By Jill Morgan
Thanks to clever garden storage ideas, organizing your outside space isn't as daunting as it might first appear. Everything from tools, lanterns, pots and planters to larger bits and bobs such as bikes and BBQs can quickly leave your beautiful backyard looking more like a chaotic mess. But, there are plenty of stylish solutions to restore order.
You don't just have to rely on shed ideas, either. Sure, they're handy to have, but if space is at a premium you may need to opt for more streamlined options. From stylish wall shelves that take up no floor space at all to clever furniture with hidden storage compartments – there are lots of designs that are both functional and chic.
Garden storage ideas: 22 ways to get your plot in order
We've rounded up some of our favorite outdoor storage ideas below. If you're in need of a good garden sort out, you'll be sure to find something to inspire.
1. Opt for galvanized designs for industrial chic
Smart shelving can be a feature in itself if you opt for the right designs. Take this gorgeous galvanized style for instance – perfect if you fancy a hint of industrial-chic in your plot.
It's a modular design, meaning you can customize it to fit your needs and space easily. Pegboard back panels make an especially good addition for hanging up tools.
'The galvanized shelves and panels can handle any weather and it will become the most natural place to keep your plants and store your garden tools,' says Bo Hellberg of String Furniture. We think something like this would make an ideal feature for the shed, but it would work well outdoors as part of your decking or patio ideas, too.
2. Go for multi-functional furniture
Everyone loves a big, comfy sofa for lounging on out in the fresh air. And, if you have a large family or like to entertain, then generous corner designs are a winning choice.
However, it's no secret that outdoor seating ideas like these take up a bit of room, which may leave you with less space for storage. There's a simple solution: go for a style which combines the two. Take this rattan number for instance – all the seats lift up to reveal ample space for tidying away cushions, blankets, and other garden accessories. As Jonny Brierley, CEO of Moda Furnishings says, 'Storage and multi-functionality are the two key elements that all outdoor gardens should have,' and we couldn't agree more.
3. Invest in a compact potting bench
If you love to potter with your plants, then smart garden storage ideas like these are fantastic features to have.
Its monochrome look would complement all manner of modern garden ideas. And, there's enough space to keep everything you need within arm's reach when sowing or potting up seedlings. A bag of compost could be kept tidily in one drawer, packets of seeds in the other, and the space beneath is perfect for neatly tucking away bulkier items like a watering can.
If you've got the space, complete the set-up with a matching drawer unit to keep any extra tools, labels and twine handy.
4. Use slimline shelves to store your plants
Whether you've learnt how to take cuttings from plants, grow your own from seed, or are just an avid garden center regular, then you probably need garden storage ideas to keep all those pots in order. A wide shelving unit like this will do the job perfectly, and looks the part too.
It can be used as a safe space to harden off seedlings, store all your new plants before you add them to your borders, or even as an addition to greenhouse ideas to keep them looking orderly. Plus, its simple design means it will work in any style of plot.
5. Double up on storage with clever designs
Let's face it – bins are a necessity, but an eyesore. But, they don't have to spoil your carefully crafted garden design. There are lots of sleek garden storage ideas available which will hide them out of sight.
And, if you've introduced fire pit ideas into your plot, then you'll be pleased to know that some bin storage designs double up as log storage, too. A style like this will keep them neatly stacked, dry and ready-to-use – and makes a rather attractive feature in the meantime.
6. Use the walls
When it comes to small garden ideas, one way to solve storage issues is to use the surrounding walls to maximize every bit of available space. A series of shelves, hooks and hanging rails or wall-hung containers can hold a surprising amount of clutter.
Double your storage options with a base unit that has a tall trellis or slatted panel attached. Then, you can use it as a growing space for favorite herbs and plants too, or hang chopping boards and the best BBQ tools as part of an outdoor kitchen.
7. Opt for stylish storage boxes
If you've invested in backyard pool ideas, it's nice to have somewhere to tidy away extra towels, kids' toys and other swimming accessories nearby. A stylish storage box or two could be all you need.
These rattan designs offer a luxurious look and won't rust or fade. What's more, there's even a zip-up inner liner to keep your things dry and protected, even if the weather turns temperamental.
