How to choose the Best Shade House Kit that positively impacts plants
Author: Aaron Chen Date Posted:3 February 2020
Enthusiasts who have shade loving plants and are looking for a shade house usually want to protect their plants, improve growth and have a healthy work environment. However, having the knowledge, resources and skill to build a shade house from scratch can be an issue, so a “shade house kit” could be the best option.
Kits come with all the parts and have been proven and tested by someone else. All you need to do is follow the instructions step by step to assemble the kit components together, which should result in a quality well built fully completed shade house.
The question we all ask is: How do I find and choose the most suitable and best quality for value shade house kit available in the market place?
We have put together a guide to help you with the research to enable you to make a better informed decision when choosing your ideal shade house kit. Scroll down to see the whole guide or click on the links below:
1. Check local building regulations
2. Consider all aspects
2.1 Consider the location
2.2 Consider the Material 2.3 Consider the Electricity/Power Supply
2.4 Consider the Doors & Ventilation
2.5 Consider the Vendors3. Ready to Rock n Roll
1. Check local building regulations
Investigate and consider local council regulations when building a shade house.
Attaching a shade house to your house or building or erecting a free standing shade house are the two different scenarios. In some locations, shade houses are regulated under a “storage shed” description. Check with your local council to find the specific regulation or designation applicable for shade houses.
Bundaberg Regional Council in Queensland regulation is "Development Approvals for Building Works must be obtained before commencing any building work (including renovations, alterations or additions to any building or structure on your property) and for the erection of shade sails.”
Consider your shade house size with care before you purchase, as you might prefer a smaller shade house to avoid imposed regulations.
2. Consider all aspects
2.1 Consider the location
The ideal location to build a shade house is on the warmest side of your house. Normally on the northern or western side of your residence. Keep your plants out of cold shaded areas, get the full sun all day in winter and maximise plant growth. You will be also be pleasantly impressed by the cooling effect of the shade house during the hot summer months. Shade houses provide a cool, healthy green garden while keeping your plants warm in the winter months.
Also, if possible, locate the shade house close to your veranda or patio area. Having the shade house close to your house or entertainment area allows you to easily monitor and maintain you plants. Show off your beautiful plants to your guests without having to trudge to the end of your garden. Also creates an environment where you and your guests can gaze on beautiful greenery while sitting in luxury on your veranda or patio overlooking the contents of your greenhouse.
When picking a location for your shade house, consider whether there are any large trees or potentially large trees growing nearby. Large trees may drop limbs and damage your shade house cloth or frame. Consider the sun position in winter and summer and how this affects shading. Shading the area too much may impact or restrict the growth of shade loving plants. Also be aware that tree roots may take over as time passes, causing trip hazards and possibly damaging the footings of your shade house.
(3) Water & electrical supply
Having water is a necessity for a shade house. Watering systems, lighting and electrical power points may also be a requirement. It is a lot easier to set up the water and power utilities before laying the concrete, stone aggregate, pavers or sawdust flooring. In this way, you can run all the water pipes and power conduits without disturbing the flooring you decided to use. It is not necessary to have a complete irrigation or misting system on a timer, but it does make life easier. Hand watering your plants can be a relaxing pastime if the water tap isn’t too far away...
To save costs, consider the location of water pipes and taps before building your shade house. Putting your shade house at the far end of your block may require a lot of poly pipe buried underground that could be costly and inadvertently get damaged in future years.
Most shade house kits do not include a “foundation” due to size and weight of concrete materials. A good foundation will save your green house in strong wind and rain. Also, make sure your ground levels provide for good drainage and runoff in the wet seasons, especially, if you don’t raise your plants off the ground using benching to improve air circulation, growth and to enhance the display of your plants. Good drainage protects plants from being washed over or washed away when it rains heavily.
There is the suggestion that you do not erect shade house kits on concrete slabs. Erecting a shade house on an exposed dirt floor gives the grower the option of planting directly into the ground, and allowing excess water to drain into the soil when you are watering trays/flats of seedlings. However, consider root air prunning and roots growing into the soil. Also consider the local council regulations again if you need to excavate into a hillside. Design and site inspections for concrete slabs and heights of retaining walls may become an issue with your council when preparing for your shade house foundation.
2.2 Consider the Material
(1) Frame kits
Wood-frame kits may warp if stored outdoors too long while plastic and metal frame kits tend to last longer. Metal frame kits are generally more robust and durable in the weather than plastic frame kits. Plastic frame kits, however, don’t get too hot to touch when erecting. Larger shade houses are usually made of galvanised steel to provide wider and higher spans giving better air circulation. Generally metal frame kits cost more, but you get what you pay for.
