Greenhouse Pads: Planning Ahead

If you are planning on updating the structure of your greenhouse or demolishing a structure, you need to have a valid building permit before you can start the work. There will be an adjustment made to your tax assessment once a building permit copy has been forwarded to your local assessor. One of the most costly mistakes that you can make when building is not having a valid building permit, Depending on where you live, having an unpermitted greenhouse could mean you have to remove it or pay a large fine. Most building officials will help you with the process of getting a building permit. They want to make sure that your greenhouse or other building has been built to be safe for you, your customers, and your employees.

Here is the correct way of creating a greenhouse pad.

Grading Permit

A grading permit allows you to grade your land. You will need to follow proper erosion and drainage controls for your area. A very common mistake many people make when they are prepping the building pad is they put down the gravel first.

Digging and Trenches

Trenches are needed for water, power, and propane lines. They are also used in some areas to run telephone and internet wiring. A laser level should be used when digging the building pad, and the pad should have less than one-inch difference.


After the ground has been cut, leveled, and compacted down, we will set up the marking strings and start marking the holes. Depending on the building, the holes can be 12, 18, or 24 inches. The simple method is to have the concrete truck drive on the building pad and to fill each hole from the chute. After the mud has set and is completely dry, we can fill the pad with gravel.


Putting gravel down first is a very common mistake that people make when prepping a building pad. Gravel will get contaminated by soil during digging, so you should wait until you have completed all the digging. So, ¾ crushed rocks is a great option and is the same gravel that is used in driveways. This size of gravel has small stone in the mix, so the gravel is easier to compact. You should avoid washed rocks since they do not compact well, and will feel loose when you are walking on it. It is recommended that you keep moisture in the rocks, and compact the gravel.

Erosion Permit

Depending on your area, you may need a permit. Your local permit office can tell you everything that you need to know about permits. One of the hurdles with licensing authorities and regulators for cannabis is that they want everything to have permits.  However, in some areas, there are no permits for erosion or building small greenhouses. This is very confusing and can be interpreted in different ways.

Erosion Control

Straw is the best and most cost-effective ways to repair the soil. You can simply spread the straw over the areas that were disturbed. You may want to put down a filter fence and grass to fill in sloped areas to avoid having sediment run off or landslides in the future.