The benefits of living in tune with nature have become more apparent than ever in 2020, when even diehard urbanites have been seeking out gardens, forests, lakes, mountains and beaches to soothe their souls. Estates with outdoor space and gardens may attract many buyers, but those with a greenhouse have the added cachet of providing greenery in every season. Sometimes, a greenhouse can be a light-filled living space.
Adding a greenhouse to your property can cost an average of $7,000 to $29,000, according to HomeAdvisor, an online home improvement services marketplace. Adding a one-acre greenhouse can cost $40,000 to more than $100,000, but if you want to add a greenhouse to an urban rooftop, that could run $1 million or more.
The typical greenhouse needs some type of heating and air conditioning system, lighting and water.
Here are some greenhouses around the U.S. that range from expansive spaces for growing orchids or tropical plants to ones that function as living space for entertaining or simply communing with the plants.
Serious Gardening in California’s Sonoma County
A $3.15 million estate listed in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California, includes a two-acre garden with a wide variety of plants and gardens.
“Flowers are the passion here, with color and exuberance,” said Sara Harrison Woodfield, a 66-year-old architect who designed the home on Shiloh Terrace that she owns with her husband Peter Woodfield, an 87-year-old retired mining geologist. “To support all this garden, we built a 10’ x 12’ greenhouse, with one side full of plants and one side full of fertilizer, tools and garden gadgets. There’s a potting bench and area outside, which has turned into a secret getaway place to enjoy the plants.”
While the greenhouse is used to start plants, protect sensitive plants during winter and to grow some exotic plants that don’t flourish in the California climate, Ms. Woodfield also enjoys spending time there.
“The front and sides of the greenhouse have wall-to-wall windows with shelves for growing plants and a small place to put a chair and table to just enjoy the space and look down and out over the nearby garden,” she said.
Sunlit Winter Retreat
With a 4.6-acre estate and a 4,400-square-foot residence, you might think the homeowners of this Massachusetts coastal property would have more than enough space to relax in their main house. But for Barry Goldman, a retiree who is selling his riverfront estate in Newmarch Street in Ipswich, the greenhouse offers a special spot amid the gardens and terraces.
“It was worth every penny spent over the course of the year it took to meticulously restore the greenhouse,” Mr. Goldman said. “We especially love luxuriating in the sunny warmth on chilly winter days with a cup of tea and a good book.”
The estate is listed at $2.695 million with Christie’s International Realty.
A City Greenhouse for Entertaining
An unexpected spot for a greenhouse is a Manhattan rooftop, but one rests on the roof terrace at 10 East 14 St.’s penthouse No. 1 in Greenwich Village. The greenhouse, which features plants and trees fed with a year-round irrigation system, can be reached by a private elevator from the condo, which is listed for $4,999,500.
“The greenhouse is used as a living space for the owners and has central heating and air,” said Cherie Hinson, the listing agent with Sotheby’s International Realty. “This conservatory doubles as an additional living room, lounge, entertainment pit or office space.”
A Cape Cod Orchid House
The 10-acre property on Beach Road in Orleans, Massachusetts, listed at $25 million and located one-half mile from Nauset Beach, probably doesn’t need a greenhouse as a selling point. But Ricardo Rodriguez, the listing agent with Coldwell Banker Realty, points out that new owners can grow vegetable, exotic plants and flowers year-round to keep their home in bloom in every season.
“The greenhouse was primarily used for orchids,” said homeowner Raina Ring. “We had virtually every variety, and it was kept by a specialist. They grew like they did in nature, not in ceramic or clay pots; we kept them in cork containers that the orchids grew in and onto the cork itself. The goal was to have every variety of orchid. The greenhouse was a visual and aromatic splendor.”
Long Island Oasis
The 2.7-acre estate, located on Long Island’s South Fork on Sayres Path in Wainscott, is listed for sale at $10.95 million with Sotheby’s International Realty. It features multiple gardens, terraces, ponds, a swimming pool with a waterfall and outdoor sculptures.
Homeowner Marie Eve Berty, a 63-year-old retired public relations and marketing executive, says that the greenhouse is used for a variety of purposes.
“It’s perfect for preparing seedlings for my organic vegetable garden, cutting flowers for floral arrangements and, in the winter, it houses all of our outdoor plants that need winterizing,” Ms. Berty said. “It becomes a wonderful space that can be viewed from multiple locations in the house, making the indoor space feel alive year-round.”
Shangri La on Narragansett Bay
Named in honor of the imaginary paradise in James Hilton’s 1933 novel “Lost Horizon,” this 1.8-acre waterfront estate in Bristol Highlands, Rhode Island, includes two greenhouses in addition to the main house, a guest house and a tea house.
The property on Shore Road is priced at $8.5 million and includes multiple gardens along with a private sand beach.
The greenhouses maintain the tropical plants used throughout the estate, said Kristin Parella, the listing agent along with John Hodnett of Lila Delman Real Estate, a Christie’s International Real Estate company.
“Many plants sleep in the greenhouse during the winter months and come to life in the late spring, where they are transferred to pots and garden beds,” Mr. Hodnett said. “The tropical plants thrive on warmth and moisture, and with extraordinary care, bring out the magnificent beauty of the exotic architecture and the coastal environment.”
Extensive gardens are an important part of the 15-acre estate in Batesville, Indiana, which is listed for sale at $5.5 million. A greenhouse was designed to complement the architecture of the main house.
“The owners built a greenhouse with matching tables and self-adjusting windows that open depending on the temperature inside the greenhouse, then added a heater and a ceiling fan to further control the climate,” said listing agent Rebecca Glazier of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty. “They grow flowers, indoor plants, ferns and seedlings and use the greenhouse to protect some potted plants during the winter.”
Saddle River Estate with Tropical Sanctuary
The 4.24-acre estate in Saddle River, New Jersey, currently listed for sale at $9.88 million, includes a 20,000-square-foot house, a pond, covered patios, a swimming pool, cabanas and a formal garden.
“The greenhouse is used for year-round vegetation, including flowers, plantings, vegetables and herbs,” said listing agent Josh Baris with Coldwell Banker Realty. “The owner enjoys relaxing within what feels like a private tropical oasis.”
French Normandy Chateau in Holmby Hills
When you own a French-style chateau set amid nearly two acres of gardens in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, a greenhouse is almost a necessity
The 1.77-acre estate on Ladera Drive, listed at $29 million, includes multiple gardens that surround the swimming pool, pool house, two guest cottages and the main house. The working greenhouse grows plants that are continuously used throughout the estate, including specimen ferns, orchids and vegetables, said Sharona Alperin, the listing agent with Sotheby’s International Realty.