By Jill Morgan
There are smart and stylish wheelie bin storage ideas for every garden, whatever its shape or size. Less than lovely to look at, practically every home is blessed with at least one, two or three of these hulking plastic giants. A modern day essential, finding somewhere to store them can be tricky – especially if space and access is limited – then there is the small issue of hiding them or at least making them look more attractive. Thankfully, many garden designers, architects and style-savvy homeowners have solved this issue and are happy to share the results.
From chic contemporary trellis, woven hurdles, sturdy stone-filled gabions to bespoke stores with living roofs, there’s a solution for every budget and taste. Of course, there are plenty of green-fingered fixes for your garden storage ideas too. Learn which plants make the best screening options so you can hide your bin from view and do your bit for pollinators and wildlife too. With so may solutions on offer, it's never been easier to keep your wheelie bin out of sight.
Keep things tidy with clever wheelie bin storage ideas
There's no need for unattractive bins to dominate your outdoor space if you incorporate some smart wheelie bin storage ideas into your plot. We've put together our favourite looks to get you inspired.
1. Utilise the space next to steps
A change of level in your garden is the perfect opportunity to hide your bins. Use the space under a steep flight of garden steps to slot in one or two storage cupboards and add on a couple of fold back doors for a sleek result.
Not enough room? Why not build up a wooden unit, right up to a retaining wall and disguise with planting. Great for creating a neat, seamless arrangement you could use a mix of different types of ornamental grass and prairie-style perennials or go for a formal hedge. Try evergreen and glossy leaved cherry laurel or colourful and super tough escallonia.
2. Grow a living willow screen
Fancy a green fingered project with a difference for your wheelie bin storage ideas? Why not plant and grow your own living willow screen? Known as whips and available from specialist nurseries, these freshly cut lengths of willow can be simply pushed into the ground, where needed, from mid November through to late February. Quick to root, then shoot, the flexible young growth can be trained and woven to form a living trellis idea. Ideal for screening off sections of the garden such as the bin store, they need little attention once established apart from a twice annual trim.
3. Replace a front wall with a storage cube
If your front garden is tight on space, a built-in bin storage unit is the best solution. A multi-use design such as this one not only doubles as a garden wall, but provides a generous, secure space for bikes, bins and garden tool storage, plus room for planting on top.
Born out of their need to replace their collapsing garden wall in east London, Lawrence Friesen and Tracey Bendrien of BikeBox Works came up with a nifty metal-clad design. 'With a front brick wall currently costing £3.5k and offering no benefit to the homeowner who’s short on space, it’s not really viable,' says Tracy. 'Bricks also have a very high carbon footprint, unlike steel, which is mainly recycled and recyclable.'
A bespoke design like this one can come with sliding or fold-out doors in slatted timber, oxidised steel or can also feature laser-cut designs.
4. Nurture a hedge to hide your bins
Growing a hedge not only provides a valuable wildlife habitat but can be handy for screening off less-than-lovely areas of your garden too. Providing an ever-changing tapestry of foliage, the best hedging plants are easy on the eye and so much more attractive than acres of timber fencing or brickwork.
When it comes to speed you can’t beat hedging troughs, as the experts at Hedges Direct explain. 'Ready-made instant hedging, grown in troughs is gaining in popularity for those seeking instant impact. Although there are other ways to achieve a good tall hedge fairly quickly (root ball hedge plants and also large potted plants) nothing quite compares with the fact that trough grown instant hedging is already knitted together and trimmed on the sides and top so that when it is planted it looks like it's been there for ever.'
If time is not an issue and you fancy a more varied look, go for a mix of native hedgerow plants. Species such as blackthorn, hawthorn, dog rose, hazel and alder will provide invaluable food and shelter for birds and wildlife as well as a beautiful display packed with seasonal interest.
For a uniform, formal look evergreen holly, yew or euonymus are your best options. These varieties form dense garden screening that can be neatly clipped to create clean lines and a beautiful backdrop.
5. Disguise a bin store with a green roof
Don’t settle for plain wheelie bin storage ideas, instead use the opportunity to squeeze in yet more planting in your plot. Whether you are opting for a simple raised platform to park your bins beneath or an enclosed storage unit, incorporating a shallow planting area to create a living roof on top will improve the view, particularly from upstairs windows.
The method for creating green roofs is fairly straightforward. Simply lay a waterproof membrane over the existing surface first before adding a deep sided timber or metal frame to retain soil and fine gravel. Next, add a layer of fine gravel, cover with landscape fabric before adding soil and plants. Alpines such as dianthus, erigeron and gentians will cater for pollinating insects and put on a spectacular spring show, while fragrant herbs such as thyme and marjoram appeal to a wide variety of bees.
Perhaps the easiest option is to go for sedum matting. An established network of tiny, tough plants sold in sheets, you can simply unroll, pop in place and water well.
6. Create a hidden area for bins
Looking for new driveway ideas to smarten up your plot? If so, it's a good idea to think carefully about bin storage from the outset.
'The practical elements of any garden always need careful consideration,' says garden designer Linsey Evans. 'All households have wheelie bins and in many cases there’s no option except to put these at the front of the house. They are ugly and wherever possible need to be hidden.'
A recent landscaping project, based on curved shapes called for some bold thinking and included a bin enclosure screened with curved hornbeam hedges set into the expansive driveway. 'A bespoke curved iron gate that matches the iron railings provides access to the bin storage area,' explains Linsey.
7. Use planting to screen a bin store
When it comes to screening wheelie bins from view, there are a few reliable planting options out there that can help to keep them out of sight.
