From wheelbarrows, spreaders and trash cans to rusty old tomato cages and stacks of stones, garden tools need to be put away — preferably out of sight. Master gardener Paul James reveals some very unrevealing ways to store all your stuff:
Storage buildings are enormously popular these days because everybody has so much to store. "Ironically, though, storage buildings have a tendency to fill up in a hurry," he says. Never fear, he has a few ideas for squirreling away your unattractive odds and ends.
"Off to one side of my barn," Paul says, "I built this simple cedar fence, and behind the fence, I hide things like hay bales, trash cans and garden tools." This setup keeps mess out of sight while still making these necessary objects easy to reach.
This wood pile serves as another screening device. Built only a few feet from the fence, this storage area gives him plenty of room to store big items like wheelbarrows and garden carts. "By the way, this is exactly the way you want to store stuff that has a tendency to collect rainwater. Otherwise, you might end up creating the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes," he says.
Another creative way to conceal storage space is by using plants. For example, Paul hides his compost bin and nursery beds behind some cypress trees. He grows extra plants and nurtures sick ones in the nursery beds.
Even hiding places can be attractive, so he offers a suggestion for tidying up those spaces. For his nursery-bed hiding space he removes the awkward brick pavers and stacks them in an out-of-the-way place behind the fence. Then, he levels the grade of the path with a shovel and a rake. He lays down a layer of landscape fabric, securing it in place with small stakes. Finally, Paul spreads mulch over the landscaping fabric. The new area is revamped.
"Mulch adds that finishing touch to so many lawn and garden projects and in this case, it not only dresses things up but also allows me to get to my compost and nursery beds without getting my feet all muddy." Paul repeats this process for a narrow strip between his garden bed and fencing to transform a messy area into a "mulch" more attractive setting.
Paul plans to do essentially the same thing here in front of his barn. Because of drainage problems and giant trees that cast dense shade all day long, he has had a difficult time growing grass in that location. A layer of mulch might be just the trick to give the space a much needed facelift.