There are basically four types of greenhouse: free standing with glass to the ground, free standing on a dwarf wall, lean to with glass to the ground or lean to on a dwarf wall. There are two principle materials used for greenhouses - wood or aluminium.
Wooden greenhouses generally retain heat better than aluminium ones, but aluminium greenhouses are considered by many to be much more easily maintained. Advocates of wooden greenhouses say that, providing the wood is red cedar, it will last a good 30 years with minimum maintenance. Both materials require intermittent washing to remove grime and keep moss at bay.
Dwarf walls provide a good level of protection in the greenhouse against the cold that emanates from the ground during the winter. But the wall removes light from the base of the greenhouse, reducing plant growing space.
The lean to greenhouse has the advantage of a back wall - best sited against a south facing wall - this provides an additional source of heat once the sun goes down, making the temperature in the lean to fluctuate less than in a free standing one.
Within these categories of greenhouse are many varieties and variations on the theme to suit most tastes and aesthetic requirements.
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