Many gardeners know what an English greenhouse is. However, this does not mean at all that this design was made specifically in England. It can be made both here in Russia and in any other country, for example, in China. Let's try to figure out what is meant by this concept and what is the peculiarity of this building.
A bit of history
It is believed that the first greenhouses appeared during the time of the Great Roman Empire. Then the noble patricians preferred to plant rare species of flowers and fruits there. The most revered plant among the aristocracy was considered an orange. The first greenhouses, where they began to use the stove heating method, appeared in Holland in 1599.
Over time, the initiative of creating greenhouses was seized by English craftsmen and in the 17th century in England they began to massively reproduce heated greenhouses. Around this time, greenhouses began to appear throughout Europe. During their construction, glass began to be used and they were equipped with an internal heating system, water supply and lighting. And the growth of technological progress allowed to establish mass production of such structures.
There were several ways to get heat. So, for example, in Oxford inside the buildings placed carts with burning coals and changed them as they cooled. Chelsea went further and created an underground soil heating system in the greenhouse.
Today, English greenhouses are used mainly in the construction of conservatories, as well as for the fruits of tropical fruits and heat-loving vegetable crops.
Designs of greenhouses in the English style are divided into elite structures and ordinary. The first type has a larger area, double glazing, as well as increased strength. In addition, elite greenhouses are equipped with internal heating, which allows you to get a crop in them year-round, regardless of the climatic zone. The second type is more affordable, but has a single glazing, therefore, it retains heat worse and is designed for more southern climatic conditions.
However, both of these types have a number of common features.
- Must have a basement and foundation. In such a greenhouse, a layer of soil is above the ground. This circumstance contributes to better preservation of the crop. The basement makes the appearance of the building more aesthetic and complete, and also protects the beds from drafts. The foundation serves as a kind of barrier between the cold earth on which the greenhouse and the beds are located.
- The English greenhouse necessarily has transparent glazing - single or double, depending on its type. Film designs have nothing to do with this name. Glass allows not only to preserve the crop, but also to admire it from the outside. Therefore, in English-type greenhouses, not only crops are often planted, but whole greenhouses and winter gardens are also equipped.
- The roof of the described type of greenhouse necessarily has an angular shape with a two-sided slope. So that leaves, snow and other rainfall do not linger on the roof, the angle of inclination is made from 30 to 45 degrees.
- High walls are another indispensable feature of an English greenhouse. They make it possible to plant shrubs and trees in it. In addition, in a high greenhouse there is the opportunity to equip shelves for potted plants.
- Sometimes the greenhouse construction is part of the general ensemble of the site and a continuation of the house itself. In some cases, they even have a common wall. Then in the wall you can make a doorway and go into the greenhouse directly from the house. Typically, this technique is used for flower greenhouses and conservatories.
- In English-style greenhouses, quality ventilation and irrigation systems must be present. In expensive samples, electronic sensors can be installed that monitor the level of humidity and other parameters.
Advantages and disadvantages
There are many reasons that affect the popularity of such buildings among the masses:
- glass perfectly transmits sunlight, so necessary for plants;
- high walls allow you to use the entire space of the greenhouse, and not just its lower part;
- the ability to maintain specified microclimate parameters constantly throughout the year;
- the presence of the foundation increases the strength of the structure under construction;
- Thanks to the special shape of the roof and a solid base, the English-style design is reliable enough to withstand bad weather conditions.
For all its undeniable positive qualities, like any phenomenon or building, the Victorian style greenhouse is not perfect.
Consider some of its negative aspects.
- High cost. Due to the fact that such a design is a complex mechanism for the interaction of several systems at once, it cannot be cheap. Consequently, not everyone can afford it. Therefore, the purchase of a ready-made system for growing crops is more suitable for commercial purposes, and fans can be advised to try to do something similar on their own - it will cost much cheaper.
- If ordinary glass is used in the construction of the greenhouse, there is a risk that it will break if it is hit by hail or stones in strong winds. To avoid destruction, it makes sense to choose a structure with shockproof glass.
- Ready construction has a lot of weight due to the glazing, therefore, needs support. And this requires certain knowledge in the field of construction and entails additional costs.
