Incorporating a few thoughtful garden storage ideas into your outdoor space will make gardening so much easier. As well as ensuring items are easy to access, it'll also free up space for inviting people over.
We've got lots of solutions for storing tools so you'll never lose your secateurs again. We also have ways to keep those outdoor cushions protected from inevitable downpours.
Clever garden storage ideas
If your garden shed is looking more like Monica Geller's cupboard and less like something from The Home Edit, read on for our practical garden ideas to keep everything in check.
While garden storage ideas aren't as exciting as building a deck or choosing plants for your flowerbeds, they'll be just as impactful. They may involve reorganising the shed with shelves and hooks. Or, if you've converted your outbuilding into your own private sanctuary, you may want to add more structural storage, furniture covers or wall solutions.
1. Maximise vertical space with stacked crates
Source wooden crates from online selling sites like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree and make a rustic feature with practical storage space. In a sheltered area of your garden, you could simply stack them up, or you might prefer to add screws to hold them in place.
Store your terracotta pot collection, string, plant labels, a watering can, tools and even your wellies in crates. Allow trailing plants to grow around them they'll soon look like they've always been there.
2. Create extra storage underneath shelving with mason jars
We love this simple, budget garden storage idea. Pick up some mason jars, at Dunelm (opens in new tab) and screw the metal lids to the underside of a shelf to give you extra space for storing smaller items like seeds and string.
It's a lovely way to display your gardening essentials and means you can see when things need topping up. Go one better by labelling the jars and adding LED lights into the jars, too.
3. Repurpose an old chest
Before you throw out an old chest of drawers from the kids' rooms, why not give it new life out in the garden? Give it a fresh lick of (exterior) paint and perhaps some new hardware.
You could also attach wheels to make it easier to transport, and hooks for keeping gardening spades, forks and brooms together. Depending on its height, you can also use it as a potting bench.
4. Opt for foldaway furniture
Foldaway furniture like this table with a detachable top from Nöa & Nani (opens in new tab) is easy to store away when not in use. 'If you only have a small bistro set and don’t wish to cover it in bad weather, either place the pieces undercover or tie it all together and secure to a gate or a fence, especially if high winds are forecast,' says Angela Slater, a gardening expert at Hayes Garden World (opens in new tab).
5. Create a seed storage box from an old cutlery tray
As well as finding a new use for old furniture, see if you have any kitchen or stationery storage items that could be useful in the garden. This wooden cutlery tray works well as a garden caddy to keep seed packets together.
6. Choose flexible storage for the garden shed
An adjustable garden shed idea like this will transform an untidy dumping ground into a space you can use both for storage and recreationally. A modular wall-mounted storage system will keep floors clear of clutter.
'Sheds offer large amounts of storage to keep gardening equipment and tools all in one place,' says Jack Sutcliffe, Co-founder of Power Sheds (opens in new tab). 'Maximise this space by adding shed shelves, drawers, or hooks to make the most of storage high and low.'
Tailor it to suit your space both width and height-wise, going for a combination of sturdy shelves, racks and hooks. Consider using the inside of the shed door, too. Store heavy, bulky items lower down, with tools at eye level so you can locate them with ease.
7. Let a trellis double as storage
Take a multi-functional approach and make something pretty double as something practical. Take this garden trellis idea – it can support plants, but it can also stow the tools you need to tend them.
For visual success, stick to a theme – pots in the same style OR colour. Then vary the sizes. Fill with a mix of foliage and those practical elements – hand forks, lighting, a watering can... you get the picture.
8. Incorporate storage within seating
Where to put all the cushions and throws to cosy up your garden seating? In the seating itself, that's where! A pre-bedtime tidy up is so much easier when all you have to do is get on your feet and lift the lid on your storage.
Achieve this either by commissioning (or building) your own wooden corner bench, or buying an outdoor sofa with storage included. Either way, you'll thank us when you're ready to sleep and don't want to traipse all the way to teh shed!
9. Store a drinks station on the wall
You only have to jump onto social media to see countless amazing examples of clever pallet ideas. Used right, the humble pallet can be transformed into a practical little number that makes Gin O'Clock that bit easier to celebrate.
This garden bar idea is a fine example. Down below, bottles can be held in place ready for cocktail making. If you're leaving them in situ, we'd advise securing them with a rail that runs horizontally at half-bottle height. That way, when you open up the preparation shelf, there's no range of them crashing over.
A second rail above can be used for glasses. We like that this design has an easy-to-clean worktop for prep and presentation. You could use another piece of wood, or tiles. Just ensure it's light enough that when the unit is drilled into the wall, it can be securely supported.
