Geodesic dome greenhouses are beautiful, for sure, but they have many other advantages that make them a great option for backyard food growing. The dome shape gives a large volume for a small surface area, with plenty of space inside for vertical growing. The shape also maximizes sun exposure, so plants get the full benefit of the sun from all angles.
One of the greatest features of a geodesic dome is the strength. The triangles in the frame distribute weight equally throughout the structure, so no internal supports are needed. Geodesic domes hold up very well to wind and other elements, making them ideal for just about any climate. The size can be easily scaled up or down by expanding or reducing the size of the base and adding or subtracting triangles accordingly.
Geodesic dome greenhouse kits can be purchased ready to install, or they can be built from scratch to save money, and they are not as complicated to construct as they appear. This dome, built by Astrid de Groot in Wales, is a gorgeous example of a handmade geodesic greenhouse.
This is the sketched layout showing how the triangles are assembled to create the dome. In this case, there are a total of 104 triangles, plus 4 more for the entrance.
They began with the base, which consists of 15 pieces of wood with the ends cut at 12 degree angles. The pieces were glued and screwed together, then the base was leveled. Small stones were used to fill in the gaps left under the base after leveling, then roof plastic was placed over the whole base to keep it sealed.
Once the triangle pieces were built, they were covered in polytunnel plastic. The plastic was heated and stretched over the triangles, then tacked down at the edges.
Then the dome was assembled, starting with the bottom triangles and working up from the base, held in place with screws.
The very top piece is a doubled pentagon that acts as a vent for airflow with a cover to keep water from running in.
After the dome was assembled, the interior of the greenhouse was finished beautifully with a pallet floor, a round tomato planter in the center, and planting beds around the perimeter with raised beds on tables above them to take advantage of the vertical space.
As you can see, this relatively small structure has room for a very nice garden, and can be used throughout the year.
See more pictures of the building process of this amazing hand-built dome on Astrid de Groot’s site. Images via Astrid de Groot.