8. Choose flexible storage on wheels
What could be better than storage boxes that look good, double as side tables or occasional seating and can be wheeled around to exactly where they are needed?
There are plenty of sturdy chests that are suitable for outside use – many are watertight too – but few are as smart as these storage benches on wheels shown above.
If these don't fit the bill, you can take on an easy DIY project and simply adapt standard storage boxes by fixing heavy duty castors to the base. They're readily available from Amazon and are easy to fit to your storage. Opt for designs with brakes to stop the storage unit moving around, especially if you want it to double up as a seating area.
9. Go for hanging storage solutions
Open garden storage ideas are a great way to free up floor and work surfaces while keeping everything close to hand. Wall hung crates or boxes, canvas pockets and neat multi-sectioned grids make perfect homes for smaller essentials and can liven up a plain wall too.
10. Try sleek units for small spaces
Style counts, particularly in a small space, so choosing outdoor storage ideas can be tricky. Look for sleek lines and simple shapes and go for units with doors so you can hide the contents away to maintain a smart, streamlined look.
For balcony ideas where space is really right, work out exactly what you need on a day-to-day basis and find a storage unit that will accommodate everything. This design above is from a range which comes in a variety of heights and configurations, featuring both open and closed designs. The shelves can easily be repositioned and you can stack different combos to suit your needs.
11. Stash essentials in one place
If you're fed up with the endless hunt for gloves, secateurs and string then create a garden caddy to keep everything you need in one place. It doesn’t have to be particularly smart, but it needs to be easy to carry.
A simple canvas bag, basket or lined fruit crate will also do the job. Divide the interior into two or three sections to help keep some order and try and store similar items together: hand tools one side and plant ties, labels, twine on the other.
12. Blend in large storage
Larger storage spaces, such as the best sheds and bike stores can dominate a small backyard or look out of place if added as an afterthought. Thankfully, there are some clever and very effective outdoor storage ideas that you can try.
No one wants to look out onto an ugly ash-felted roof, so why not swap it for a green roof instead? There are plenty of planting options to choose from including pre-sown matting and pocket systems which makes installation a simple project.
Painting or cladding the garden store to match surrounding garden fence ideas and walls is a simple way to create continuity. In this stunning garden scheme, a lack of front facing windows and a flush profile merges the store into the planting, so it becomes a blank canvas to show off the stately olive tree. Our feature on the best trees for small gardens has more options to help you find the right pick for your outdoor space.
13. Utilize wasted space
Garden structures often eat up space but look carefully as, with a little tweaking, they can provide storage opportunities too. Clever garden steps ideas, raised decking ideas, built-in bench seating and retaining walls can all incorporate handy nooks perfect for stashing away items such as BBQs, folding chairs, tables and parasols.
Yes, these spaces may be unconventional shapes, but they are often large and roomy, offering the perfect spot to stash your garden essentials.
14. Squeeze in a shed
Sheds come in all shapes and sizes, offering endless amounts of storage. But sometimes, even the smallest off-the-peg design can be too imposing for a tiny outdoor space. The solution is to adapt a bought or existing model to suit your needs and garden layout. Or, if you are feeling handy, create one from scratch.
Think about how you want to use your outdoor storage ideas – is it for housing bikes, long, thin garden tools or bulky toys – as this will help you decide on the dimensions and best location. Reduce the structure by cutting down the panels and securing any loose boards with timber battens. Upgrade features such as doors and windows with reclaimed materials and paint to blend in with surrounding walls and planting, You'll find the best exterior wood paint for your project in our buying guide.
15. Snap up a seat with storage
If you're on the hunt for a super stylish new bench, then why not go for one with storage built in? Choose from designs with lift up seats or a series of drawers, ideal for keeping cushions, throws or smaller accessories neat and tidy, ready for the moment they are needed.
They're a great way to make the most of your outdoor living space ideas and keep everything clutter free.
16. Go simple with a pegboard
Whether you are super neat or you long to be, here's the secret for keeping sheds and garden rooms organized: the humble pegboard. Loved by shopfitters, DIY enthusiasts and crafty types alike, it's easy to keep everything in its place and spot what's been borrowed too.