10. Rack up your tools
‘Organise tools and equipment so they’re easy to locate,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn of youneedavicky.com (opens in new tab). ‘If you have to tackle a mess, move too much stuff, or it takes too long to find something, then you’re more likely to put off doing a job.’
Make use of wall space in a shed or garage by hanging tools on a sturdy wall-hung rack. Arrange these galvanised steel racks one above the other to store hand tools and long-handled garden tools like forks, spades and rakes.
11. Add an ‘overflow’ store
If you’ve only a small garden or want to supplement an existing shed that’s bursting at the seams, try a compact garden store. Position it close to the house so that the contents, such as tools, toys or cushions, are easily accessible and easy to put away in a hurry if there’s a sudden downpour. It's also a great log storage idea, if you're trying to dry out unseasoned wood.
Jack Sutcliffe from Power Sheds recommends storing items seasonally so you can access what you want easily without creating clutter. A small 'overflow' shed will be handy for storing items you use all the time.
12. Create a storage wall with a pegboard, rails and shelves
‘Hang garden tools on the wall in a designated spot so you can find what you need more easily,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn of youneedavicky.com.
‘Try labelling tools or drawing around them in black marker on the wall so you’ll know when one hasn’t been put away or returned to its home.’
13. Store bulky items off the floor
Crowded floors can make sheds difficult to navigate, so utilise wall space and hang up bulky items to free some floor space. These heavyweight brackets double up as shelf supports, while the hooks are sturdy enough to hold folding chairs, a grass strimmer or garden parasol (hung horizontally).
14. Organise outdoor storage for small-scale items
Save a trek to the shed by investing in extra storage closer to the house. These sturdy weatherproof cabinets are handy for gardening essentials like tools and pots or for stashing outdoor cushions. Alternatively, cabinets and open shelves make great storage for tableware and cooking equipment if you're thinking about outdoor kitchen ideas or building a barbecue area.
15. Double up with stowaway storage trunks
Keep cushions, throws and seat pads to hand, rather than bundling them into the shed or garage every evening. These storage benches have wheels and a grab handle so are easy to move around and make a great extra seat or coffee table too. Multifunctional items like these will really leverage all the space available for storage, helping to keep things streamlined.
16. Keep ugly bins hidden
Store logs and conceal an ugly wheelie bin with this aesthetically-pleasing modular storage duo. In blackened Spruce with shingled roof, the bin tidy comes with lockable door and lift-up roof for easy bin-filling, while the log store has an open front, slatted frame and raised feet to aid ventilation.
If you can't stretch to buying this beautiful storage, an alternative budget garden idea would be to build your own from pallets. Top with a sloped plywood roof and consider covering this with felt, to keep everything from getting damp.
17. Take care of outdoor toys and play equipment
A family garden needs more good storage than most. ‘Garden toys can get in a state if they’re left outside in all weathers and not cleaned regularly,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn of youneedavicky.com.
‘Cover or store play equipment when not in use, to help protect from the elements and prevent sun-fading and rust and keep textiles and wood from deteriorating. Empty water-play equipment after each use so that it doesn’t go mouldy.’
18. Protect garden furniture with extra-large covers
‘Buy large garden furniture covers that span the whole set if you can,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn of youneedavicky.com. 'Individual ones can be fiddly and time-consuming to put on in a hurry.'
'If shed space is tight, designated cushion stores are ideal – just make sure your cushions are dry before putting them away.' If they go into storage wet, they'll quickly develop a musty smell and may get mouldy.
That should be more than enough to get you started on the Great Garden Tidy Up this year. A few little investments later, you'll be able to sit back and admire a clutter-free plot. Enjoy.
Is it okay to leave patio furniture out in the rain?
Covers are often available for better-quality garden sets. If you don't have one, just secure all the furniture together and cover it with a waterproof tarpaulin, suggests Angela Slater from Hayes Garden World.
Tie the tarpaulin to the legs of the furniture and place a broom handle through the parasol hole in the centre of the table. Or, she says, just place an upside-down bucket on the table so the centre of the tarpaulin is elevated and therefore will shed the water and not leave it sitting in a pool on the furniture.
How do you store outdoor cushions in winter?
The cushions on high-quality garden furniture are designed to be left out in the rain, says Angela. 'However, they are better brought indoors or stored in a dedicated cushion box where they will be dry and damp-free. They do sometimes become water-marked if they are left in the elements for too long,' she says.
Lisa is a freelance journalist who has written about interiors for more than 25 years and has worked on all the major homes titles, primarily Ideal Home, but also including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Style at Home, Livingetc, Woman & Home, Easy Gardens and Good Homes magazines. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person, as well as being a serial shopper/bargain hunter.
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