Get the garden ready for winter with outdoor storage solutions that keep everything safe, dry and out of sight but still within easy reach
1. Make a plan
When planning a new garden or remodelling an existing one, look out for areas that can’t be seen but are still relatively accessible, such as a narrow space between the house and a boundary fence. A lean-to structure can easily be built in such places.
Unused space beneath or alongside raised decks and porches are another option. Blank walls on the side of the house that are protected by eaves, or in the garage, can be utilised for hanging shelves, garden tools and kids’ bikes.
2. Well placed
It’s always a good idea to have storage areas close to the location where things are used – there’s no point putting the pool toys in a shed by the house if the swimming pool is at the other end of the garden. If you have a sandpit, position an outdoor box that can double as a seat close by for storing plastic bulldozers and buckets. Think about incorporating built-in storage into the seating and walls of outdoor living areas for cushions, candles, gardening shoes, hammocks and other outdoor accessories. Likewise for outdoor kitchen areas, allow space for storing pizza stones, baking dishes, tongs and other paraphernalia. Making a spot for firewood close to an outdoor fireplace is of course a no-brainer. There are some fab freestanding firewood storage units and DIY ideas available.
3. Go below deck
Under houses, sheds and decks is a whole world of unused space that’s perfect for big items such as kayaks, pool toys, garden tools, gas bottles, paddling pools and folding outdoor furniture. Access via trap doors from above, as they do in boats, or build large drawers that can be pulled out from the side on tracks.
4. Remember the toys
Small toys can be a nuisance inside and out. One clever outdoor solution is to use the space below bench seats for individual toy baskets. Storing small toys in attractive containers such as stainless-steel buckets hanging on hooks or brightly coloured plastic crates can create an interesting feature as well as being practical.
5. Find space for your bike
…or scooter! Our love affair with these two-wheeled vehicles continues, but if everyone in the family owns one, storage can become a real problem. If you have an electric scooter or bike, you’ll need a fully waterproof (and ideally burglar-proof) place for it. There are now some elegant, purpose-built bike storage units on the market in box-like forms that can fit unobtrusively into a corner of the garden. Alternatively, if there’s space, you can fit racks and hooks on the walls and ceilings of garages and sheds, but remember to attach these to a stud as bikes and scooters are not particularly lightweight items.
6. Don’t forget the bin
We can’t live without them, but there’s no denying that wheelie bins are not pretty to look at. The good news is there are plenty of purpose-built bin cupboards around. Or you can hide them behind a built or planted screen, ideally one that integrates with existing built features or plants. Alternatively, turn the screen into a decorative feature in its own right by using laser-cut patterned steel panels, for instance, or growing a pretty vine up sections of horizontal trellis. Keep structures light so they don’t take up too much space. Likewise with hedges and vines, keep them well trimmed to avoid intruding into outdoor living areas.
Position all your storage and work areas (clothesline, potting table, dog kennel) together in one zone, preferably out of sight of outdoor living areas but still accessible. Then you won’t have to worry about how attractive your storage units are, as you would in other parts of the garden.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Bauer Syndication.