How to construct a shade house – Shade cloth greenhouse DIY


The best shade cloth for greenhouse is a water resistant knitted. It will not unravel if cut and is available in a variety of colors and percentages. A shade cloth of 30-50% is ideal for most vegetables, however, some plants require a shade cloth of 30-60%. Generally a 40% white shade house greenhouse is the best for most horticulture farmers. It is ideal for tomato farmers, bell pepper farming, leafy vegetables farming and even English cucumbers.

Constructing a shade house or a shade net greenhouse isn't difficult at all. All you need are wooden poles, a poly wire, a shade cloth, nails, tying wire, wood guard, twine and some deformed iron bars.

In this video I am extending an already existing shade cloth greenhouse, and I will walk with you step by step, so that you see how a shade cloth greenhouse is constructed.

The wooden poles vary in size and length, depending on where they are going. Some are 4.6 metres long, others are 4 metres long and the shortest ones are 3.2 metres long. As we construct our greenhouse we will see where which size fits.

We start by setting out a physical layout of our greenhouse. We cut deformed bars to a length of about 40cm then use them as pegs at the corners of our greenhouse and at every spot where we are going to erect a wooden pole. In a single row, the poles are 3 metres apart. This is because our shade cloth has a width of 3 metres. If the shade cloth had a width of 2 metres then in a single row the poles were going to be 2 metres apart. Then from one row to the other, the poles are 4 metres apart. So we are basically using twine to mark these cross sections.

The next stage is to dig holes so that we can erect our wooden poles. The holes should be a bit bigger than 150mm in diameter (15cm) and 600mm deep (60cm). The poles we are going to put in these holes have a diameter of 100mm to 150mm (10cm-15cm), so the holes should be a bit bigger than that.

Now lets cut our poles, to make sure they are according to specific lengths we want. We start with the ones we are going to erect upright. They should have a length of 4 metres and 60cm (or 0.6 metres) should sink into the holes we have just dug.

As about 60cm of the wooden pole is going to sink into the hole, we need to treat that part with wood guard, so that termites do not quickly destroy our wooden poles.

After putting all the poles in their respective holes, its time to compact the soil and make the poles stand firm and straight upright.

Now lets put in place 4.6 metres long poles. They join rows, and the roles are 4 metres apart, so these poles should be a little longer than 4 metres and 4.6 metres is ideal. The diameter should be 75mm to 100mm (7.5cm to 10cm).

Now lets chop off some parts of the ends of the logs, so that we can easily nail them together. We don't want the ends to be round because they won't hold firm to the upright poles.

When you are done then start nailing the poles. The nails should be 6 inch long and its best to use stainless steel nails. We are just putting nails in place here, we are not fastening the logs to the upright poles yet.

This is the twine we use to construct the shade house greenhouse. We use it during setting out, then we use it to join the shade cloth, and in future when the shade cloth gets torn, we will use this twine to stitch the torn parts.

We will definitely need at least two ladders, so that we can nail the 4.6 metre logs towards the roof of the shade net greenhouse. If you don't have a ladder, you can just quickly make one using 2 poles and wooden offcuts we removed when we first cut off our poles to size. Let's proceed with fastening the logs. For uniformity and neatness purposes, these logs should be fastened about 30cm from the edge of the upright poles.

When you are done with the 4.6 metre logs that join rows, now its time to put in place 3.6 metre logs that join two poles within the same row. These 3.6 metre long poles should have a diameter of about 75 to 100mm. If the logs are longer than 3.6 metres, just cut them to size, so that they don't overlap too much.

Since we are extending an already existing greenhouse, now we are joining the old structure and the new structure together, but before we do that, we have to cut the shade cloth so that our log can be nailed to the old structure.

Let's repeat the process of putting nails in place before proceeding to fasten the logs to the upright poles.

This is the poly wire that we will use to support our shade cloth. Some call it coated wire. It's 2.5mm in size. Its not an actual wire, it's made of plastic and shaped like a proper wire. We want to use this poly wire because it won't get affected by the rains. We don't want rust to destroy our supporting wire and eventually our shade cloth.

