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DIY trash enclosure text

The warmer weather has us turning our attention outside. While our home’s interior is mostly done (I use that term loosely…nothing is ever done here), there are a few things we’d like to tackle outdoors. We were hoping to install a few shade sails in the backyard but that project has been put on hold while we wait for the verdict on Everett’s medical bills. Until then, we’re trying to knock out a few smaller scale (i.e., less expensive) projects while the weather is cooperating.

We had been brainstorming a trash / recycling bin enclosure for over a year, and we finally tackled it a few weeks ago. Our trash can and recycling bin sit on the driveway against the house just past the overhead garage door. We wanted something simple in appearance with horizontal slats, without gates or lids. After pricing out materials for a DIY version made with composite decking, we decided to go with plain ol’ cedar for less than half the cost. Here’s what we did:

DIY trash enclosure steps

1 – Up until a few weeks ago, the bins sat with their backs against the house. We turned them 90º with the backs facing the backyard. This allowed us to design a simple L-shaped enclosure off the side of the house. We measured the bins in their new orientation, added a few inches for maneuverability, then installed two fence post brackets in the driveway with concrete anchors. We added a treated 2 x 4 to the brick facade with Tapcons. This provided a surface to tie the slats in to.

2 – We wanted the enclosure high enough to hide the bins but lower than a nearby windowsill. (No one wants a trash enclosure staring at them through the window.) We measured accordingly then screwed a treated 4 x 4 fence post into the first bracket. Scrap pieces of lumber stood in as temporary supports to keep the fence post from jostling around. For a narrower slat, we ripped 1 x 6 kiln-dried cedar boards (from Menards) in half. Working from top to bottom (to ensure full top and bottom slats) and using stainless steel deck screws, we installed the first cedar slat and checked it with a level. Subsequent boards were added with ~1/4″ spacing. Each board was cut to size and mitered on the outside corner. To avoid rot, we kept the slats a few inches off the driveway.

3 – Once the shorter side was finished, we moved on to the longer side using the same materials and methods.

4 – The slats are up!

DIY trash enclosure 2

We added a treated 2 x 4 vertically to shore things up on the longer side but didn’t take it all the way to the driveway.

DIY trash enclosure 4

Finally, we capped the enclosure with two (non-ripped) 1 x 6 kiln-dried cedar boards for a finished look. We decided to hold off on sealing the cedar for now and see how it holds up since it’s mostly under an eave and is usually blocked from rain / snow by our parked minivan. (Yep, we held out as long as we could but the minivan was inevitable. I love it and I hate that I love it.)

DIY trash enclosure b+a 1

Bins be gone! The fragrant cedar is a welcome distraction when taking out the trash.

DIY trash enclosure b+a 2

This little area looks so much tidier from the road now. (Btw, I lost the DirectTV battle. HOWEVER, we’re canceling our service once our contract is up later this year so that dish is going buh-bye. Netflix ftw.)

DIY trash enclosure 3

The bins are easily pulled out on collection day.

DIY trash enclosure 1

It’s pretty basic and no-frills but we’re really happy with how the enclosure turned out. I’m a sucker for the narrow slats and natural wood. And tidy is always a winner in my book. We’re going to use a similar design to create a hanging screen / planter to conceal the electric meter on the back of the house. I’m on a mission to HIDE ALL THE UGLY THINGS WITH CEDAR SLATS!

How do you conceal your waste bins? Electric meter? What outdoor projects are you working on this year? Last year I painted the peeling garage door as a stopgap measure and we had the elderly asphalt driveway replaced with concrete. Even if we aren’t able to do the shade sails this year, we’d still like to put in a few raised beds, install a clothesline and start a compost.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

34 Comments

26.May.2015

Looks great! I have been pondering our trash cans and this looks like the perfect solution. Btw, Costco has very inexpensive shade sails right now.

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replied on May 26th, 2015

Ooooh, thanks for the tip! I will have to check ’em out.

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replied on May 26th, 2015

Ha, ha – I was going to leave the same comment about Costco. I was so surprised by how nice their sails are this year.

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Sherri
replied on May 26th, 2015

I was also going to say to check out Overstock. I bought a very-last-minute shade sail as an emergency (our gazebo cover was destroyed literally 2 days before a very hot and sunny party for 2 of my kids one year) off of Amazon and was shocked when I found it on Overstock months later for literally a FRACTION of the price. Same exact sail. And still using it – no complaints. My biggest complaint is how we’re utilizing it, i.e. how it’s hung, but that has no bearing on the quality of the sail.

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replied on May 28th, 2015

I second the Costco sun sails.. very inexpensive and I’m always impressed with the quality of Costco items.

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26.May.2015

Nice garbage nook! Looks a lot like my compost bin!: )
Is it weird that I feel like your cans are happy to have a home?

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26.May.2015

I’ve been waiting for this for a long time!! So excited for you! Looks great…just one thing…how do you get to the front bin? Is the enclosure low enough to just reach over? And I’m assuming since they both drag out towards the back that your pickup is both on the same day?

Keep it up! x

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replied on May 26th, 2015

Yes and yes! Both bins are easily reached over the new enclosure. Even our 10-year-old can reach them. (Good for the shoulders;) ) Our trash and recycling collection days fall on the same day of the week.

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26.May.2015

This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do with our recycling/trash cans…thanks SO much for sharing the details! I’ll pass this onto my husband now :)

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26.May.2015

nice! Super interested to see what you do for the meter. We have the same issue.

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27.May.2015

I’m interested in seeing what you come up with for a compost bin. My husband and I are trying to figure that one out for our yard and for some reason it’s the hardest thing!

