Greenhouse Types: Functional

Hobby Greenhouses

Hobby Greenhouses

Hobby greenhouses are perfect for enthusiasts whose collection has outgrown their window sill, but are not ready for a sizable structure.

These greenhouses are designed to meet the needs of entry level gardeners. While 300 plants would overwhelm this type of greenhouse, it is perfect for the gardener who wishes to start a few trays of seedlings in the spring or overwinter potted deck plants.

Hobby greenhouses typically feature simple configurations and only include a door, windows, roof ventilation, and possibly a greenhouse bench. These structures are typically not equipped with motorized accessories.

 Propagation Greenhouses

Propagation Greenhouses

A propagation greenhouse is a perfect solution for gardeners who usually have plant trays occupying every household window. The addition of a propagation greenhouse with adequate bench space and a potting area can lead to a flourishing summer garden.

Temperature, water, and sunlight can easily be monitored and controlled for the cultivation of a variety of seeds.

You can harden the plants in preparation for outdoor transplant at the end of spring. Our greenhouse experts can work with you to make the appropriate accessory selections.

 Commercial Greenhouses

Commercial Greenhouses

Commercial greenhouses are designed to generate revenue and are tailored to fit specific business needs. They are commonly employed by florists, restaurants, grocery stores, and wineries. These greenhouses are typically used to grow flowers and vegetables, as dining space, or as product display areas.

A business’s requirements determine the design of commercial greenhouses. Styles range from decorative to contemporary, and structures and floor plans are designed to suit specific needs. Fans and humidifiers are beneficial in working greenhouses. If guests utilize the space, drip and shading systems can be installed to establish an ideal environment that for plants and people.

 Research Greenhouses

 Research GreenhouseResearch greenhouses are primarily used in agricultural extension departments, universities, medical research facilities, biotechnology labs, and commercial agricultural research. They allow for meticulous control over propagation, growth, and the environmental conditions needed for precise experimentation. Multiple zones can be incorporated into the greenhouse, allowing separate research projects in each room. Cross contamination is reduced by incorporating independent zones, and each zone can maintain specific growing conditions and control systems. Temperature, lighting, nutrients, shading, water, and air circulation can be controlled and monitored. Computer monitoring and cell phone updates are available with an environmental control system.

 Educational Greenhouses

Educational Greenhouse

Educational greenhouses are typically found on college and university campuses. Many high schools and even primary schools have begun constructing greenhouses as popularity grows. Greenhouses provide students a unique opportunity to study horticulture first hand.

Universities often conduct studies on plant growth, pesticides, and genetics, while vocational schools may propagate plants for landscaping course work. Elementary schools often utilize the greenhouse to expose students to seeding plants and butterfly raising.
Most schools choose to implement an environmental control system, so plants can receive proper care through automated processes, which allows educators to focus on the lesson rather than the greenhouse and plant maintenance.

 Institutional Greenhouses

Institutional Greenhouse

Institutional greenhouses are often used by both private and public entities, such as clubs, foundations, and retirement communities. Retirement community residents can benefit greatly from the addition of a greenhouse, because gardening is seen as a low impact solution to the elderly’s need for physical activity.

Studies have also shown that exposure to the sun’s rays can provide health benefits. A greenhouse allows residents to be exposed to sunlight and the beauty of nature while still being protected from the outside elements. Depending upon your application, Solar can work with you to ensure safety concerns are addressed and building codes are carefully considered.

 Dual Function: Plants and People

Plants and People

A dual function greenhouse is dedicated to both plants and people. In a dual function greenhouse, growing areas can line the walls or groupings can be arranged in to reserve space for other activities. Plant stands and vertical growing, like plants hung from a ring and collar, can maximize growing areas. The greenhouse may incorporate space for entertaining complete with a sitting area and table.

The gardener may also use the room for various leisure activities and is only limited by their imagination. A sitting area provides the ability to enjoy their investment, especially the beauty of flowers and fruits produced by their plants. The growing space and people space can be proportioned to fulfill the needs of the owner.

 Urban Greenhouses

Urban Greenhouse

Urban gardening has become popular in the horticultural world. Gardeners are revitalizing abandoned lots, growing vegetables on balconies, and converting small backyards into flower beds. Many people believe greenhouses require a large plot of land, but this is not the case. Urban greenhouses are smaller, well-suited to city spaces, and can produce vast quantities of plants in a controlled, protected environment. Greenhouse locations can include small parks, yards, terraces, balconies, and rooftops.

Solar designs urban greenhouse interiors to maximize available space, and provide ways to create vertical growing space when floor space is limited. Benches can be tiered, trellises can be installed, and shaded areas underneath benches are especially useful for plants with low light requirements. Solar offers metal trellises that can be run from floor to ceiling and are useful for climbing plants, such as cardinal vines, vining beans, and honeysuckle. Another suggestion to maximize your growing area is the addition of plant hangers. Even in situations with very limited space, Solar Innovations, Inc. can design a highly productive urban greenhouse.

 Garden Windows

Garden Window

Garden windows are similar to small scale greenhouses. They are the perfect solution when space is so limited that there is no site suitable for a full greenhouse.

Each window’s size is determined by the customer’s need. Solar Innovations, Inc. can custom manufacture any size and shape to fit. These windows are often a reasonable alternative in residential areas where communities do not allow greenhouses.

Raising plants in a garden window is a more economical option if the gardener does not have enough plants for a greenhouse, yet too many for the window sills. The garden window is designed to incorporate ridge vents and operable windows for air circulation and ventilation.

Additional heating and cooling is provided by the home’s existing systems. Garden windows can be much larger than the term suggests. A walk-in garden window can be separated from the home by a door so you are physically able to step inside the unit.
Once inside, shelves surround you on three sides. Many gardeners grow several types of plants by adjusting the shelves to accommodate specific plant types. This option is an ideal solution for a gardener who has a small collection of plants.



Atrium greenhouses are a blend of traditional construction and greenhouse design, originating in ancient Rome as open air courtyards. Today they are generally enclosed structures with glass roofs, traditional construction framing, and large windows, which create the greenhouse environment.

Atriums can serve multiple purposes, including: dining, entertaining, art, and retail. Many atriums are decorative and follow classic styling. There are often columns lining the traditional walls, finials and ridge cresting adorning the skylight, and grids in the window design. The frame finish of both the skylight and windows can be custom matched to any existing frame.

A custom designed atrium is a great addition to any building plan; many atriums are created from existing sunrooms or from rooms with good solar exposure that can accommodate skylights.

Either situation works well, and Solar Innovations, Inc. can assist you in creating a fully functioning atrium greenhouse. The structure will provide adequate lighting from above and through large windows, allowing virtually any type of plant to flourish.

 Cold Frames

Cold Frame

Cold frames are one of the oldest forms of greenhouses. A cold frame is a small container with a glass lid that houses plants. The cold frame is placed on top of the soil where plants are growing. Cold frames capture solar heat and store it for later use during the night, which allows the plants to survive during cold temperatures.

Seedlings can be started in a cold frame in early spring to get a jump on the season. Then in fall, cold weather crops such as carrots and kale can be planted in the cold frame for fresh vegetables into the winter season. Traditional cold frames are constructed out of wood, which can rot after several years and require maintenance. Solar Innovations, Inc.’s cold frames are constructed out of aluminum that will not rot, warp, or rust. Lids can remain open by a manual “hold open bar,” which is weather resistant. They can be added onto a greenhouse’s exterior for increased growing space.