Legal Risks of Residential Greenhouses
Halt | May 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

4 Legal Risks of Residential Greenhouses

Are you interested in growing fruits and vegetables right at your home? Does the idea of owning a greenhouse appeal to you?

If the answer is yes, then you should be wary of all the legal risks of residential greenhouses.

Since there might be a possibility that your city recognizes a greenhouse under a commercial class or agricultural sector, you can be cited for zoning violations. Hence, it is quite vital to research all the local code requirements before purchasing or building a greenhouse.

In this article, we are going to discuss all the legal implications that you might face while owning a greenhouse at your residence.

Check it out

Zoning Permits

One of the critical legal risks involving a greenhouse is zoning permits. Although some cities or communities might not have any requirements, some do have stricter regulations in residential areas.

As such, you should contact the zoning department in your local area to find out the requirements. If you do not follow their regulations, you might be cited for violating the provision.

For example, there is a chance that your community does not allow greenhouse 10 or 20 feet from the lot lines. If you build a greenhouse without a permit and you are not following the rules, you might be fined heavily by the local government.

Besides this, there is another legal risk involving the number of accessory buildings allowed in an allocated area. Since some localities might consider even sheds as an accessory, there is a possibility of going over the number accidentally.

Hence, you should apply for a zoning permit to save yourself from future legal implications.

Building Permits

Similar to zoning violations, there is a legal risk of residential greenhouses without a building code permit. Issued by the county building sector, these codes check the structural integrity of your greenhouse.

While greenhouses are not recognized as an agricultural building in many localities, many urban areas have many regulations and requirements. For example, the building codes test if the greenhouse structure can deal with snow or strong winds.

Depending on whether you have an attached or freestanding greenhouse, you might have to acquire a building permit to grow your food. Typically, the former requires a specific building code in most communities.

Apart from this, building codes cover the size of the greenhouse and the type of covering used for the structure. Moreover, they will also check on fire sprinkler and fire hazard issues related to a greenhouse.

Over time, the government has made stricter building codes to maintain the standard of accessory building and to also generate revenue by regulating structure.

If you want to avoid any legal entanglement later, getting a building code will be quite beneficial for your greenhouse integrity.


Sometimes, it is not quite easy to even get a permit. Concerned neighbors might raise issues regarding the construction of your greenhouse that might affect the community. In such cases, you might have to face a public hearing to have your greenhouse.

Here, you might be questioned if the greenhouse will affect your property value. For example, if the traffic in your neighborhood might increase.

Besides this, you might have to discuss the uses of pesticides, chemicals, and the pollution from your greenhouse that could affect the neighbors.

In such cases, you should have all the answers ready right by your side. You have to convince all the neighbors and officials to get a permit for your greenhouse.

Sustainable Construction

Nowadays, one of the issues involved with greenhouses is the use of sustainable, energy-efficient products in its construction. Governments are enforcing the construction department to form new buildings conforming to the new energy codes.

Not only will these reduce the use of fossil fuels, but they will standardize the building materials used in your greenhouse.

Keep in mind that commercial-grade greenhouses do not come under these energy code requirements since they are for agricultural purposes. Moreover, they do not typically reside in residential areas.

To conform to these energy-efficient codes, you must contact an experienced professional who has dealt with these codes. He will guide you on how to build a residential greenhouse while conforming to the energy code requirements of your locality.


Although residential greenhouses are allowed in many communities, the federal or local government might have some codes set in place to regulate these structures. Hence, you might have to face many legal risks while operating a greenhouse.

To save yourself from trouble, try to get an official permit and construct your greenhouse based on these regulations.

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