- The glass surface has the ability to pass far from all types of sunlight, which are necessary for the normal growth of plants, which means that additional illumination is needed.
- Difficulties in leaving. To maintain the normal throughput of the greenhouse, it should be cleaned regularly. And washing large glass surfaces, especially those at a height, is quite difficult.
Materials of manufacture
Any greenhouse that claims to be called English must have a reliable base, transparent glass walls and frame.
The foundation, which serves as the basis for the subsequent construction, is usually made of tape and cast from concrete. A brick base is installed on it, and only then the greenhouse frame itself is installed. Without observing all the necessary technologies, the building may not survive the winter and collapse the next year after installation.
The frame is the bearing part of the greenhouse. The safety of the crop also depends on its strength. The frame can be made of metal or wood. For the metallic version, an aluminum profile is used. He practically does not need additional care, and his service life can last several tens of years. Despite the apparent lightness, this material is quite durable and can withstand not only glass, but also withstand the weight of snow.
The wooden frame is also strong enough, but needs constant care - it needs to be painted or varnished every season so that the tree does not absorb moisture and does not rot. To protect the wooden frame from harmful insects, special protective preparations are used. For greenhouses, various types of wood are used. Most often it is oak or walnut. Less often use mahogany.
Special requirements apply to the glass itself. For greenhouses, several types of glasses are used.
- Double. It has a thickness of 3.2 mm and is convenient in that you can order a large size, which is necessary for greater light transmission.
- Showcase. Its thickness can be from 6 mm to 2.5 cm. If you want to make a greenhouse in the English version with your own hands, used glass case can be bought from the owner of the store to be dismantled. Its strength, as well as its weight, is very high, therefore it requires a particularly strong support.
- Laminated glass is a construction of several glasses combined in a PVC frame (holder). Between them, the space is filled with dry air, which retains heat. Single and double chamber bags can be installed in the greenhouse. The single-chamber package consists of two glasses and is suitable for summer greenhouses. If a warmed-up option is required, a two-chamber double-glazed window consisting of three glasses should be chosen.
- Tempered glass is 4 times thicker than usual. When broken, small fragments are obtained that almost eliminate the likelihood of injury. It cannot be cut, but it is possible to order the required size at the factory. It is used for the construction of greenhouses in areas where storms often occur.
- Heat reflecting. The uniqueness of such glass is that it transmits infrared rays that are useful for plants, but at the same time delays harmful ultraviolet radiation. Its throughput can be about 80%.
- Storm glass consists of two glass layers, between which is a layer of polycarbonate. It is able to withstand gusts of wind up to 65 km / h, but at the same time its ability to transmit light is somewhat reduced. Moreover, its price is far from democratic.
When choosing glass, it should be borne in mind that an overabundance of light, as well as its lack, is harmful to plants. Therefore, glass with 10% dimming is considered optimal. Or you can darken it yourself, varnished.
Regardless of whether you purchase a finished structure or make it yourself, reliable fasteners and locking mechanisms are necessary. And high-quality fittings will give the product completeness and attractive appearance.
A real English greenhouse must be equipped with a drainpipe. It can be used as a container for collecting water and for subsequent irrigation.
Modern manufacturers of greenhouses and hotbeds are constantly improving their products and developing projects for new buildings, taking into account the latest achievements of scientific progress. The highest quality products are considered European companies. One such manufacturer is the Danish company Juliana . Greenhouses produced by this company can not only retain heat. They have the opportunity to create a special comfort zone for plants, maintain the set values: temperature and humidity, dosed water supply and other parameters.
However, in recent years, Russia has also learned how to make quality greenhouses. For example, the domestic company Britton declares itself as an honest manufacturer who offers high-quality products that can compete with many European brands not only in price but also in quality. The uniqueness of its products is that it was created according to English technologies, but taking into account Russian climatic conditions.
The company is constantly expanding its assortment and relatively recently launched a new product: the Maiden greenhouse with an increased level of roof slope. Thanks to the annex, the building has an interesting T-shape. This model of the greenhouse has 10 options of various colors, and the price is several times lower than that of European luxury analogues.
You can watch a short review about the greenhouses of the domestic Britton company in this video.