EXACO EasyStart%C2%AE Lean to Greenhouse

EXACO EasyStart%C2%AE Lean to Greenhouse
Read the description closely. This little greenhouse is not intended to carry over plants through a typical winter. It helps extend your growing season by allowing you to get an early Spring start and keep your plants alive into late Fall or early Winter. Think of it as a permanent cold frame that looks better in your yard than some PVC hoops and plastic sheeting. That’s the case with any unit that is equipped with double layered plastic glazing. You will not find a 12 month hobby greenhouse in this price range.With that being said, this unit looks really nice on the front of our garage/shop and went up with minimum trouble. Some of the reviews that claim it is a one day assembly are pretty optimistic. The initial assembly of the aluminum frame was done over a three day period, a couple of hours per day for a total of about 6 hours. The instructions are fairly clear, but it still takes some trial and error to get the bits and pieces figured out and bolted together. The aluminum bolts and nuts for assembling the frame are included, but they’ve also added a package of stainless bolts and nuts that will replace the too-soft aluminum hardware in most applications. For some fittings, the thicker, hex stainless heads are just too big and the thinner, square aluminum bolts are still required. Read the directions through several times before you begin assembly. It will pay benefits to be well versed on the steps and to be able to correlate the task numbers that are identified by circles on the diagrams to help you find the relevant location of each step.We added a doubled 2X4 treated wooden frame to the existing exterior wall of the garage to increase the horizontal clearance of the greenhouse sliding door from the garage siding. This added to the interior floor space very slightly, and moved the whole unit out 3″ from under the roof eave. The added distance from the garage wall makes ingress through the sliding door much easier.We didn’t purchase the optional steel base. Even though it is galvanized and painted, we didn’t want to set a metal base on the ground. Instead, we set four 12″X12″X4″ concrete stepping stones into the ground (one at each corner) as a foundation, and built a base out of copper based preservative, pressure treated 2X10s (for increased interior height) with a 2X6 added to the exterior of the 2X10 frame to increase the base footprint. The wooden base is staked to the ground with three 14″ plastic stakes that are screwed to the interior of the 2X10s.After the frame was assembled, the aluminum bottom rail dimensions were measured and the 2X10s were cut to the exact length and width to accommodate the drip edge on the outside of the rails. The unit’s various advertising and instruction manuals cite several different sizes; both in inches and millimeters and none of them seem to agree with each other. The aluminum frame is assembled first and then lifted into place on the base, so there are no extra steps required to use the exact, measured dimensions to fit the frame to the base correctly. Placing the concrete foundation blocks into the ground and building and securing the wooden base took about 2.5 hours. The aluminum frame was lifted into place, checked for plumb and level, and secured to the wall frame and wooden base with stainless hardware (not supplied) in 15 minutes.The glazing was assembled and clipped into place in about 4 hours. Care must be taken to ensure that the UV treated side of the glazing panels face outward. It was necessary to make some minor adjustments to get everything to fit. The plastic glazing cuts very easily with a sharp razor knife and a straight edge. The stainless glazing clips require strong fingers and some patience to get all of the sections installed. The clips hold the panels in place quite securely.We added the optional louvered window and the automatic vent opener to ensure adequate ventilation. They both went in with little trouble. The automatic vent opener is adjustable for temperature and height of the opening to accommodate clearance from the roof eave. We also added a remote temperature transmitter to enable monitoring of the greenhouse interior temperature from inside the house. Assembly and installation of the optional equipment took about 2 hours in total.This is a great looking, fairly easily assembled little greenhouse that’s a good value. Only time will tell how it will hold up through East Texas summers. With aluminum and stainless hardware, the frame should fare pretty well. If the glazing is available separately, replacing it every few years will not be a major undertaking.5 stars overall, 5 stars for component quality, 4 stars for ease of assembly, and 5 stars for appearance. As I said at the beginning, think of it as a good looking, permanent cold frame, rather than a hobby greenhouse and you won’t be disappointed.

EXACO EasyStart%C2%AE Lean to Greenhouse
EXACO EasyStart%C2%AE Lean to Greenhouse

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