How to Hide Outdoor Trash Cans

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It’s an eyesore that almost every homeowner or renter has to deal with: trash cans. Whether they’re your own or issued by the city, there’s nothing pretty about having them in your yard. Here’s how to hide outdoor trash cans to make them less unsightly.

How to Hide Outdoor Trash Cans

Whether they’re in the front or back, hiding outdoor trash cans can immediately update your house’s curb appeal or make your backyard look nicer. They also can help keep animals out of your garbage and prevent empty cans from blowing away in the wind.

How you hide your outdoor trash cans will depend on a few things:

First, how big are the trash cans? You’ll need to have your measurements handy so you can find a solution that covers them up completely.

Second, do you want a temporary or permanent solution? Building a wooden box or small fence to hide your garbage cans is great, but not always possible if you’re renting or have a strict HOA. 

Third, what is your skill level and budget? Custom solutions and landscaping changes cost money and need some skill to pull off. On the other hand, there are pre-made solutions out there for someone who’s not DIY-savvy and plenty of budget-friendly options too.

Finally, do you need to hide your outdoor trash cans visually or should they be locked up too? If you live somewhere where wildlife is a problem a small fence isn’t going to cut it when it comes to keeping animals out of the garbage. 

Both plastic and wood storage bins are good options if you have to worry about animals or people accessing your garbage since they can be outfitted with a lock.

Build a Wooden Box

This is probably the most common thing that people do to conceal their outdoor garbage cans. If you have the skills and time it can really pay off. Not only do these types of things make your yard look cleaner, they can even improve your house’s resale value. 

Wooden boxes are also the most sturdy option since they’re a permanent structure. Something else that’s nice is you can paint or stain them any color you want, meaning they can be customized to match your siding.

You can also purchase pre-made wooden boxes if that’s more convenient. 

Buy a Plastic Storage Bin

Plastic storage bins are also an option and they work similar to their wooden counterparts. What’s nice about these bins is that they’re usually hardier than wood and require less maintenance, especially if you get a lot of harsh weather.

These bins are also easier to set up and usually just require a bit of assembly. Of course, plastic has its drawbacks too: it’s not as visually appealing as wood, and if you get one that’s too lightweight it might run the risk of blowing over when the cans are empty.

Shrubs, Hedges, or Foliage

Depending on where you’re figuring out how to hide outdoor trash cans, you might be able to conceal them with some cleverly-place greenery. Hedges are probably your best bet if you want full-coverage. But since they’re usually expensive and require maintenance, that’s not always an option.

Ornamental bushes are usually more affordable and can give a decent amount of coverage. Rose bushes, tree peonies, and lilacs are pretty options. They also flower, which is nice for your landscaping.

Other foliage like vines can also cover up an unsightly area, but they’ll need something to crawl onto. If you have a sparse fence or another partial structure you can use vines to fill in the gaps.

The biggest downside to any kind of greenery is that depending on where you live you may not get coverage year-round. If winter means fallen leaves, opt for evergreen shrubs to hide unsightly trash cans.

Fake Vines

This is another option if you want the greenery look but either can’t plant or don’t want the maintenance. The plastic vines with the mesh backing are great to add privacy or hide something you don’t want people to see.

They will need to be attached to something, but you can either build a small support structure for them or add them to an existing fence with very little effort.

Freestanding Privacy Screen

Free-standing privacy screens that are designed to be used outside can be a quick and easy way to hide outdoor trash cans. They’re especially useful if you don’t need year-round coverage, and instead just want something temporary.

If you’re throwing a party or your home’s on the market, for example, putting up a privacy screen can instantly hide anything you don’t want visitors to see in the yard

Of course, unless you buy one that can be mounted (and have something nearby to mount it too) privacy screens run the risk of being knocked over on windy days. 

Privacy Fence

There are also screens that are designed specifically for concealing outdoor trash cans. They’re made more like fences and are designed to be set up like a permanent structure. Two sides are usually open – one where the house will be, and the other to access your garbage cans.

You can also DIY this kind of system pretty easily. If you have fence building experience then it’s not too hard to build a small fence to conceal garbage cans from the street or rest of the yard.

But, even if you don’t want to (or know how to) build your own, most hardware stores sell pre-made fence panels. These are super handy for small projects like this and you can get all kinds of styles to match your existing fence or home’s design.

For a less sturdy, but even cheaper option, you can also build a frame and then attach lattice panels to it as an alternative to fencing.

How to Hide Outdoor Trash Cans – More Tips & Final Thoughts

Make sure you check with your community’s regulations before building any kind of structure on your property, especially if you need to bury posts in the ground.

It’s also important that you find a solution that works for the type of trash cans you have – including whether or not there will be anything obstructing the lid. When you choose a spot for the garbage cans it’s also important that you have a good path to the curb and are able to easily remove them on trash day.

With these ideas you shouldn’t have any problems hiding your outdoor trash cans, especially if you have some DIY skills. There’s lots of commercial and low-budget options too, so what are you waiting for? Go get this project off your to do list! 

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