After a long day working in the garden, you may tuck your pruning shears in the garden shed corner or — let's face it — under the shadiest tomato plant. For smaller hand tools, it's important to keep them clean, accessible and well-organized. The trick with larger tools such as shovels, rakes and edgers is to keep them upright along a flat surface where they'll stay clean and dry.
No matter the size, if you're looking for a dedicated spot to store your go-to gadgets, we have some garden tool storage ideas that'll keep your implements within reach and in good condition. Some of these DIY ideas do require a power drill and some light construction. If you'd like a simpler option, you can always lean on a garden tool tote to keep your tools safe.
The tools of the trade often include more than your standard trowel or cultivator. You might also have plant tags, pens, seed packets and other small items. Repurposing a fishing tackle box is one of the easiest garden storage ideas to keep these small necessities together. You can find inexpensive tackle boxes at sports and fishing stores. They're perfectly designed to keep things neat and tidy, and you can store your tackle box under the sink or another small nook. Plus, most tackle boxes are weather-resistant, so if you accidentally leave yours outside, you won't lose your favorite seeds to the rain.
Garden Tool Mailbox
Keeping your oft-used tools at the ready is a big win in garden tool organization. You can do this with a wall-mounted, flat mailbox with a functional lid to keep out the elements. Flip the mailbox over and on the underside, drill at least six evenly spaced holes — larger holes will allow for better drainage. Next, find a location on a fence or the side of your wooden raised bed and affix the mailbox right side up using screws. The mailbox will easily fit gloves, snippers and other small tools in an easy-access location.
Rake Head Rack
Because of their small size, hand trowels, cultivators and other small garden tools are easy to miss if they're not out in the open and at eye level. A repurposed rake head rack is a cost-effective way to keep your hand tools organized. To create one, you'll need an old metal rake with stiff tines (or a few old rakes, depending on how many tools you're trying to store). You might find some through online ads, flea markets and garage sales.
Look for an open location in your storage shed or garage and find the wall studs. Then, remove the handles from your rakes. These are often screwed on, so they're easy to unscrew and remove. If you found multiple used rakes, evenly space the rake heads one above the other on the studs, leaving about two feet between them. Using the holes in the rake heads, screw them onto the stud with the handle collar facing upward and the tines facing outward. Finally, hang each of your tools by their straps across the tines, and voila! Each rake head should comfortably hold at least five tools.
Colorful Tool Drum
If you have many large tools and about 3 square feet of space in your yard, I recommend this simple and rewarding garden tool storage idea that uses either a plastic 55-gallon drum or a decorative barrel — depending on your aesthetic. You can purchase one new at many big box stores or find one online. For use outdoors during the growing season, drill at least one quarter-inch hole in the side of the barrel near the base to allow for drainage. Instead of hiding your tools away while not in use, the tool drum is a great way to keep them at hand in an attractive arrangement. The best example I've seen was a bright, lemon-yellow barrel tucked in the corner of a lush, deep-green shade garden.
PVC holders are perhaps one of the simplest and most secure DIY garden tool storage ideas for keeping long-handled tools safely out of the way. You'll need 2-by-4-inch lumber and PVC pipes. Starting with a stable wall or wooden fence, screw one two-by-four onto the studs or posts horizontally at about 1 foot from the ground. Directly above it, screw another two-by-four, 4 feet from the ground.
Next, using a hacksaw, cut a few pieces of PVC pipe into 6-inch sections. Then, cut one end of each section at a 45-degree angle — enough to allow space to place a screw into the pipe. Screw one PVC section vertically onto the bottom two-by-four, and another directly above it on the top two-by-four. Each pair of PVC sections will hold one long-handled tool, so repeat this process until you have enough PVC pairs for all of your tools.
Finally, place each tool handle upside down through the top and bottom PVC sections. You can see a PVC holder example from The Owner Builder Network, or check out another take in the RONA video below. You'll keep your shovels, rakes and hoes clean, dry and off the ground, and you can easily remove them when needed.
Derek Carwood, a native of Northern California, currently resides in the Upper Midwest and has been involved in horticulture for over 30 years. Derek holds a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Sciences and a Master's Degree in Sustainability Education & Policy. He has been heavily involved in education throughout his professional career and has volunteered and worked across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, Derek started Greenwood Horticulture focusing on both indoor and outdoor horticultural consultation, education, and design.