How to Choose Outdoor Storage That Works for You
These are the best (and most stylish) ways to stash all of your outdoor gear.
If you've revamped your patio and backyard space over the last few years, you've probably added some cool new gear—fun lawn games, a cozy sofa with cushions and throws, or a whole new outdoor bar setup. Which likely means you've added a whole lot of new stuff that needs to be stored somewhere—preferably somewhere outdoors so you have easy access when you're ready to indulge in a summery cocktail or quick round of bocce.
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Try these tips to help you pick out the best outdoor storage for you—plus a few of our favorite storage products to help inspire you.
Assess Your Outdoor Storage Needs
Look at what you have to store now, and consider what your storage needs may be in the future. If you have a small yard and just need storage for a few tools, a small storage bench may be just the thing. But if you have to store cushions for your outdoor sectional, an array of pool floats, or other bulky items, you'll need to look for something larger or multiple spaces to store your items.
If you have a garage or a shed, there's plenty you can store in there, but you may want to keep some things closer at hand—so you don't have to run into the shed if you want a pool float or throw.
Choose Appropriate Materials
There's a reason that outdoor furniture and storage is a separate category—it needs to use materials and finishes that can withstand the elements and still look great. Consider what you'll be storing, and how much protection you'll need for it. Pool floats could be stored in a vented bench that will let in the elements (but also allow wet floats to dry), while you'll want to store sofa cushions in something watertight to keep them dry and ready to use.
And of course, you'll want to consider the rest of your backyard aesthetic. Are you going for sleek and modern, an all-natural woodsy vibe, or a vintage look? That should factor into the materials you pick.
Aluminum and stainless steel are the most common metals that you'll find in outdoor furniture and storage, because of their rust resistance. (Though you may also find some gorgeous wrought iron pieces, especially if you're shopping vintage.)
Metal outdoor storage is also a great low-maintenance option that can stand up to wear and tear, and if made of a single piece, can help keep the items stored safe from rain and snow.
Just make sure that the metal furniture you choose is rated for outdoors, as it will have a finish that helps it avoid rusting.
Wooden outdoor storage is a classic (and lovely) addition to your yard, but you'll need to choose wood that can stand up to the elements—teak, mahogany, cedar, redwood, and eucalyptus are some of the most common outdoor picks.
You may also have a bit more upkeep with wooden storage—especially if you want to keep the original finish. Many outdoor wood products will start to turn gray as they're exposed to the elements, so you may need to reapply a sealant every few years to refresh the look.
If you're storing items that shouldn't get wet, make sure that it has a water-tight construction or finish—it may have a plastic or metal interior to keep your stuff safe.
Plastic has been a mainstay of outdoor storage, as it's water tight and weatherproof, and relatively inexpensive to make and buy. For people who are worried about the environmental impact of all that plastic, there are manufacturers who build their plastic outdoor storage out of recycled materials.
A traditional woven-look outdoor style, wicker can be made of natural materials or resin, and is a common outdoor furniture style. You'll want to look at how closely the materials are woven, or see if there's a water-tight interior lining to keep the things in storage free from water.
Consider Multipurpose Storage
Sure, a shed or a bulky deck box can get the job done, but why not get a two-for-one when you choose outdoor furniture pieces that can double as storage? (Saving money and space are a huge win-win!)
Coffee tables, side tables, and benches are common options for multipurpose outdoor storage, but outdoor bars, plant shelves, or potting benches can also provide space for you to stash smaller items while serving another purpose as well.
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10 Clever Outdoor Storage Options
Want to think outside the (deck) box? There are plenty of cool outdoor storage options out there for your gear.
Delilah Side Table With Storage
Made of weather-resistant aluminum, this hand-hammered table is the perfect size to hold throws, pool towels, or outdoor games. (And it'll look just as lovely indoors when your summer entertaining is done.)
Sollerön Modular Sofa
This modular outdoor sofa sectional, made of water-resistant plastic resin that comes from renewable or recycled material, offers watertight storage under each block to store cushions, throws, and other outdoor gear. You can reconfigure and add pieces as needed to create the perfect patio lounge.
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Polywood Console Table
Storing bulky items outdoors can be a challenge. But this up-for-any-weather console is roomy enough for a sofa's worth of cushions or your favorite pool floats, and can serve as an outdoor bar or buffet at a party, too. (Bonus: It's made of 99 percent recycled plastics like milk jugs, and comes with a 20-year warranty.)
Acacia Wood Storage Bench
This acacia wood bench combines seating and roomy storage stylishly—and it's perfect for a covered patio or porch.
Shinola Runwell Teak Outdoor Coffee Table
A low-slung deck box or storage bin can serve as coffee table and storage, but this gorgeous teak coffee table features open storage on both sides that'll show off what you're storing—pretty throws or towels, firewood for your fire pit, or a cool bar setup.
Everdure Prep Kitchen by Heston Blumenthal
If grilling is your thing, this compact kitchen island has spots for pretty much everything you need for cooking al fresco. The acacia top has built-in knife slots and a cutting board, plus dishwasher-safe food storage for ingredients. Beneath, you'll find storage shelves and hooks to hold your grilling tools, plus an easy-access pull out trash bin on the side. It's on casters, so you can easily transport it exactly where you need it.
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Abbott Three-Tier Plant Stand
This acacia wood and cement plant stand has a small footprint while still offering plenty of storage. Go ahead and use it to display your favorite herbs and flowers in—but it's also perfect for a bar setup.
Keter Modern Cool Bar
This petite storage table has a popup lid to serve as a bar table—while it has plenty of room inside to keep your party beverages cool.
Maho Teak Storage Cabinet
This roomy teak armoire has plenty of behind-the-scenes storage for your garden tools, pool equipment, towels, and other outdoor necessities.
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Maksville Outdoor Aluminum Storage Bench
This stylish outdoor-friendly storage bench has plenty of room inside for cushions, pool toys and other outdoor gear, plus it makes handy additional seating for larger parties.
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