Victorian or Modern Greenhouse – Which one is right for your garden?

Griffin Glasshouses strives to design greenhouses in keeping with the surroundings. Whether it be a listed building or a modern eco-house, our greenhouses are created according to the unique traits of every property.


 Traditionally, Victorian greenhouses had steeper roof pitches with fairly narrow glazing. Glass was only made in short, narrow sheets and it had to be overlapped when fitting. This caused capillary action to form green lines of algae at the overlaps, which were both unsightly and impossible to get rid of or clean.

Fancy roof cresting and finials were also often fitted to the ridges of Victorian greenhouses. This helped to keep birds away and, in the right setting, enhanced the overall look of the structure.

More modern buildings tend to have much wider glazing, which is usually combined with a lower roof pitch. Clean lines are a key feature of modern design. Clients that prefer modern design choose simple finials without roof cresting.

Traditionally, greenhouses were made of wood and painted white. In the last 15 years, however, colour has come to play a significant role in the design of greenhouses. Today, of course, this type of greenhouse can still be found but, sadly, due to the change in timber quality, they don’t last 100 years like the original greenhouses.

Griffin’s glazing systems are profiled to look like routed timber with the fixings hidden within the glazing system. In fact, when we exhibit our greenhouses at flower shows, visitors are often seen tapping on the metal and are surprised to discover that it is not wood!

Further, the aluminium can be powder coated according to a large palette of colours. This means that a modern dark grey, green or pale blue is a commonly chosen and, recently, a purple greenhouse has been ordered! This gives our clients the flexibility to colour match their greenhouse with other garden items.  The standard RAL colour chart is used, so metal or wood paint can be mixed at any DIY store to match the glasshouse colour.

Griffin glazing systems caters for various roof pitches and, as toughened glass is made to measure, a number of glass widths can be accommodated to suit various designs. Today, glass is manufactured in single sheets of 4mm and toughened safety glass is manufactured up to 3m in length. This ensures stronger and better quality than the 3mm horticultural glass traditionally used. It is very rarely necessary to join glass these days, but if needed, butting strip which sits between two panes of glass can be used as it ensures a perfect joint. Algae doesn’t form between these strips and they can be colour matched to the greenhouse to ensure a perfect finish.

Many clients prefer the steep Victorian pitch, while opting for the wider glazing, darker colour and clean lines for a more modern look. At Griffin, we provide flexibility to mix and match elements so that the end result is exactly right for the setting.

Posted by David in Design