Greenhouse build part 4

Welcome or welcome back depending on which post you started at.

We are slowly but surely making progress. As a recap, we leveled out the backyard, we built an underground vented thermal mass, we built some concrete footers and we are now on to building up the lower portions of the walls.

Concrete wall build

The second thermal mass for this greenhouse, this concrete wall will also absorb heat during the day and release it back into the greenhouse when the temperature cools. In our case, this wall will be insulated with 4+ feet of dirt on the north side and 2-3′ of dirt on the west side of the greenhouse. South and east sides will have 18″ tall raised garden beds to help insulate as well. All of this to help naturally regulate and stabilize the internal temps of the greenhouse.

I am not a mason by any stretch, this is my first time doing this so bear with me (point and laugh accordingly). Learning note: Don’t add rebar at 24″ when you are using 16″ blocks. At some point, the spacing will be just perfect enough to screw up setting a block because the rebar is in the way. Swear words, swear words, swear words! 2nd learning note: Purchase the 8 x 8 x 8 bricks for smaller needed blocks, trying to chisel the bigger blocks down provides some great humor but not a repeatable size block (for me at least).

Once you have your wall foundation concrete solidified, it’s time to move on the start laying out the bricks for the concrete wall section. Marking out the wall location/height with string increases odds of success in lining up with the foundation direction and keeping everything level. It was time to find a corner position, layout first row of bricks outside of footing to design, apply the base mortar and apply the first brick. Repeat the mortar and set down the length of the foundation. Once you have your base bricks in place, level and straight, time to work the next row.


Using 8″ x 8″ x 16″ concrete bricks, we are going for a 2′ tall concrete wall on the south and east sides of the greenhouse. A 36″ storm door on the east side will allow entry. A 3′ tall portion of the brick wall on the west side and a 4’+ tall section on the north. We will be reinforcing the lowest row or two with rebar and concrete mix. We will be filling the north wall with mixed rock (allowing for heat/airflow). There will be height transitions from the north wall down to the east and west walls allowing for a bit more structure and weight support.

Wall built, now we can fill up specific voids with concrete mix to bring this together and give it some real stability. Within those concrete filled sections, we have added in some 1/2″ x 10 J bolts into different locations (corners and midpoints) so that we can attach the lower wood sections once the time comes.


Woohoo, footer complete and a concrete wall built, now on to the upper wood sections of the walls. Fill you in on this step in part 5 of the greenhouse build.

I appreciate your patience in staying with us through this build. Hang on, the next article will be out soon.

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