Where is the Greenhouse made?
Is it manufactured locally or imported? Remember locally made Greenhouses are often better suited to local conditions (i.e. wind, sun, hail, snow, earthquakes etc…) while imported Greenhouses are often mass-produced at a very low cost from low-quality materials to provide a good profit margin for ‘the importers’.
What sort of guarantee does the Greenhouse have?
When you buy a Greenhouse, you want peace of mind that it will last for many years. Ask details of any guarantees, and ensure the glazing is covered by the guarantee. Ask how long the company you are purchasing from has been in business and consider the likelihood of them staying in business further down the track for after sales support and fulfillment of any guarantees.
Do they specialise in Greenhouses?
It is always better to buy from a company that specialises in Greenhouses than a general importer/merchant trader. The knowledge base within a specialist company will be greater, which will help when choosing the right Greenhouse to suit your needs and with after sales support.
What size Greenhouse will best suit my needs?
‘Try before you buy’, or ‘test-drive’ a Greenhouse. When you attempt to visualise the size of a Greenhouse from dimensions you’ve read, compared to stepping inside a Greenhouse, the latter will always prevail. If you are considering buying a Greenhouse, walking inside varying sizes of Greenhouse will help establish the right size for you. Spend some time planning the rough layout of your ideal Greenhouse (including fully grown plants with appropriate dimensions). The width and length are a major factor in determining the most suitable size, but you might wish to also consider the height of the Greenhouse (usually at the eave) to ensure it will accommodate the height of the plants you plan on growing. Find a Winter Gardenz Greenhouse on display near you here.
What glazing will best suit my conditions?
Glass, polycarbonate, flexible plastic film (polyethylene)… there are various glazing options available. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. For example glass looks great and lasts the longest, but doesn't perform as well as polycarbonate in the colder, ‘frost-prone’ regions. Polycarbonate lasts well (16-20+ years provided it’s a premium grade from a trusted manufacturer) and provides superior growing results, thermal efficiency and frost protection, while poly-ethylene offers a lower-cost covering option per square meter while still lasting approximately 3-5 years before replacement is required. Most importantly it is worth noting whichever option you decide, a high-quality glazing product from a reputable manufacturer will serve you better (in both performance and longevity) than cheap ‘non-branded’ glazing that usually only lasts a fraction of what it should. Find a detailed comparison of glazing options here.
Does the Greenhouse come with good assembly instructions?
Don’t take their word for it, ask to see the instructions! The assembly instructions should be written in plain English with a clear step-by-step process. You should be able to erect the Greenhouse without any specialised skills, tools or equipment. If you can’t understand the instructions, or would rather not attempt the assembly yourself, ask if they provide an assembly service in your area.
Replacement parts, accessories and local support… Are they available?
Just in case the unimaginable happens and you require a replacement part or something doesn’t fit as you think it should, will the company you purchased from be able to assist? Often additional vents, shade-covers, shelving etc… are required further down the track once you’ve got your greenhouse up and running. Are these accessories available, and if so, can they be retro-fitted to an already erected Greenhouse?
Our best top tips...
- Don’t buy anything you haven’t seen standing
- Ask all of the above questions!
- Talk to people you know who own a Greenhouse
- Take time and plan the size you require
- Compare, research and be cautious if the price seems too good to be true (it probably is)
There are many cheap, poor quality Greenhouses imported into New Zealand every year and most of them don’t last more than 18 months. Make an informed decision based on over-all value for money.
And remember… ‘you get what you pay for'