Retractable PVC Hoop House

A PVC hoop house lets you grow raised bed greens in the snow.

| July/August 2013

Vern Harris likes setting up hoop houses over his vegetable beds, but he doesn’t like the hassle of working under them. Most designs require lifting the plastic sides to get at the produce. So, Harris came up with hoops that glide on rails, making access as easy as pulling on two ropes.

“Anybody who is even slightly mechanical can build one,” Harris says. “If they run into trouble, I’d be glad to help. My hoop houses have let me grow greens even in the snow.”

Building a PVC Hoop House

Harris lives in northwestern Washington state where winter temperatures are commonly in the 30s and 40s. Hoop houses make year-round gardening possible. He builds garden beds from 8-foot-long, 2-by-6-inch untreated fir. The DIY hoop house is framed with schedule 40 PVC pipe. The rails the house slides on are 3/4-inch-diameter, and the hoops are 1/2 inch in diameter. They fit into 1-inch-diameter tees that glide over the rails.

“I needed to raise the rails slightly above the bed sides so the tees can glide down the rail,” Harris says. “To get the height, I predrilled holes through the pipes and set 1/2-inch-long pieces of 1/2-inch aluminum tubing under the holes. Screws driven through the holes and through the tubing secure the rails in place.”

Harris then sliced away the bottoms of each hoop tee. This allows them to slide past the aluminum supports. He also extended the rails about 18 inches past one end of the bed so all the hoops could be pulled to that end, exposing the entire bed. The rails are braced with a crosspiece.

After placing five tees in place on each rail, Harris inserted a 9-foot, 1/2-inch PVC pipe in a tee on one side and then bent it to fit the other end into the opposing tee. He predrilled holes for attaching the plastic. Harris suggests using Dura-Film Thermax or another high-quality film recommended for hoop houses.

2/11/2015 2:06:20 PM

I was wondering how well this would hold up in a strong wind. I live in Lancaster, CA and we can get gales up to 75 MPH.

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