Maximise every inch of your garden with astute storage and inventive use of spare spaces. Get your garden decluttered and organised with these tips
10 stylish ways to organise your outdoor garden area
There’s no getting around the fact that our gardens are getting smaller. Unfortunately, the amount of stuff we need to keep outdoors is getting bigger. Toys for the pool or sandpit, garden furniture, gardening tools, bikes, kayaks, firewood, potting mix, watering cans, rubbish bins… it’s a long list. So where to put it all? When planning your outdoor storage, take the same approach as you would in a tiny house, caravan or boat: make really efficient use of every spare centimetre.
1. Rubbish bins
There’s no excuse for having your ugly plastic bins on show when there are so many great storage and screening options around. Keep them neat and tidy with a purpose-built storage unit (also useful for lawn mowers, bikes and other gear). Paint the unit the same colour as surrounding walls or fences to make it disappear. Or buy trellis, brushwood panels or other lightweight screening materials and make your own bin storage.
2. Garden hose
There are lots of practical products for storing garden hoses around, some more efficient than others, so do your homework before buying. An easy DIY option is to fix a large decorative bracket to a wall and suspend the coiled hose from it. Or nail a galvanised bucket, side on, to a nicely painted post and place the coiled hose inside.
3. Kids toys
Toys and children are like tea and cake: much better together. Aim to store toys near areas such as the sandpit, playhouse or paddling pool. Large plastic bins on shelves or outdoor storage boxes are always a good option, or you could go for colourful buckets on hooks. Large labels make tidying up easier for the kids.
It’s wonderful to see so many families out on their bikes but, at the end of the day, finding storage space for all of them can be a problem. A simple remedy is to hang them on sturdy bike hooks in the garage or shed. If there’s no room there, consider making your own covered bike storage area (there are plenty of plans online; try myoutdoorplans.com). Or look out for a purpose-built bike storage unit.
5. Small stuff
Hanging a shoe organiser on an outside wall is one of the smartest ideas we’ve seen for storing small outdoor items such as secateurs, trowels, balls of twine, seed packets, outdoor candles, little toys and even darts for the dartboard. Other enterprising gardeners hang cute little buckets onto wall-mounted pallets for keeping their small stuff tidy. Or you could consider buying a purpose-built outdoor storage box and placing see-through plastic bins on shelves so you can easily see what’s inside.
6. Garden tools
Make use of any available vertical space for spades, rakes and hoes by hanging them on hooks inside the shed or garage, or on a sheltered wall facing the garden. Another simple solution is to give a wooden pallet a coat of paint and prop it against a wall or fence (or fix in place). The tool handles can simply slide down in between the slats.
7. Below decks
Most decks (and porches) have an amazing amount of unused storage space beneath them, partly due to lack of access. To avoid having to crawl under the deck to store your stuff, go in from the side using pull-out drawers, or through the top via lift-up trapdoors.
8. Potting equipment
There are plenty of nice-looking potting benches on the market. Alternatively, repurpose an old dressing table with lots of shelves and drawers for storing seeds, pots and so forth. Paint it a cute colour and that tired old dressing table becomes a pretty garden feature. Another low-cost idea is to make a set of shelves by painting some unwanted timber boards and a few concrete blocks in bold, interesting colours.
9. Built-in storage
Building storage into bench seating is common but there are other structures that can provide storage space. Add or section off an area of your raised beds for outdoor cushions, tools, potting mix, etc). Shelves and cupboards can also be inserted into masonry walls and under benches. Narrow spaces between boundaries and the house are perfect for slimline storage cupboards. Always match materials and/or colours to those of surrounding structures.
Firewood can look pretty cool if it’s stacked beautifully. Make a feature out of it with a flash corten-steel (which has a rusted look) firewood holder such as the Redondo from OtraForma or keep it low-key with a simple steel rack. If you’re handy with a hammer there are plenty of DIY options out there, too. Build a basic shelter for firewood using corrugated steel or timber boards in an inverted V shape, turn a metal drum on its side, or repurpose an unwanted cabinet or bench.
Words by: Carol Bucknell.