20 Smart Outdoor Storage Solutions to Keep Tools + Toys Contained

Don't let kids' toys muck up your curb appeal.

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After living in New York City for many years, the concept of "outdoor storage" was entirely new to me. But now that my husband and I own a home in Los Angeles, I've become quite familiar with the phrase after realizing that my petite, 750-square-foot home wasn't going to fit everything that I wanted. Plus, we have the added challenge of figuring out what to do with all of our outdoor pillows when it rains. Oh, and wrangling up all of our garbage and recycling bins. Translation: We quickly realized that we needed to figure out a chic storage plan for our outdoor supplies.

Have you hit the same road block? Look no further. Here are 10 of the best (and creative!) outdoor storage solutions for decor, garden tools and more.

Recycling Center



Add shelter and organization for recycling and waste bins with a recycling center made from basic building materials.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

If you want to take your environmental consciousness to the next level, set up an organized outdoor recycling center, like designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. This setup will help you easily separate your various recyclables, yard waste and compostables. It's also a great way to teach kids about recycling, since everything is clearly marked, color-coordinated and separated.

Pillow Chest

Outdoor Bench Storage and Wooden Chaise

Outdoor Bench Storage and Wooden Chaise

An outdoor bench seat opens to reveal a weatherproof box for storing loose cushions, throws, and covers from garden furniture, like the adjacent chaise lounge. These boxes, which come ready-made in plastic or wood, can do double duty as a toy box or compact tool storage for courtyard gardens.

Photo by: DK - Garden Design ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

If you’re lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, outdoor pillows can practically stay out year-round. However, no matter what sort of climate you live in, you need a solution for rainy days. Having an outdoor chest like this will make sure you have a spot to toss pillows during inclement weather.

Firewood Cubby

Backyard Deck With Firewood Storage

Backyard Deck With Firewood Storage

Check out a backyard deck featuring a clever firewood storage area.

Photo by: Chris Amaral © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Chris Amaral, 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If you have some extra space around your deck, create a spot for wood storage, like Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri did here. This simple "wood cubby" would be easy to add if you have a similar outdoor deck or patio. You can store extra wood for an outdoor firepit, as well as any of your indoor fireplaces.

Plant Shelves

Step 6: Dress the Crates

Step 6: Dress the Crates

Once all crates are securely attached, dress each crate with empty pots and garden tools for open storage use, or pots filled with flowers or plants for a beautiful display.

Photo by: Images courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn

Images courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn

If you’re short on space in your yard, create colorful shelves to store flowering plants, like designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. These inexpensive garden crates can be easily attached to most fences, and they can add a stunning splash of color to your outdoor space.

Garden Tool Rack

Recycled Pallet Garden Tool Rack

Recycled Pallet Garden Tool Rack

This tool rack uses recycled materials to hold eight long-handled tools and at least ten hand tools with plenty of space left over for small pots, potting soil, gloves and other gardening miscellany.   

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Transform an old shipping pallet into a spot to store your most-used tools. Recycled bow rake heads and cheap hardware are the perfect solution for long-handled yard tools, garden essentials, gloves, potting soil and more.

Salvaged Cabinet

If you really want to get creative, create an outdoor storage cabinet with salvaged items, like the team at Art Harrison Interiors did here. Check your local salvage yard for old doors, moldings or pieces of wood. Then, think about how you might be able to combine them together to create a unique outdoor cabinet for storing garden tools and other home essentials.

Outdoor Party Station

Garden Tools Stored in Wooden Obelisk

Garden Tools Stored in Wooden Obelisk

When closed, this ornate obelisk looks like a wooden topiary. But this monumental garden structure works double duty. The bottom conceals the air conditioning unit, while the top serves as storage for garden tools.

Photo by: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

If you like to entertain outside, you might need a spot to store your party props, like plates, cups, napkins and bartending tools. Consider outfitting a simple crate with an additional shelf to provide more room to store anything you might need to make yourself the "hostess with the mostess."

Backyard Playhouse

Patio Seating Area with Crate Side Table

Patio Seating Area with Crate Side Table

Cute, cheap updates to a small patio include adding an outdoor pillow in a complementary color to a plastic Adirondack-style chair and an outdoor rug. If you don't have room for a coffee table, a smaller end table, can serve as your bar when enjoying cocktails with friends. Amy Latta of One Artsy Mama made this table using crates.

