Every home has necessary items that they absolutely need, but aren’t exactly great to look at. Trash cans, or the rubbish bin as our UK friends call them, are one of these items. While incredibly functional, garbage cans aren’t exactly the nicest things to look at. Even when they aren’t full, and don’t smell, the connotations of seeing a trash can in your space aren’t great. Eventually, you’ll probably find yourself asking how to hide garbage cans outside without creating a ton of work for yourself.
Thankfully, there’s no rule that says you are doomed to looking at your garbage cans while you’re relaxing in your backyard. It’s actually a lot easier to hide your trash than you might think! We rounded up five of our favorite ways to hide trash cans and camouflage outdoor garbage cans.
From strategic placement, to vines, trellises, or even a simple, DIY enclosure, you can start hiding your trash bins without breaking the bank.
Where to Place Trash Cans
Hiding garbage cans outside your home may be easier than you think. Before you go to the trouble of buying a new set up or building an enclosure for your trash cans, do a thorough assessment of your property.
If you’ve been storing your garbage cans in your front yard, or alongside the back of your house near an outdoor living space, look for an alternative! Many times we don’t think about how to best use our space to conceal items we don’t want to see. However, taking the visual impact out of your trash cans may be as easy as moving them outside of your line of sight.
Use The Forgotten Corner
Most of us have a corner in our outdoor space that is less visible than the rest of the yard, or hasn’t had as much work put into it as the rest of the space. Use this forgotten corner to your advantage, and use it to store your garbage bins. The farther away outdoor trash cans are from your patio or fire feature, the better. Even if not technically hidden, it can make a big difference in the feel of your yard.
Choose a Path Less Traveled
All of us have areas in our outdoor space that we just don’t use, and hardly ever walk through. If you find yourself completely avoiding one area outside of your house, consider using this to stow your garbage cans. When it comes to visual impact, remember the old phrase, “out of sight, out of mind”. Choosing the path least traveled to act as trash can storage is a good way to forget the things even exist—until trash day, that is.
Avoid The Front Yard
Nothing says “curb appeal” like a couple of giant, outdoor trash cans! Look, we understand the convenience. Trash collection happens at the end of your driveway. So, if your driveway points forward into the street, the easiest thing to do is keep your garbage cans out front and ready to be brought to the curb. But making trash bins a permanent fixture of your front yard isn’t exactly a great design decision.
Instead, bring outside garbage cans to the back of your home to hide them from passing eyes. Or, stow along the far side of your home. It may take a few extra steps to bring them down to the street on trash day, but removing them from view will give the front of your house an instant face lift.
Privacy Screens for Trash Bins
If you’ve read our article on how to hide an outdoor shed, then you know the effectiveness of privacy screens. A privacy screen is a large panel or set of panels set up strategically to block the view of an unsightly item—in this case, a trash bin. Privacy screens come in all sorts of finishes, materials, colors, and can be inlaid with a huge variety of designs.
To use privacy screens to conceal outside garbage cans, first determine where they should be placed. Even the nicest screens will look strange erected in the middle of your garden, or along the front of your house. Instead, work with an existing fence, or build alongside another structure such as a storage shed or air conditioning unit.
Using a structure that already exists on your property will make the screens look like a natural extension. Even better? You may be able to use the same set of screens to hide more than one ugly outdoor feature.
Here are a few good options:
Embrace this clean, classic look with white vinyl options. Not only is vinyl durable and low maintenance, but it’s much nicer to look at than the green plastic of your garbage cans.
Try the Dover White Vinyl Privacy Fence Panel Kit from Home Depot, starting at $116.00. Or pick up the Outdoor Essentials White Vinyl Flat Top Fence Panel (pictured below) from Lowes, starting at $193.00.
Go for a natural, rustic solution by choosing organic wood materials over vinyl. Wood is great because it can be stained to match existing sheds or fences, or even to complement the color of your house.
Hide your garbage bins with the Severe Weather Pressure Treated Pine Fence Panel from Lowes, starting at $85.00, or go the more decorative route with this red cedar option, seen below.
If you’ve got a modern backyard, or just aren’t a fan of the classic fence styles on the market, leaning into a more modern privacy screen design is now both easy, and affordable.
Pick up styles from brands like Modinex on Wayfair. Choose from striking panels in botanical patterns, seen below, or mix metal and composite wood with this hybrid option, starting at $53.99.
Create a DIY Enclosure
If you’re really on a budget, and you’ve got some basic carpentry skills and a little bit of time, you can skip the reconstructed options and build your trash bin its very own hiding space all by yourself.
DIY approaches to projects can be a fun and rewarding way to build your skills, save many, and create a more beautiful home for yourself and your family.
To create a DIY enclosure, simply purchase what you need, find a model you like, and get to work. Most small fence enclosures will need the same basic materials: wood, fence posts, tools, and some elbow grease. You may even be able to up-cycle items such as wooden pallets or fence boards from a previous project!
For guidance, follow along with tutorials, like the video posted here.
Camouflage Your Trash Can With Plants
Why not look to your garden for inspiration? If you’re more a fan of the organic look, or don’t like the idea of building a new space for your trash bin, try flexing your green thumb.
Whether you’re creating more privacy in your backyard, hiding a shed, or blocking your bins from view, plants are a reliably beautiful way to block and beautify almost anything.
If you’re interested in taking a greener approach to hiding your home’s garbage cans, there are a few different approaches that may work for you.
There are some instances where breaking ground to plant isn’t always realistic. Whether you’re renting, or don’t have the time to landscape, potted plants can be a great solution to this problem. Strategically position large container plantings around your trash bins to build a green wall.
Vining & Climbing Plants
Ever heard of a green screen? No, not the kind used in your favorite viral video. We’re talking about trellises! A step up from the classic privacy screen, trellises are walls that house vining and climbing plants. Used in the garden for plants such as peas and rose bushes, giant versions are sold that easily hide unsightly areas and other items from view.
Try the Expandable Ivy Leaf Privacy Fencing Screen from Home Depot, starting at $121.52
Plant Shrubs & Bush Greenery
If there’s ever been a reason to let your shrubs grow taller, this is it. Just as a garden hedge can be an effective way to create a private property line, a great boxwood or dogwood will add natural appeal, while hiding your bins.
Storage Sheds, Containers, and Garages
If you feel like you have enough plants, and don’t want to add any additional structures to your outdoor living area, we understand. Yards can get cluttered enough as it is. Maybe you don’t feel like taking the time to search for a product that will work outside your home.
So why not do the next best thing and remove the garbage cans from the equation altogether?
Now, we don’t mean to trash your trash. But you can remove it from the outdoor area by making use of your outdoor-indoor spaces. Instead of stowing outside near a patio or driveway, move your trash bin into a garage or shed.
The Leisure Season Horizontal Trash and Recycling Storage Shed, Available on Amazon
The garage is a great space to store things you don’t want to see, just as long as you have the room. You can even conceal them within your garage by hanging a curtain, or placing inside a cabinet. Just make sure you keep lids down to prevent extraneous odor.
Along the same lines, making good use of an outdoor shed with some extra room can be a great way to get those cans out of view. To avoid animals getting into your equipment, make sure you keep garbage behind lockable doors.