I’ve been slowly working on my yard and I thought the next thing I could tackle is hiding the trash can and recycling bin from view on the side of the house. They aren’t great for curb appeal and I thought it’d be an easy project. I want this DIY garbage can enclosure to blend in with the fence and look like an addition that matches the vibe of our exterior space.
Note, using these same steps would be great for hiding pool equipment or an air conditioner!
how to make a DIY Garbage Can Enclosure
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
- Fence Pickets (we bought 19)
- Gate Hardware
- Concrete (we used 2 bags)
- Exterior White Stain
- 2″x4″x8′ Pressure Treated Lumbar (we needed 6)
- Cedar Post Cap
- Screws- 1-1/4″ for the pickets, 2-1/2″ for the frame, and 4″ for the corner of the frame,
step 1- choose the size of the DIY garbage can enclosure
Here’s the before of the trash cans. Last year when we had the concrete for our driveway poured, I asked for a section for the garbage cans. I’m so glad I did! Besides that, the area doesn’t look very cute.
We don’t have a lot of space in that corner, so we’re making the enclosure as small as possible to hold our garbage can and recycling bin. Our enclosure is 27″ deep by 76″ wide (so about 2′ deep by 6′ wide). Note, because we have a petite garbage can, you might have to go bigger than we went.
step 2- set the post
Next, dig the holes for the posts. Ours are 18″ deep. Our holes were tricky to dig (we have lots of rocks in the soil). My husband use a shovel for the top soil and a post hole digger to remove the dirt that is deeper and more rocky.
After the hole was dug, we put in the post and add some gravel at the bottom of the hole. At the top of the post we have a post level attached to the post so we can make sure it is as level as possible.
Next, we filled the hole with dry concrete and water. Make sure to follow the instructions on the concrete to get the right amounts of each.
Let the concrete cure for at least an hour and then remove the stakes. We like to let the concrete sit for 24 hours to fully dry before continuing the next step.
Note, on the right side of our trash can gate is our garbage. So there’s not any dirt there to set a post. Instead, we’re attaching that post to the garage with screws.
step 3- install the rails
And now it’s time to install the rails. These are the horizontal pieces of wood that run between the posts. We went with two- one at the bottom and a second at the top. That will be all the support that is needed for our 5′ tall DIY garbage can enclosure.
To attach the rails, first cut them to the correct length. Ours are 34″ long. Next, make sure they are level and use screws to connect them to the 4×4 posts.
Since we have a fence along the back of our garbage can enclosure to work with, we removed a fence picket so we can access it to attach the rail onto.
step 4- build the gate
Next, we’re going to build the gate that’ll swing open so we can access the garbage cans. To make this, we cut the 2×4 lumbar to 66 1/2″ long for the top and bottom pieces and 48″ long for the size pieces. Attach those together with screws.
On the post that is connected to the garage, we cut a piece of fence picket to be connected to the front of it. Once that is on, attach the gate hinges onto of the fence picket.
To support the gate more, put another piece of 2×4 lumber diagonal across the gate. Trace the corners with a pencil so it can be trimmed to fit perfectly inside the gate frame. Once the lumber is cut down with a miter saw, attach it to the gate frame with screws.
Put a fence picket on the side of the gate where the hinges will go and attach it with screws. Now the gate can be attached to the frame with the hinges.
Now that the hinges are on, continue across the gate and install the rest of the fence pickets.
Make sure to use a level so the top of the pickets stay straight.
For the side of the gate a full picket wouldn’t work. For that, use a table saw to make the pickets skinnier.
step 5- finishing up
To finish up, we next cut a square out of the original fence picket so it can be installed back on the fence around the new rail for the DIY garbage can enclosure.
Install the fence pickets on the side of the enclosure as well.
To prep for stain, sweep off the wood to remove any debris from screwing on the pickets. Put painter’s tape over the hinges, and lay down drop cloths.
Then, use stain to protect the wood. We like a white stain so that it blends with the rest of our fence. The staining will probably take 2-3 coats to get a good finish.
Next, cut off the top of the post off. We’re cutting ours off straight because we’ll be using a post cap. If you don’t want to use a post cap, cut it off on an angle so snow or precipitation doesn’t sit on the top.
Attach a post cap with finish nails.
Stain the post cap to match the rest of the fence.
Last, attach the rest of the gate hardware- the handle and the lock. Remove the painter’s tape from the hinges to finish everything off.
And here is the finished DIY garbage can enclosure!
It looks nice, but it also really blends into the fence behind it.
I think anything looks better than garbage cans, so seeing a pretty little fence is a huge improvement to me!
Let’s breakdown how much the DIY garbage can enclosure cost to build. The 19 Fence Pickets cost $76, the Gate Hardware cost $33 and the 2 bags of Concrete cost $14. For this project we also bought Exterior White Stain for $52, 6 pieces 2″x4″x8′ Pressure Treated Lumbar for $40 and a Cedar Post Cap for $10.
The total for this project is $240 with taxes.
Which isn’t cheap, but I think it’s a good investment to the curb appeal and definitely gives a high end and well attended look to a property.
In conclusion, I’m really happy with how the DIY garbage can enclosure turned out! It was pretty simple to make and feels like something you’d see on an expensive house. Good design is really in the details and this is one more step to having a really special yard. What do you think of the project? Was it worth $240?
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