Photo by: Crates & Pallet

Crates & Pallet

You would be hard-pressed to find a kid who wouldn’t love their own outdoor playhouse. The best part? There's plenty of room to store your little one's outdoor toys once the top goes down.



Not only is this playhouse triangular instead of a boring box shape, but it’s got two stories. The epic roof hatch opens to a playhouse equipped with a chalkboard wall, storage underneath the floor, and a loft with a fixed ladder.

Storage Benches

One of the smartest ways to maximize your outdoor storage space is by using clever benches. This seating looks normal; however, you can lift up the cushions to reveal hidden storage inside. Designer Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery added this smart seating solution so you can store outdoor pillows, grilling supplies, kids' toys and lawn tools.

Vignette with Storage Bench

Vignette with Storage Bench

In this vignette, a long, padded bench with multi-colored pillows add seating and color, but underneath the piece, designers have added space for storing outdoor equipment.


Photo by: Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery

Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery

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Hide and Go Teak

This teak outdoor storage shed has enough room for bicycles and lawn and garden tools. It blends in nicely with wooden fences. Available through Overstock.com, this shed has double doors that make it easy to conceal large items.

Photo By: Overstock.com

The Ultimate Garden Shed

This stunningly crafted tool shed serves as a pump house for a water feature that trickles into a Koi-filled moat that surrounds the garden patio. Designed by Art Harrison Interiors in Franklin, Mich., this ultimate garden shed complements the architectural details of the home.

Photo By: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

Smart Use of Space

Shelving and hooks provide plenty of storage space for gardening supplies.

  1. white photos

Photo By: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

Stylish Storage

Thanks to its elegant design, the garden shed doubles as a gorgeous architectural feature for this garden.

Photo By: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

Ornate Obelisk

When closed, this ornate obelisk looks like a wooden topiary. But this monumental garden structure works double duty. The bottom conceals the air conditioning unit, while the top serves as storage for garden tools.

Photo By: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

Hidden Storage

You'd never know this attractive obelisk was hiding storage space. The structure was designed to complement the architecture of the home.

Photo By: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

Front Porch Put Away

One Washington, D.C., area family enjoys morning coffee on the front porch. What they dislike is clutter. They keep hidden the chaos that goes with raising kids with cleverly concealed storage.

Photo By: Case Design/Remodeling Inc.

Porch Storage

What looks like architectural details on the porch conceals bats, balls and other baseball gear.

Photo By: Case Design/Remodeling Inc.

Coiled in Copper

Reel in an unruly garden hose in this Patina Copper Hose Pot from Frontgate.com. The hand-applied patina finish gives this copper pot an aged look. Its weather worn appearance blends with any outdoor decor.

Photo By: Frontgate

Treasured Trash

What looks like an ornamental stone accessory is actually a waste bin. Made from a blend of crushed stone, resin, styrene and fiberglass, this lightweight, weather resistant trash holder from Horchow can be placed anywhere.

Photo By: Horchow

Hang Time

Install a rod inside wall-mounted boxes and hang simple hooks to store outdoor cleaning tools such as brooms and dustpans. Keep a supply of hooks on hand and add as needed.

Photo By: Lowe’s

Firewood Storage

Keep extra firewood dry and clutter free in this cute English Garden Firewood Storage Shed from Overstock.com. Made from pressure-treated timber, the unit features a top shelf for sticks or wood chips.

Photo By: Overstock.com

Moby Deck

Whale hooks from Frontgate.com provide perfect poolside storage for bathing suits, towels and water toys. Larger hooks mounted vertically can hold pool maintenance tools.

Photo By: Frontgate.com

Custom-Built Recycling Station

A DIY project made from basic building materials, this outdoor recycling center can be customized for the environmentally savvy. Measure recycling bins before creating cubbies.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Tucked Away Trash

Made from weather-resistant cypress wood, this Horizontal Refuse Storage Shed from Overstock.com opens from the front and top. Trash cans and recycling bins are as easily made invisible as they are accessible.

Photo By: Overstock.com

Propane in Its Place

There’s nothing worse than running out of gas when you’re grilling. Store an unsightly additional propane tank in this stone-like steel cover with hinged lid.

Photo By: Lowe’s

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