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Last updated on March 31st, 2022

Polytunnel cost guide

Like growing your own fruit and veg? Want to experiment with growing plants from warmer regions? This can be achieved for a lot less than you might think. We’ve laid out the typical polytunnel cost to get you started.

Like growing your own fruit and veg? Want to experiment with growing plants from warmer regions? This can be achieved for a lot less than you might think. We’ve laid out the typical polytunnel cost to get you started.

What is a polytunnel?

A polytunnel is a tunnel, normally made of steel and covered in polythene, that’s used to grow plants, fruit and vegetables.

In a polytunnel, the temperature and humidity are higher than they would be outdoors. Plants are also protected from adverse weather conditions and from outside factors like pests. All this means that polytunnels offer a more controlled environment for crops to grow in. This way, they enable you to grow plants that would normally flourish in more temperate regions, to grow things out of season, or to protect plants that wouldn’t otherwise survive outdoors due to bad weather.

ItemUnitAverage cost
Domestic polytunnel120 square ft£400

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

How much does a polytunnel cost?

Polytunnels are a much more cost-effective alternative to greenhouses.

For £400, you could buy a 6×20 foot or 10×12 foot polytunnel. For the same price, however, you would only be able to buy a much smaller greenhouse, sized just 6×8 foot.

You will also need to factor in the cost of having a polytunnel installed. A landscape gardener on average charges £230 a day. It’s a good idea to get a professional in to install your polytunnel to ensure you’re getting the best out of it. A landscaper could also advise you on irrigation systems and the best plants to grow in that environment.

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How much does a polytunnel cost

Factors affecting the cost of a polytunnel

Your total polytunnel cost will depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • Size: The larger your polytunnel, the more it will usually cost. Polytunnels are typically 10, 14 or 18 feet wide. In terms of length, they could be anything from 12 to 90 feet long.
  • Domestic or commercial: Commercial polytunnels are typically more expensive than domestic polytunnels. That said, they also tend to be larger.
  • Construction: Most polytunnels come with assembly instructions so that you can assemble them yourself. However, it’s likely to be a lot quicker (and potentially cheaper) to get someone to assemble yours for you.
  • Quality: You can expect to pay more for a high-quality polytunnel, but the extra cost is worthwhile as it will last longer. It’s best to buy a polytunnel made from horticultural-grade polythene that has a UV stabiliser.
  • Features: Polytunnels that are made from thermic or anti-condensation polythene tend to cost more.
  • Guarantees: Some suppliers will offer things like five-year guarantees. These may cost more but it could be worth it for the peace of mind.
  • Irrigation: You’ll have to decide whether you will be hand watering your plants or whether you would like to pay more to get spray lines supplied and installed.
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Should I choose a polytunnel or a greenhouse?

Polytunnels and greenhouses both have their strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the factors you should consider when choosing between the two:

  • Budget: Polytunnels cost a lot less than greenhouses.
  • Growing space: You’ll be able to afford a bigger polytunnel for the same budget, which means you’ll be able to enjoy more growing space.
  • Permanence: Polytunnels are easier to move than greenhouses.
  • Flexibility: Polytunnels can be modified more easily than greenhouses. For instance, you could widen the doors or increase the interior space.
  • Aesthetics: Greenhouses are typically more visually appealing.
  • Pests: Greenhouses are better at protecting plants from pests than polytunnels are.
  • Weather conditions: Greenhouses offer better protection against adverse weather conditions, especially those that have toughened glass.

Do I need planning permission for a polytunnel?

If you’re buying a polytunnel that will be used for domestic purposes, you won’t need to obtain planning permission. This is because they fall under your permitted development rights.

However, if you’re purchasing a commercial polytunnel, you will need planning permission. Read our planning permission cost guide for a breakdown of the additional costs involved.

Polytunnel cost summary

  • Polytunnels are more cost-effective than greenhouses.
  • Your total polytunnel cost will depend on the size and quality of your polytunnel.
  • You don’t need planning permission to get a domestic polytunnel installed.
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