We all have things. Sometimes our things are seasonal and need a place to hide during the winter months. Sometimes we have more everyday items than our home’s square footage can handle. Maybe we hold onto items that could be of use in future years. Whatever the reason, backyards often function as the catch-all for a family’s abundance of stuff. However, your lawn doesn’t have to become nature’s junk drawer. Following are some backyard storage options to keep your property looking organized.
Outdoor Storage Box
The household name here is Rubbermaid, but there are many brands, styles, and sizes of outdoor storage boxes on the market. Price typically falls within the $100 to $300 range depending on cubic footage. Outdoor storage boxes are like a large footlocker that opens from the top. Most include a padlock hasp for optional security. Colors vary so you can coordinate the storage unit with your house or patio furniture. Look for a model that’s waterproof and sturdy. Storage units of this style may also be called “deck boxes” depending on the manufacturer. Some assembly will be required.
If you need more than twenty cubic feet of storage space, consider upgrading to an outdoor cabinet. Cabinets are comparable in style and material to outdoor storage boxes, but are larger and open from the front. These upright units range in price from $150 to $400. Some models incorporate style elements and add visual appeal to a deck or backyard retreat, like this model from Suncast.
Plastic mini-sheds are a great option for do-it-yourselfers who are not opposed to some assembly. Once assembled, these units are large but movable. They are not permanently affixed and could be taken if you ever move to a new house (but disclose your intent to remove the outbuilding before you accept an offer on your house). Mini-sheds run the gamut of price and style, ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Traditional Storage Shed
The backyard shed is a symbol of Americana. It’s a functional investment that when properly maintained will add value to your home. Traditional sheds can be stick-build or modular and should be permanently affixed to a foundation. Due to the level of craftsmanship required, you will probably need to hire out at least part of your shed build. Some companies sell the shed and all labor as a package deal. You could also contract out the various phases of the project, including design, foundation, framing, siding, and shingles. Sheds can be a simple four-walled structure with a door or they can be a customized showpiece with as much square footage as you want. Many sheds have windows that open and “attics” for additional storage.
Review your neighborhood’s covenants and restrictions before starting a shed build. Some associations limit square footage, placement, and design choices on outbuildings. You should also contact your county’s Building Department before breaking ground. Larger sheds may require a permit and/or survey for compliance. Total cost for your shed from conception to turn-key can vary widely. Start with a budget and build according to your predetermined max price – Otherwise you could end up with a hefty bill at the end! According to Fixr.com, the average cost to build a shed in 2021 is $5,653.
If you need to store vehicles or other large items, a second garage might be in your future. Provided you have the space, a garage is a great way to add storage space and can be lofted for additional living space. Garages can be attached to or detached from the main structure. Adding a garage is akin to contracting a room addition. Have the project quoted in advance. Simply relying on piecework and consenting to a time-and-materials method of building could lead the project over budget if the cost of materials continues to rise. Start by asking friends and family for contractor referrals. The best in the business usually don’t need to advertise and instead rely on word-of-mouth marketing.
Also, contact your county’s building department to obtain proper permits and to begin survey and utility location work if necessary.
Offsite Storage Facility
Paying a monthly fee to store your things offsite is not ideal, but it is a good short-term option. If construction delays have your lawn tools or vehicles exposed to the elements, consider renting a storage facility until you have a more permanent solution.
Deeded Storage Condo
Deeded storage condos are growing in popularity (and availability as builders work to meet demand). A storage condo is similar to the rented storage spaces mentioned above, but the difference is in the ownership. Storage condos are deeded real estate. Once you pay for it, you own it. Condos are most often used to store recreational vehicles, boats, and other toys with wheels. This type of storage arrangement is climate-controlled and maintained by an association funded by the condo owners.
Before moving your things from one place to another, get rid of what you can. Your Realtor is a great resource and can refer you to an estate sale specialist or junk removal firm. Other options are a garage sale or donation of items to a local charity. If you have furniture or other large items to donate, most charities offer pick-up service.