- The best climbing plants to try are rambling roses such as Albertine and Paul’s Himalayan Musk; evergeen and winter flowering clematis such as ‘Winter Beauty’; climbing hydrangea, and Chinese jasmine with its vanilla star shaped blooms also works well.
- Hedge options include yew, buxus, common laurel, purple and green beech along with mixed native hedgerow varieties such as hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, honeysuckle and hazel. Opt for one of the best low maintenance hedge plants, such as cherry laurel or yew, if you want something that's easy to look after.
- Shrubs for dense screening include Euonymus, Elaeagnus Limelight, hornbeam, Photinia Red Robin and both golden and green privet.
- Ornamental grass options are Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’, Feather reed grass, Zebra grass, Miscanthus Flamingo and Pheasant’s tail grass. There are plenty of tips on how to grow ornamental grasses in our guide.
8. Combine storage and seating
If you need to make your limited outdoor area work extra hard, choose a structure that incorporates both entertaining space and garden bin storage ideas.
Many garden room ideas combine glazed living areas with separate sheds or roomy cupboards for stashing away everything from bins, bikes, lawn mowers and BBQs. Available in a wide range of different shaped footprints and designs you can find one to fit your plot whether it’s long, a narrow side return or just an awkward corner.
Rigid garden canopies are also useful options. Many are open sided – offering shelter but also open air seating – but there’s no reason you can’t use some of the space for enclosed storage units, too.
Bespoke shed ideas, such as this elegant cedar-clad structure, can be tailored to fit your site and lifestyle needs. Half concealed storage and half covered seating area, it's a standout feature of the garden and keeps everything neat and tidy.
9. Screen off a corner with slatted panels
Screening off a corner with panelling is a great way to disguise less-than-lovely recycling bin storage ideas.
Perfect for creating a sense of space and order there are plenty of different style timber screens to choose from. Pressure treated timber panels can be left out in the elements to naturally silver or can be painted to create a stunning statement.
Choose from vertical or horizontal slats and use them to visually create the illusion of extra height, length or width, or alternatively opt for diamond or cross trellis for added decoration. It can also be a good idea to match this screening to the style of your garden fence ideas to create a cohesive look in your plot.
Add to the effect further by introducing co-ordinating garden planter ideas. Stagger the heights to layer the look and add depth to the area and plant densely with colourful foliage and flowering perennials for an enticing display.
10. Make your bin shelter wildlife friendly
If you're a fan of our wildlife garden ideas, an option like this will be top of your wishlist. Boosting pollinators and biodiversity in our gardens is worthwhile, whether the project is big or small. Incorporating nectar-rich planting and insect-friendly habitats into wheelie bin storage ideas is great for the environment as well as attractive.
This bin store by the Front Yard Company is made to house two 240L wheelie bins and boasts a generous green roof that supports up to 280kg in weight. It's ideal for growing native meadow flowers, a spectacular annual display or even for creating a mini kitchen garden.
11. Co-ordinate bin storage and hard landscaping
Why not make your garden bin storage ideas a stylish part of your plot, rather than hiding it away? A smart, understated storage unit can discreetly house a couple of wheelie bins without shouting out its purpose. Paint it a dark shade and tuck the store up against a wall to help it recede in its setting and surround with herbaceous planting.
In this plot, hardy geraniums have been mixed with lush green ferns, Carex and the elegant snowball tree for a sophisticated contrast. A geometric tiled garden path is another chic addition, helping to tie the storage unit into the setting without appearing too fussy. Simple galvanised hinges and U-shaped handles are a classy finishing touch.
12. Create easy access to your bin store
Moving wheelie bins with ease is key to the success of your garden bin storage ideas. Somewhere to hide wheelie bins from view is invaluable, but flat paving ideas and easy access is also important.
A line of paving stones, set flat into the ground and interspersed with tough ground cover plants that can also withstand the weekly trundling of bin wheels is a great way to soften the look of the area.
Claire Pollard from Iron Butterfly Design has used Ophiopogon japonicus, Ajuga reptans and Thymus serpyllum in this town front garden, resulting in a restful and naturalistic look.
What’s the quickest way to build a bin store?
If you’re looking to build sturdy garden bin storage ideas that will stop wheelie bins from being blown over, then there are few options.
- A stone-filled gabion is an attractive way to create a garden wall that will screen your bins from sight. However, it's not a great option if you're searching for cheap garden ideas as it can end up costing a fair bit once you’ve paid for the cage structure and the stones to fill it.
- A cheaper alternative is using reclaimed pallets. Generally easy to get hold of, they do take time and energy to pull apart, but the timber is pretty durable and, above all, free. Cut some tanalised timber uprights, concrete them into the ground to create the structure of the bin store. Use the pallet timber to clad the exterior and paint, stain or leave the timber to naturally weather. There's more ways to put this type of timber to good use in our pallet furniture ideas too.
- Using hollow concrete blocks to build a simple ‘U’ shape structure is another option. Working on a flat paved surface, mark the outline of the store and fix the first course in place with mortar. Stagger the next row of blocks, bedding them down on mortar and adding more to the end of the block before butting each one up to the next. Once the right level is reached, and the mortar completely dry, the blocks can be painted or rendered, clad with exterior tiles or composite panelling.
How do you screen wheelie bins?
There are so many clever ways that you can hide your wheelie bins and recycling bins from sight. These are some of our favourite options.
- Wooden trellis
- Laser-cut metal screens
- Evergreen hedge – possibles include yew, buxus, rosemary or holly
- Trough or box planters with a full-height rear trellis panel
- Tall perennial planting such as miscanthus, achillea, verbena bonariensis, Japanese anemone
- Woven willow or hazel hurdles
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