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27.May.2015

That looks great! A great way to hide the bins. I’m curious about you not having a clothesline at your house. I live in Australia and a clothesline is a staple in every back yard. Are they not in American homes? You can’t beat freshly washed clothes that have dried in fresh air!!

I hope Everett is healing well!!!!

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replied on May 27th, 2015

I think it probably depends on location and personal preference. I know there are some HOAs that don’t even allow them here in the U.S. Such a bummer. I’ve been using a dinky portable drying rack and taking it outside for the past 3 years but it finally bit the dust. (It was from my college years!) Looking forward to being able to line dry more items at once. We had clotheslines at all the homes I lived in growing up. My mom would line dry everything. I loved walking through the sheets on the line then lying down to sleep in them at night. So fresh!

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27.May.2015

We sometimes get very high winds around here that knock the garbage bins down. This enclosure could come in handy.

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27.May.2015

This looks great! I wish I could do something like this at my house, but it just wouldn’t work! I normally keep the trash and recycling bins inside the garage since it’s just me in my house….but then one day I threw something out that stunk up the garage and left my car reeking of some godawful stench for almost a week. So now they live outside, and the recycling container doubles as my water spout bucket because the gutter is pulling away from the house….that’s a whole other story I won’t bore you with!

Oh, and you can get a great RCA over-the-air receiver at Best Buy for $17, so you can little watch network shows when fall TV comes back ;-)

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replied on May 27th, 2015

Errrr…that last part should say “so you can STILL watch network shows”. Oops.

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27.May.2015

This is such a great idea! I love to see the clever things that you guys come up with :)

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27.May.2015

That does look sharp. Gonna have to consider that at my house. ANYTHING to clean up this rental we have that’s a bit of an old dump (outside).

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I really like the simple and natural design of this. Great idea and not too frilly with gates and hinges and all. We recently painted our bulkhead out back after staring at it in all it’s ugly glory for nearly 4 years and now this simple design gives me an idea to hide our hideous backflow preventer for the irrigation system!

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27.May.2015

How have I never heard of shade sails (or maybe I just didn’t know what they were called)? My husband and I have been planning out our patio, and these look like a great option. Thanks for the idea! Hopefully, you can find some that work with your budget so you can start enjoying them sooner than later :)

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27.May.2015

I would like to do something similar to hide our air conditioning unit. Would you be able to give me an idea of the cost of this project to see if it would be something we could do?

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replied on May 27th, 2015

This ran us ~$200. We came across this AMAZING DIY A/C unit cover when we were looking for inspiration…

http://house-pet.blogspot.com/2010/09/hide-that-ugly-ac-unit.html?m=1

So, so good.

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27.May.2015

We became cable cutters, too. You should look into SlingTV. It’s $20/month to stream live television channels (ESPN, Hgtv, etc etc). We love it.

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replied on May 27th, 2015

Awesome, can’t wait to check it out!

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27.May.2015

Very nice! I wanted to pop in and recommend Sling TV, especially if your hubby or boys like watching sports. It’s very affordable ($20/month) and just needs an internet connection and a small device to transfer it to your TV such as an Amazon Fire stick. We really like it. Oh, and it has HGTV toooooo…. !! :)

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replied on May 27th, 2015

This sounds great! Steve enjoys watching football so I will pass this along to him. Thanks so much for mentioning it.

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27.May.2015

I was actually just thinking about making a hidden area like this for our bins (3 since our city does yard/compost too!). But then I was thinking it would be a pain to try to put stuff in the bins when they’re behind the wall. We regularly put stinky stuff (e.g. meat packaging) out the day it’s created so I need to think of a solution that allows easy access even when everything is hidden. And not cut into the drive away too much! Ah, so much to consider. Yours look nice though.

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27.May.2015

We made a front opening gated trash can compartment for three cans, yard waste, recycle and the trash. And for the electric meter we built an enclosed box with a cabinet door and hinge on it. leaving the meter exposed. And painted the gas lines and meter to match the house. Other than clean up, tree trimming and extending the back fence, which is all done we plan to play this summer while we can. Boating is a favorite weekend getaway. Looks like one of your pictures it shows the new compartment is too short, is it? Nice to see you around again, it seems few and far between the last couple of months.

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27.May.2015

just popping in to say I feel you on the minivan! We just bought one last week (which was very well timed, since we lost our SUV to arson the day after we registered the van!), and I also love it and hate that I love it.

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replied on May 27th, 2015

We track our fuel usage/efficiency using a website called Fuelly, and just before I read this post, I added the van. I named it “We’ve given up”.

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replied on May 27th, 2015

I have always named my vehicles. The new *used* minivan is the Black Widow. (It’s a black Sienna.) Sienna Miller was a close second ;)

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28.May.2015

Love this Dana! Such a great solution. Our bins are just obnoxious. We actually have 1 garbage bin, 2 recycle bins and 3 yard waste bins. Its insane! Right now they all live along the fence at the back of our long driveway but they will eventually live in the back yard on the side of the detached garage. We need to repair a spance of fence first though. We went cable free when we sold our last house. We love it. We have Hulu Plus and Netflix which I really lile. Hulu gets us all the latest episodes of our fav shows, and Netflix is great for movies.

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29.May.2015

[…] love this trash bin enclosure. Need to do this […]

30.May.2015

That looks really nice. Sounds like there are lots of people struggling with how to best handle their trash. Here we have to put all trash and recycling on the curb in plastic bags (crazy wasteful, imo). I keep trying different solutions for how to store it until the next trash pick up. So far it’s just a fail.

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