to transport your greenhouse. If it is a small structure that can be broken down, you can use a large van or have it put on the back of an 18-wheeler as the preferred mode of transport.

Mentioned in the previous section, it will be rare for it to be feasible to transport an already built greenhouse in its completed form to a different spot. Either deconstructing a previously used greenhouse or waiting to put together one that is newly purchased will be the best option.

However, if you think it is the best course of action, you’ll probably need a flatbed (possibly oversized). For a greenhouse that uses plastic or cloth as its cover, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Even fiberglass could theoretically be easily moved since it is much more resistant to breaking than regular glass. 

It would not be recommended, though, if you’re shipping a greenhouse that has glass panels. Glass is heavy, more expensive than plastic or cloth — especially if it’s been specially cut and designed for your greenhouse — and obviously very prone to cracking or breaking altogether.

If you’re planning on shipping several greenhouses or a number of prefabricated kits at a time, then a van or smaller truck would no longer make sense. You’d want a flatbed trailer or an 18-wheeler. If you have enough greenhouses, you might even require that the entire cargo space in that 18-wheeler be available for your shipment.

woman working in a greenhouse

EPA’s Role In Regulating Greenhouses

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does have a bit of a role in regulating greenhouses. However, it is technically more indirect. What’s meant by that is the regulations are more for what happens once a greenhouse is up and running than it is about the structure itself.

For instance, the organization oversees the types of soil fumigants used in a greenhouse setup. A soil fumigant is a pesticide that turns into a gas when it is sprayed onto soil. This is used to control any pest infestations that could potentially kill the plants or make them otherwise unviable. The fumigants are also effective in combating the effects. The EPA also has led the charge in the United States phasing out methyl bromide, which is a fumigant that has the undesirable effect of depleting the ozone layer. It is also toxic to humans.

The EPA also offers up helpful tips on the best practices when trying to prevent pollution from a greenhouse. Some of the following tips are great for both home and commercial greenhouse users:

  • Store any fuel, waste, pesticides or fertilizers away from any sources of water like lakes, ponds or rivers. If you have a well near your greenhouse, it’s a good idea to make sure it is at a higher elevation than where you keep plant fertilizers or pesticides.
  • Instead of putting down a concrete slab under your greenhouse in outdoor areas, consider using gravel. This will help with drainage.
  • Consider the use of watering systems known for efficiency.
  • The greenhouse should be set up in a way it can have proper irrigation systems. It is also possible to set the systems up so that wastewater can be separated, disinfected and reused.

The EPA also tries to protect workers in commercial greenhouse operations by mandating that they’re given proper training and protection equipment before and while they’re on the job.

Transporting A Greenhouse With Heavy Haul and Oversized

Now that you’re much more knowledgeable about how to transport a greenhouse, give the experts at Heavy Haul and Oversized the chance to move the structure to its next destination. Depending on the size of the greenhouse, you might need regular or oversized shipping, both of which we can provide.

We have all the different kinds of trucks you might need at your disposal: traditional 18-wheelers, long flat beds and also the accommodations you may require to ship an oversized load. With the variety of trucks to choose from, we offer our unwavering pursuit of making deliveries on time. Our 99.5 percent on-time delivery rate attests to that goal.

Heavy Haul and Oversized truckload shipping includes real-time freight visibility so you know approximately where your greenhouse is at in a moment’s notice. Another thing offered with all shipments done by us is our industry-leading customer service, which means any concerns or questions can be answered by us at any time.

Heavy Haul and Oversized can also offer additional cargo insurance when you’re shipping something highly valuable and want an added peace of mind. During those times when you need your freight to arrive just a little faster, our expedited freight shipping service will be of interest. Depending on the length of the route, a day or two could be lopped off the journey.

So when you’re ready to transport a greenhouse, give Heavy Haul and Oversized a call at (855) 490-2433 for a free quote and to find out how we can help make your shipping goals a reality.

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