How to Build a Hoop House
This season, I finally got another chance to build a hoop house. I’ve been planning it for a couple of seasons, but after last year’s loss due to BUGS… it was on! Hoop houses really aren’t that hard to build. In fact, this is my second hoop house and I’ve also built 2 separate solid structure greenhouses. This project really isn’t difficult and I am going to take you through the steps to build a hoop house.
First Things First; Have a Good Plan
The first thing that you want to consider when you build a hoop house is placement. You want your hoop house in an area that gets really good sun exposure throughout the day. Of course, you will also want to consider other things like access to water, etc. I lined mine up in a north south orientation. This way, I know that it will get full sun throughout the day as the sun passes from east to west.
After determining placement, you will also need to decide the dimensions of your structure. Something to keep in mind is that pvc comes in 10 foot lengths. This will be important as we go along. I designed my hoop house at 23 feet wide by 40 feet long. I used 3 sticks of 3/4″ pvc for each hoop and that gave me approximately 8 feet in height in the center.
When you set out to build a hoop house, you will also want to know what kind of planting you will be doing. By that, I mean, are you going to plant directly in the ground or in raised beds. I use raised beds, because our ground out here in Southern Oklahoma is basically solid clay. The raised beds were a ‘must-do’ for us.
The Structure – How to Build a Hoop House
A basic PVC hoop house is perfectly fine in a lot of areas. The biggest problem that you will find with them is heavy winds. An occasional gust is not that big of a deal, but when you are in an area that is very windy, you will need additional support.
Step 1 – Structural Support
We began our project by marking out where our center supports would go, digging and concreting them in place. that gave us a place from which to build. We attached a ridge beam across the tops of our center supports, to connect everything.
Step 2 – The Raised Beds
From that point we built the center beds. We built our beds in the hoop house the same way that we have built all of our raised beds, using 2×8 lumber to frame them out. We installed stakes every so often to keep them in place. Then, when the exterior of the bed was constructed, we added some cross boards to hold everything straight.
We had ordered in a load of topsoil and wanted to move it by tractor, as opposed to by hand (no thank you). So, we did it in a specific order. We built the center beds, filled them and then built the outer beds and filled them. From that point, things get easier.
Step 3 – The Hoops
The hoops are the next step. We used 3/4″ pvc; 3 sticks per hoop. The hoops, we spaced 4 feet apart. This is a simple process. The pvc has to be glued together, using couplers, to make the long length to span from one side to the other. We attached them with 3/4″ pipe clamps, to the outer edge of the base as well as to the ridge beam as it went over. This makes it much more solid in stronger winds.
There needs to be a barrier between the plastic and the PVC. Apparently there is an issue with a chemical reaction that breaks the plastic down more quickly otherwise. I used duct tape because, …well, because duct tape can do anything!
Step 4 – The End Walls
Once the hoops are up, the next step is framing out the end walls and adding a couple of other framing details. This is important, as you need a spot to frame out doors and the plastic on the ends needs something to help hold it in place. There are many ways you can do this. Really, it’s just kind of up to you.
For more stability, we framed with 2x4s from the base up to the end hoop. Then we clamped the end hoop to the end framework. Since we made our own door, we just looked at it and decided the size that we need. It was very important that my garden cart would fit. These are things that you can determine for yourself based on your needs.
Step 5 – Additional Detail to Hold Plastic in Place
When you build a hoop house, one of the most important pieces is the plastic so you need to make sure that it stays in place therefore a very important detail is adding 2x4s down the full length of the structure.
We added them approximately 2 and 1/2 feet off the ground. We attached them with the same 3/4″ pipe clamps and then with a self tapping screw all the way through the clamp, pipe and 2×4 to hold them in place. On the front of the 2×4, we added a metal channel that holds the ‘wiggle wire’. The wiggle wire is what holds the plastic down.
One other thing that I did was to add bird netting between the 2x4s on the side and the base of the hoop house. I used a stapler to hold it in place. This was important to me because we have lots of critters in this area.
Step 6 – It’s Time for Plastic
Once all of your framework is in place….it’s time for plastic! I ordered ours all in one piece. I did not want to have to piece plastic together on the hoop house. There was just two of us pulling the plastic over and, honestly, it went much better than I thought it would. We pulled it over, and used the wiggle wire to hold it down.
On the end walls, we simply pulled, folded and nailed in place, using large washers and screws. We attached it onto the framework all the way across the end walls and around the doors.
Step 7 – The Doors
We constructed the doors from 2x3s to keep them lightweight. We squared them up by cutting a right angle out of plywood and screwed it into 2 opposing corners. This makes the process much easier. Once the doors were framed, we just stretched the plastic around it and installed the hinges. Then hanging them was all that was left.
I had begun amending my beds as soon as we filled them. Basic topsoil is just a starting point. I added a great deal of compost as well as peat moss. …and then it was on! TIME TO PLANT!!!
If you are wanting to build a hoop house to add growing space, I encourage it. It is a fairly easy project and not terribly expensive. There are many places to find your supplies. I get almost all of my basic building supplies from my local Lowes. I love the selection, as well as the military discount they give me!
However, for the more specialized products, after a bunch of research, I purchased the plastic, metal channel and wiggle wire from Farmtek. I wish you all well with your gardening seasons and your projects. If you decide to build a hoop house, I’d be happy to answer any questions and I’d love to hear your ideas and see your projects!
NEVER MISS A THING!!
Be sure to check out the other awesome content on Two Oaks Farm Talk as well as A Life on the Farm for the more personal side of the homestead life. And don’t forget to go subscribe to the Two Oaks Farmstead Youtube Channel for all kinds of terrific content!!!