A polytunnel can come in handy for a huge range of different reasons. In addition to using one to grow food, you could also consider using one as an extra room for your home. Domestic polytunnels are very versatile structures, and thinking about all the different ways they could be used can be helpful. In this article, we’ll talk about using a polytunnel as an extra room, and give you some tips to help you make sure the space is useful and functional. And that it offers exactly what you need and want.
Why Use a Polytunnel as an Extra Room?
First of all, let’s take a look at why a polytunnel could be a good choice to expand your living space:
Polytunnels are amongst the most affordable garden structures – far more affordable than most summerhouses or garden buildings.
They are incredibly flexible spaces, which can be used in a range of different ways.
You can use a polytunnel to grow food as well as using it in other ways.
A polytunnel will let you use your garden even when it is raining or a little chilly outside.
But it won’t be as hot or stifling as a glass greenhouse, even when you use a cover that lets the sunlight through.
There are a choice of different covers for the polytunnel structure. And you can vary ventilation options too. So you can create the perfect environment for your particular needs.
How You Could Use Your Extra Room Polytunnel
Of course, most polytunnels’ primary purpose is for growing food. But they don’t have to be used in this way. Polytunnels can also be used for storage, or to provide recreational or even work space for a range of different activities. You might:
Create a reading nook or chill-out zone at the end of a food producing polytunnel.
Add a dining table and chairs to create a delightful place to eat.
Or a table where you can enjoy arts and crafts, learning projects etc. with your kids.
You could make a kid’s den or playroom area in your polytunnel.
Make a light, bright polytunnel into an art studio.
Or use a polytunnel as a workshop where you can hone skills and enjoy hobbies.
You could even potentially use your polytunnel as a home office, or space to make money from home in a range of different ways.
A polytunnel might even become an occasional spot for overnight stays, so you can ring the changes and camp out or ‘glamp’ in your garden.
Know Before You Begin Exactly What Your Polytunnel is For
One tip that will help you make the most of the space is to decide, before you begin, exactly how you will use your polytunnel. Ideally, you should make these decisions before you even order a polytunnel in the first place. Creating a design is something you can do, even while you are waiting for your new polytunnel to arrive. That way, when it does come, you can hit the ground running.
If you already have a polytunnel, however, it is still very possible to retrofit it to convert it to new modes of use. You can incorporate additional features in your existing tunnel to make sure you can use it exactly as you wish to. Sit down and plan out all changes before you make them to make sure you make the right choices and do the right things.
Choose the Right Polytunnel Cover
If you are choosing a new polytunnel, one of the decisions you will have to make is which cover to choose. There are a number of different options. Which one will be best for you will depend on how you plan to use the space, as well as details relating to the environmental conditions on site.
You can choose a cover that allows most of the sunlight through, one which creates partial shade by blocking some light filtration, or one that eliminates almost 100% of UV penetration. Think carefully about how you will use your polytunnel before you decide which cover to go for.
Position Your Polytunnel Carefully
A polytunnel will only be optimal, however it is used, when you position it carefully. Think about sunlight, land slope and features, wind and other environmental factors when deciding where it should go.
Consider the polytunnel not only in isolation, but also in relation to other elements in your garden. It is also helpful to think about where it is placed in relation to your home, and how easy it will be to travel between this new extra space and your existing abode.
If you will be spending a lot of time in your polytunnel, another thing to consider might be the views. Think about what will be visible through the doors when you are inside your polytunnel, and whether the outlook will be pleasing.
Reduce Condensation With Good Ventilation
However you plan to use your polytunnel, good ventilation is always essential. Make sure that you make the right choices when choosing your polytunnel in the first place, and open doors and ventilation sections when required to ensure good air flow and reduce condensation. A stuffy or damp polytunnel will obviously not be as pleasant a place to spend any time.
Grow Food and Have Space For Other Activities
One top tip for making the most of your polytunnel is to use it for growing food in addition to using it in other ways. Even a polytunnel that is primarily used as an extra room for your home can also be a productive growing space. Make the most of every inch with clever vertical gardening ideas and container gardening.
A hammock in a chill out space could, for example, be underplanted with different crops. The space beneath a desk or table might also be used as a shady growing spot. And remember – even when you are using the space on the ground, there is still potential in a polytunnel to use the space above your head. Hanging baskets or containers can allow you to use the top of a tunnel used for other things.
Make Everything Multi-Functional
The polytunnel itself is definitely a multi-functional thing. But another tip to help you make the most of the space is to make everything inside it multi-functional as well. Think carefully about how furniture or other items for work or recreation could serve other functions too. For example, a table or desk could be used as staging for plants and seedlings in early spring, before you use it in other ways during the warmer months. Chairs could become supports for plants, or stands for planters when they are not in use for sitting on.
Kit Out Your Polytunnel As an Extra Room For Free With DIY and Upcycling Projects
To make the most of your polytunnel as an extra room, add plenty of furniture or fixtures that can be used to improve your quality of life. But don’t imagine that you have to spend much money on kitting out your new space. You can often kit out your polytunnel for free, or for very little. Take a DIY approach, and upcycle old items wherever you can. When you do, you will soon discover just how affordable creating an extra room for your home in a polytunnel can be.
Upcycle old wooden furniture or give existing staging or furniture a new lease of life.
Make new items from natural materials – such as branches from your garden.
Or fashion waste materials from your home into useful items.
When you use your imagination (and check out plenty of other articles around this website) you will find a range of great ideas to create the perfect extra space for you and your family. And you will begin to see just how useful and versatile a polytunnel can really be.
How do you use your polytunnel? Do you consider your polytunnel as an extension to your home? Share your comments, tips and suggestions in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.