When you make the decision to invest in a polytunnel, you want to be confident that the structure will stand the test of time, especially during a harsh British winter.
It is no surprise, therefore, that some customers have questions about how to build a polytunnel, wondering if you will be able to build your own polytunnel.
In most cases the answer is yes, you will. Most of our polytunnels are supplied on a DIY basis and we are confident that our simple design will allow a polytunnel novice, with minimal DIY skills, to build your own polytunnel without any problems. You may want to look at a polytunnel construction video or two (or more!) to see what’s involved.
Although a polytunnel is not a difficult structure to build, the task should not be thought of as a little project or like putting up a tent. Our director likes to compare it to “putting together giant meccano”. Building a small polytunnel for your garden or allotment really is a two person job, so why not invite a friend to join you and get stuck in.
Many of our customers spend a weekend building a small polytunnel, however there are many factors that determine how long the job takes – Digging conditions, weather, DIY skills, and the size and specification of the tunnel all factor into the time it takes.
How to build a polytunnel
Polytunnel construction has remained the same since their introduction to the gardening world. A standard steel polytunnel frame consists of sections of hoops which are placed together at regular intervals and secured with stabilisers and ridge.
Polytunnels are normally placed straight onto a soil base with foundation tubes which are driven into the ground. If you wish to build your own polytunnel onto a hard standing base, such as concrete, and you will need to use base plates (rather than foundation tubes) to secure the polytunnel frame onto the concrete.
Here at Premier Polytunnels we have designed a simple clamping system, which is used almost universally throughout our structures, allowing for a fully adjustable fixing and eliminating concerns about using the wrong bracket for the wrong job.
Timber door frames and doors are then built and fixed onto the end hoops of the tunnel. All of our doors have been designed with a timber frame and are hinged as standard, making them much stronger and wind resistant than the roll-up blinds or zip doors offered by other suppliers.
Covering a polytunnel
The most important aspect of building a polytunnel is to ensure that the polythene cover is as taut as possible.
For a standard tunnel, a trench is dug around the outside of the polytunnel frame and the polythene cover is buried in the trench. Garden polytunnels have the option of using cover tensioning tubes, rather than standard foundation tubes, to allow you to lift the hoops into the polythene for extra cover tension.
The alternative method for covering a polytunnel is to fix timber or aluminium base rails to the framework at ground level. The polythene cover is then attached to the base rails with either timber battens and nails or PVC infills. Base rails are adjustable for that all-important cover tensioning.
To get a better idea of what is involved, why not check out the video below of a 10ft wide polytunnel being constructed, start to finish, by one of our customers.