Greenhouse or Conservatory: What’s the Difference?

We are often asked about the differences between our conservatory designs. There are many words associated with a glass-enclosed room including conservatories, greenhouses, orangeries, sunrooms, and enclosed porches.

While all of these terms are related, it is important for a homeowner to identify how they would like to utilize the space. Typically, a conservatory is a glass-enclosed living space for people in which plants exist. A greenhouse is a more rugged structure, a place that plants can nurture and grow and people visit.

Orangeries originated in the Victorian era when British aristocrats wanted to grow the mysterious fruits and vegetables that tradesmen brought with them from their countries. In the winter, the trees would be brought inside the warm enclosure while still having access to the natural sunlight. In the summers, the doors would be pulled open and the trees would be rolled outside, leaving a stunning entertainment space for the wealthy to enjoy. They are most similar to the modern hybrid, a greenhouse conservatory, which performs the functions of growing plants but most importantly looks beautiful and becomes a living space for playing, dining or relaxing. It also becomes an asset to the property that will add value to the home.

So, is it a greenhouse or conservatory? Let’s discuss the similarities between the two:

  • All are glass structures
  • All provide an ideal location for plants to grow
  • All can be attached to your house (but greenhouses seldom are)
  • All have the ability to be designed using solar energy to be environmentally sound
  • All can be customized with Conservatory Accessories to add style and design intrigue

Features of A Conservatory

  • Crafted of eco-friendly materials, such as mahogany or sustainable aluminum
  • Incorporates many automatic components without detracting from the visual appearance
  • Used mainly as a living space, but still integrates plants into its design
  • Interior décor includes conservatory furniture and accessories

Features of A Greenhouse

  • Built economically, using some automatic conveniences
  • From the exterior, the greenhouse will appear to be quite utilitarian
  • Crafted to meet climatic and environmental needs

Greenhouses are an ideal place to grow out-of-season fruits and vegetables in cold weather. Americans today are more health conscious and choose to live and eat more organic food. As horticulturalist, we praise the effort of sustainable, local food. Greenhouses are an emerging market as our clients are looking for a place to grow and enjoy plants, grow winter edibles, and start their own plants for spring and summer gardens.