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 Storage

Outdoor Bench With Storage

Stylish Storage

These multipurpose benches include pull out storage space to keep extra pillows and blankets safe when storms roll in. Extra storage makes it easy to keep extra plates and glasses at hand when neighbors stop by for a visit.

Photo by: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

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 bench or drawer 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

Wall Planter 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: Mick Telkamp

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

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 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

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

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

Red Shed Playhouse with Sandbox and Bench

Build a Multipurpose and Budget Friendly Playhouse

A playhouse is a great way to have a year round play space for the kids.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

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.

Storage Benches

Storage Bench in Vignette

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

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.

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