Pick one up online – there are numerous specialist companies out there that also sell extras such as shelves, hanging pots and slot-in racks that are compatible with their systems. Alternatively, make one yourself using timber board, wood pegs, tape measure and a drill. They're an ideal addition to shed storage ideas.
17. Or, opt for a more elevated look
Of course, if a pegboard like the one above feels a little low-key for your backyard's style, then you can opt for a more elevated look. This monochrome design is simple yet definitely chic, and can be customized with shelves to mix up the look whenever you fancy.
Use it to pep up blank garden wall ideas – it'll add instant character whilst being practical, too.
18. Assemble your own outdoor kitchen
Love the idea of learning how to design an outdoor kitchen? Then get organized with some practical units and create the perfect spot for an outdoor cook-up.
There are plenty of budget-friendly outdoor kitchen ideas too, so you don't have to bust the bank balance either. Look for affordable modular units that sit neatly together to make a spacious work surface with oodles of shelving space below. Handy built-in rails provide a place for cloths as well as a spot for hanging utensils and pans.
19. Introduce some display shelves
Gather up pots, lanterns and any other outdoor favorites that are cluttering up your patio and pop them, pride of place, on a stunning set of shelves. Not only will it free up floor space, but open shelves can also act as handy garden divider ideas.
Group together similar items for a cohesive look – one shelf could be lined with small potted plants while a group of larger lanterns sit proudly on another. Try not to cram the unit full though, the aim is for a smart but calm, interesting display.
20. Make a feature of your log storage
A sprawling log pile can take up a huge amount of space and look cluttered too, so use garden storage ideas to turn it into a striking feature. There’s a huge range of different shaped metal stores out there that not only look amazing but keep the timber secure, ventilated and dry.
Choose from interlocking pyramids, rectangular walls and eye-catching circles like the one pictured above.
21. Introduce a boot and shoe store
Fed up with trailing dirty boots through the house or falling over the pile left by the door? Then adding some suitable shoe storage to your front garden ideas is the answer.
There are plenty of roomy weatherproof chests available that would do a brilliant job, but we really love this stylish design – simple and effective.
22. Add a living roof to your bin store
They are definitely less-than-lovely to look at, but wheelie bins are the perfect excuse to get creative with your front garden. Bin stores are great for hiding these plastic hulks from view, but they are practical too, as they also stop bins being raided by foxes and blown over in the wind.
A simple lick of paint is a good way to blend them in with the surroundings, but go one step further and crown them with a living roof. Plant it with alpines and low-growing succulents for year-round color. Our guide on how to grow succulents has plenty of top tips for growing them indoors and out.
How do you start organizing a garden?
To start organizing your garden, editing what you do and don't need is the key to getting on top of the problem. So, embrace your inner Marie Kondo and recycle or give away anything you no longer need. Then, sit back and list everything you need to store. Group your list into small and larger items as this will help you work out exactly the scale and type of storage solution you need.
Next, look at your outside area and landscaping ideas and highlight potential storage spots. It could be as simple as finding room for a shed, a slimline wall unit or watertight chest, but chances are, especially if space is tight, you will need to be a little more imaginative. Under steps, a narrow side alley or the void below a deck are all prime areas waiting to be transformed.
When it comes to filling up your garden storage ideas – don't be tempted to just throw it all in and shut the door quickly. Keep things organized, labelled, and in separate, smaller containers if needs be. Not only will this look much more pleasing, but it will also save you from throwing everything back out again when you go looking for something down the line.
Jill puts her love of plants and all things garden related down to the hours spent pottering around with her Nan and Grandad when she was little. There was never a moment at their house when they weren’t weeding, pruning, planting or harvesting cucumbers or dahlias from the lean-to greenhouse. Her Grandad’s shed was a place of wonder, and she can still recall the musky smell. Today she is lucky enough to have a garden of her own in Surrey and spends much of her time writing about them too. A typical long-thin town garden it features favourite flowers along with the odd veg plant and the usual assortment of toys, bikes and… oh a couple of guinea pigs too.
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