The poly wire should run along the 4.6 metres logs as well as the 3.6m logs. The shade cloth is going to rest on top of this poly wire throughout the greenhouse. So the poly wire starts from the ground, tied to a deformed iron bar rod, slides upwards to the roof of the greenhouse, runs across the roof to the other end, slides downwards until it reaches the ground and gets fastened to another metal rod.

However, before we fasten the poly wire to the grounded metal rod, we first temporarily tie it to a nail, about 1 to 1.5 metres above the ground. Since this is temporary, leave an adequate length of poly wire enough to bring to the ground later on.

When you are done, it's time to stretch the poly wire as we don't want it to be loose at all. You should use 3-inch nails or u-nails to fasten the poly wires on top of the upright poles, so that they don't drift from the set position willy-nilly due to wind.

Dig a shallow trench about 1 metre away from the upright poles of the greenhouse so that we can have extra space inside the greenhouse to use as a seed bed and to create a path to walk on while working in the shade net greenhouse. This trench is where our shade cloth will be buried as you will see shortly.

The next stage is to sink metal rods into the ground as pegs where our poly wire will be tied to. These rods should be about 1 metre away from the upright poles and in the trench that we have just dug.

Now use a normal tying wire to further strengthen the joints we previously fastened using 6-inch nails.

The nest step is to roll the shade cloth over the structure. We wrap a stone with the shade cloth so that we can be able to throw it over the logs and over the poly wire. Also note that we cover the greenhouse with the shade cloth the unusual way, across the greenhouse, not along the length of the greenhouse. The shade cloth we're using in this video has a width of 3 metres, so we will cut the cloth multiple times and join the pieces together using twine.

Spread and stretch the cloth, use 3-inch nails previously used to keep poly wires intact above the upright poles. You can add an extra nail on top of the upright pole for this purpose if you deem it fit.

Now cut the cloth. Give a leeway for the part of the cloth that will be buried into the trench we dug earlier. Use a shovel to cover shade cloth with soil. use your legs to stretch the cloth because we don't want it to be loose. Repeat the process until the whole roof is completely covered.

As we are extending an existing shade house, now we are cutting off the entrance side of the old greenhouse then join the new roof to the old roof. Use twine and a needle to join the ends of shade cloths together. The ends come with holes for easy stitching purposes. Do not fasten the shade cloth to the poly wire, the cloth should just rest on the poly wire.

The next step is to make an entrance. You just cut off a cloth whose void is big enough to equate the size of your preferred door. Roughly this should be about 1.5 metres height and 80 to 90 cm width. After that, use poles to make a door-frame-like structure and fasten the shade cloth to the poles on the entrance.

Make a verandah-like structure on the entrance, like an entrance booth you find on some banking institutions. This will help you with setting up a biosecurity system and a foot bath facility for your greenhouse.

Upon determining where your ridges will go, run a barbed wire towards the roof so that we can use the barbed wire to trellis our tomatoes, bell peppers, English cucumbers or any other crop that requires trellising. I prefer using barbed wire because the knots on the barbed wire do not permit trellising twine to move freely. It can only drift within the confines of the two knots that block unlimited free movement of the trellising twine.

Unfortunately this video has already gobbled nearly half an hour, so we will learn how to dig trenches for our greenhouse ridges or beds, fill the trenches with multiple layers of fertilizers and animal manure then make ridges where we will plant our greenhouse crops in the next video. The video will also show you how to install a drip irrigation system in detail. So I urge you to subscribe to this channel, best farming tips, so that you get notified when we upload this video, hopefully within the next 7 days.

For now I will just give a brief explanation so that you get an idea of how its done. Start by marking lines where your ridges will be, separate the ridges with 60cm to 100cm. In a greenhouse, space is very limited and should therefore be used wisely, so it's best to separate ridges with a 60cm isle where you will walk along whenever you are working in the greenhouse. The ridges themselves should have a width of about 50cm. We will skip the part of digging trenches as we will cover that in our next video.

After filling the trenches with multiple layers of fertilizers and animal manure, now make your ridges and install your drip irrigation system.