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How to Hide Outside Garbage Cans

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black and green garbage cans next to gray fence

Outdoor garbage cans are a pesky sight, especially if you work hard to keep a tidy aesthetic for your house and yard. Fortunately, there are ways to hide your garbage cans and maintain a neat and visually appealing property.

While some methods require as little as putting up a trellis, other, more elaborate options incorporate fencing, plants/vines, and decorations. Regardless of how far you want to go, there are ways to hide your outside garbage cans. Read on to learn how to create visually appealing disguises for those eyesores of outdoor garbage cans.

DIY Ways to Hide Outside Garbage Cans

There are many ways to hide outside garbage cans, with some being complex and others being simple. There are also options for doing it yourself and those that you can simply purchase.

Below are some of the best DIY ways to hide your outdoor garbage cans. DIY methods are cheaper, but they may require a bit more work. If you do not have time to do it yourself, or if you would simply rather skip the hassle, there will be methods below about items you can purchase to hide your cans.

Hiding Cans with Fencing

Building a small fence around your garbage cans is one of the easiest DIY methods of hiding them. This fence can be made from store-bought wood, repurposed pallets, lattice, or even heavy-duty plastic sheeting. A fence for your trash bins can be incorporated into an existing fence or can stand alone.

A lot of times, residents will build garbage can fences that attach to their houses. By using an existing wall as one side of the fence, the cost to build a fence can be significantly reduced. If you choose this method, you will only need to build two sides of fencing, one to cover the front and one to cover the side. Leave the backside open to remove bins.

If making a stand-alone fence for your trash cans, be sure to choose materials that match the aesthetic of your house/property. For example, if your house has white siding, you can repurpose white lattice as a fence that matches your house. If your house is a natural wood color, then choose wood for your fence that matches.

Hiding Cans with Foliage and Shrubbery

Another effective way of disguising or hiding cans is with plants and shrubbery. Strategically planting shrubs in a line or square in your yard will provide a natural disguise for your garbage cans. Plants that work best for this are evergreens that are low to the ground and thick. Some examples of these types of plants are:

  • Boxwood shrub
  • Arborvitae shrub
  • Euonymus shrub (spindle tree)
  • Holly bush

If you do not want to plant shrubs, whether you are renting your home or do not think plants could survive your soil, you can always arrange potted plants. Arranging potted plants in front of your garbage cans is advantageously temporary, as you can choose to move your plants and garbage cans whenever your yard needs a change.

Another option is to install artificial shrubbery around where you store your garbage cans. Artificial hedges can look quite realistic and do not have to be pruned, making them a convenient camouflage as well. If possible, you may want to attach this shrubbery to a fence to keep it secure and rigid.

DIY Sheds and Enclosures to Hide Garbage Cans

Sheds and enclosures are another way to fully conceal your garbage cans. You can either build a shed with wood or screw sheets of lattice together to create an enclosure. But, building an entire shed can be daunting, so instead, you can repurpose other furniture and structures for your needs. You can repurpose:

  • An outdoor shower
  • Plastic outdoor storage bins (tip them upright)
  • Privacy panels (typically for indoors, make sure they are weather-proof)
  • Wicker screens

These are all great options for hiding outside garbage cans, and sometimes, they provide more than just a convenient place to put your garbage cans.

Best Purchases for Hiding Outside Garbage Cans

Home improvement stores (especially online) have many different shed/enclosure options that are made specifically for or work well for hiding garbage cans. These kinds of sheds can be made from wood, vinyl, metal, or heavy-duty plastic. They either have doors or have a panel that opens for bin removal.

These kinds of sheds are a good option because they come with a few key advantages, which include:

  • They stand alone. They do not need the support or walls of a house to function well. 
  • They keep your garbage secure and protected from nighttime raiders like raccoons and bears. 
  • They are extremely sturdy. If you live in a place with high winds, they will keep your trash cans from blowing over.

Some store-bought sheds also come with “rooftop terraces,” where plants can be grown atop of them. This provides for extra camouflage and can also add a decorative touch to your yard, patio, or property. Also, lattice sheds can support the growth of vine plants, such as wisteria or ivy, making them a good decorative option as well.

Other Ways to Hide Your Trash Cans

If you have little to no space to build structures or plant shrubs, a good option to hide your garbage cans is to nestle them beside your house, next to other unsightly items like air conditioning units or hoses. This way, the garbage cans will at least cover these other eyesores.

Another option is to store your garbage cans in your garage. If you spray them out regularly and seal each trash bag tightly, you will not have to worry too much about them stinking. If you have room in your garage for them, you could also store them in an indoor shed.

How to Keep Your Trash Cans From Stinking

No matter how well you keep your garbage cans out of sight, you still need to worry about the disgusting smell of garbage wafting out of your cans. If this is an issue, here are some tips for keeping your garbage cans from stinking.

  • Spray your garbage cans out with a hose regularly. Liquids will often leak out of garbage bags and coat the inside of your cans, causing them to have a smell even when the garbage has been taken out.
  • Instead of throwing away food scraps, compost them. The rotting food is what causes your cans to smell. Eliminating organic matter will help.
  • House your cans in a shed that does not allow smells to permeate through.
  • Take your trash out on time every week, and do not allow it to pile up.

How to Keep Your Trash Cans From Blowing Over

No one wants their garbage cans blowing over and spilling their contents all over the street or yard. If you live in a particularly windy area, then a garbage can house or shed may be a good investment. If your shed is lightweight and you fear that even that will blow over, you can secure it with stakes in the ground.

Another option is to use bungee cords or rope to attach your cans to an existing fence or house wall. All you have to do is install metal D-rings to your fence, wall, or secure structure, and then attach your cans with a bungee cord.

If you do not have any room for a shed or have no place to secure your garbage cans, you can always secure their lids with bungee cords. That way, if they do happen to fall over, at least the contents will not spill out. If you’re interested in hiding other items in your backyard, be sure to check out our articles of hiding ac units as well as how you can hide outdoor cables.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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