Outdoor Cabinets: What to Know

Learn all about your options for outdoor cabinets.
By: Sean McEvoy
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Your outdoor living space needs to be functional as well as beautiful, which is why adding outdoor cabinets can be a great way to improve the look and efficiency of your patio or outdoor living area.

Outdoor Storage Ideas

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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.

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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

Storage space is generally at a premium in outdoor living spaces, so a cabinet system can make a lot of sense, especially if you plan to do a fair bit of entertaining and cooking on your patio or deck.

Your first task in planning an outdoor cabinet system is to determine the scale. Work within the size of your outdoor space, and remember that guests will need to be able to move through the space comfortably, accounting for tables, chairs and other furniture as well.

Once you've plotted out the size of your cabinet fixtures, you'll need to decide on style. There are endless options, but a good place to start is to determine if you want your cabinets to reflect the overall style of your home and the rest of your outdoor living space, or if you want them to be a unique design that adds visual flair. Either way, a range of finishes and styles are available at many home improvement stores, from wood to plastic to stone, and you should have no trouble finding a style that suits your design aesthetic.

Lastly, you'll just need to decide who's installing your cabinets. You can do it yourself and save money (but you'll need some expertise) or you can hire a contractor to install your outdoor cabinets—this will cost more but you'll likely end up with a sturdier and longer-lasting end product.

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