(2) Shade Cloth
There are two types of common shade cloth in the market: “knitted” and “woven”. To protect your plants from extremely hot weather and make them grow healthily in hot summer, knitted shade cloth is a better choice due to its life expectancy, functionalities and easy installation.
When it comes to shade cloth percentage, the percentage of shade cloth you choose, blocks out that percentage of the sun. For example, a 48 percent shade cloth blocks 48 percent of the light. Shade cloth with density of greater than 50 percent is generally used for shade-loving plants or as windbreaks…… Click here to learn how to choose the right Shade cloth for your plants.
2.3 Consider the Electricity/Power Supply
Usually you don’t need power set up in a domestic shade house, but if you really need it, we recommend going with a licensed electrical contractor that specializes in that field and familiar with power in wet environments. Nothing is worse than getting a jolt of 240 volts through your body that can be quite damaging or even deathly if the wiring is done incorrectly.
2.4 Consider the Doors & Ventilation
High quality strong doors are important. Usually hinged doors are better quality and longer lasting than sliding ones. A shade house door should be lockable, to keep out pets, birds and other unwanted guests to prevent damage or theft of your plants.
In some areas in Australia, the summer is very hot and 40+ degrees is quite normal. Overheating can be a major problem for those people who only have a greenhouse. With a “shade house”, the natural ventilation is much better than a green house due to the pervious mesh walls and roof. (See the difference between Shade house and Greenhouse here......) To reduce temperatures on very hot days and to dry plants out on those cold nights in winter, fans should be installed and used constantly. Maybe you could consider an electric exhaust fan controlled by a cooling thermostat. Exhaust fans are generally placed on the wall opposite the door to draw the air through the length of the shade house.
Purchasing a shade house is a big investment; even it is a small one.So do your research well.
Contact different vendors, talk to different sales people and ask them as many questions as you can think off. If you feel uncomfortable with the supplier and they are trying to hide information from you, be cautious! If they are knowledgeable, confident with their products ability, longevity of product, prices and support, and have a local Australian made warranty you have narrowed your list of potential suppliers down considerably.
When speaking to the salesperson, you could ask the following questions, such as:
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many kits has the company sold?
- Is there any product testimonial available?
- Does it manufacture the kits or simply resell them?
- Does the company imports the kits or manufacture them in Australia?
- Can I get a special sized shade house kit to suit my requirements?
- How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
- Can I get spare parts if a tree or storm damages my shade house?
- What technical help can the company provide and do I need to pay extra for it?
- What do the instructions look like?
- How is the shade house shipped and packaged?
- What is the cost of shipping and how long it will take?
You can add other questions to this list and ask other questions that matter to you.
If you are not technology savvy and have little building and construction skills, consider asking some of your friends or family members to help you read the kit’s manual and help you build the shade house kit.
The last last thing to to consider is the availability of the vendor. Make sure that the company that sells you the shade house kits have the technical ability to answer all your questions when it comes to the kits construction. When are they available for contact, during or out of normal working hours? Usually, try to build your shade house kit during working hours on a week-day so your vendor is available to aid you if necessary.
3. Ready to Rock n Roll
You’ve made a multitude of decisions about your shade house kit — regulation, size, location, foundation, ventilation, water and power supply etc, but there are still other factors to consider. Consider the additional tips below before you buy and build your own shade house.
(1) Make an Offer
Consider buying the product directly from the manufacturer rather than the retailer, it cuts out the cost of the middle man. If you decide to go ahead with a retailer, try to negotiate the price with them. Find out if they have any regular sales and make sure you know their competitors well.
(2) Check the Warranties
The longer the warranty, the better the kit. Check the print document, because the frame and shade cloth may or may not have separate warranties.
(3) Custom Size Availability
Some manufacturers may have the ability to make custom-sized shade house kits for their customers. You as a gardener may eventually have a need for more space in your shade house. So when it is within your budget, try to purchase the largest shade house as you can for your yard, but stay within local regulations.
(4) Before Construction
Before you start the construction, check the shade house kit thoroughly for shipping damage or missing components. Also, give yourself sometime to study the directions/kit’s manual before construction. Many problems that people encounter with a shade house kits construction are a result of not following the written directions.
Nowadays garden lovers are enjoying the pride and satisfaction of having their own “Shade House”. Considering all the above aspects and choosing the best shade house kit I hope is now a lot easier after having read this guide.
A Shade house, if carefully planned, is the easiest way of maintaining a beautiful show place in your garden that helps your plants grow healthily and know that they are protected from Australia’s extreme climates. So start to take some action now and make your favourite plants a beautiful home!