Strolling along a quiet suburban street is certainly a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the spring. Sometimes you may get a good idea to fix up your own home while admiring the houses of other families. Interestingly, the simplest homes sometimes look neater than the fancier ones. This is because a big object for sore eyes is the protruding outdoor trash can.
Good and sturdy outdoor trash can liners do a great job in keeping the inside of the trash can clean. Lining your heavy-duty trash can with a complimenting heavy duty trash bag does the trick in keeping the smelly slimy liquids from escaping from your kitchen and bathroom garbage bags that you bring outside. However, the outdoor trash cans themselves are still not pleasant to look out in an otherwise pristine setting.
New homeowners spend so much of their savings fixing up their home’s interior, buying furniture and even landscaping with professionals. Some professional landscapers do suggest camouflaging the trash cans. However, they might not want to get involved in being the cause of this extra expense. There are many innovative ways that a homeowner can creatively hide trash cans from plain sight and at the same time have easy access to them when they need to put out the garbage for the garbagemen.
Cedar Trash Can Enclosures
It is not only unsightly to keep your garbage cans in full view, but the smell is stronger when there is no barrier. I came across a cute blog entitled Sugar Sugar House which features Amber, a mom who lives in Kansas City with her husband and her two little sons. Previously, Amber worked as an engineer but is now a stay-at-home mom. Her blog is a creative outlet that was originally intended to keep up with her friends and family but has expanded to kind of a website that shows how this couple has upgraded their home themselves. Amber’s husband surprised her one year for Mother’s Day with a custom made cedar wood trash can enclosure. Cedar wood has a three-prong advantage. One, it is so attractive, two it stands up well to all types of weather conditions, and three cedar wood has a pleasant odor. (Cedar is used indoors to line clothing closets to discourage moths.)
Looking at it from the front of the house, this two-sided enclosure gives the appearance of a four-sided box. A side view reveals that it is only enclosed in two sides giving free access to the homeowner as well as the garbagemen. On the front of the enclosure is a number sign with the address of the residents which imparts a dual purpose to this attractive addition. Passersby’s have mentioned that they think that it looks like part of their home.
Lattice Work Trash Can Enclosures
Another attractive screen that is quite popular is made up of lattice. Also, two sided, a typical lattice screen is about six feet long and forty-eight inches in height. According to The Honest Carpenter the best width of the lattice should be three quarters of an inch which will assure that it lasts. I like the idea of the lattice because even though you can technically see the cans through the holes, somehow your eyes look at the draw of the lattice itself. Constructing a garbage can enclosure made of latticework is pretty much the same as building a fence. Strong posts should be used to anchor the wood in the ground. You would not want to defeat one of the main purposes of your enclosure, which is to prevent your cans and covers from disappearing because of high winds. Failing to use in ground posts could cause not only your cans to blow away but the lattice enclosure as well. Remember that lattice wood is not as heavy as solid wood, so if the posts are seated in the ground with concrete, the enclosure will be secure and permanent.
Buying Ready Made Trash Can Enclosures
A busy businessman or professional might not have the time or knowhow to build their own trash can enclosure no matter how many how-to videos they watch. Not everyone enjoys building a home for the garbage cans. It’s quite enough that they have tackled figuring out the right side and weight of bags for their can. Calling in a handyman to build one of the structures described above could be pricey and there are ready made practical edifices to buy from Amazon, Home Goods, Lowes and other popular stores. I have checked a couple of sites and am amazed at variations in pricing, size and style. For a single trash can, you can purchase an enclosure for under one-hundred dollars. Some of these are not much different than the standard city trash can enclosures that you find around town.
Two sided enclosures, similar in size to the ones we described previously, will range from less than one-hundred dollars to over five hundred. Walmart advertised the Suncast brand seventy cubic foot trash can shed for $369. It’s a four-sided model plus it has a cover or roof that can open up. It is genuinely nice looking and is large enough to hold a couple of bikes so you can get the idea of how large it is. My one objection to a fully enclosed trash shed is that when you open it up there may be a bad odor. Advocates of this type of shed would claim the opposite- that it keeps the odors locked away.
While checking out Amazon I came across an enclosure that was quite reasonably priced. Zippity Outdoor Products privacy screen is priced at $68.27 and looks quite attractive. The dimensions are thirty-six inches by forty-eight inches and come in a two pack. It is made of white weather resistant vinyl and comes with a ten-year warranty. One drawback is that it must be assembled, but there is a clear video that shows you how. All you need is a cordless drill. It even comes with pointed end stakes to insert in the ground. You do have an option of cementing the posts in the ground for more security.
Trees & Bushes Can Hide Your Trash Cans
There are many different plants and trees that can be planted instead of an artificial trash can enclosure. Of course, the trusty evergreen tree, such as pyramidal boxwood or arborvitae have the right height and texture to do the job efficiently. Even hydrangea bushes grow quickly enough to hide your unsightly cans and dogwood trees are great as well.
There are three basic types of trash can protectors, enclosures, sheds, and shrubbery. Enclosures usually have two sides and are easy to gain access to. Their disadvantage is that they are not animal proof. Sheds come in various models with attached roofs. Some have two doors, one for each can. A shed should be hosed out occasionally since they tend to be airless. Shrubs if placed right and have enough height and depth can do a great job as well.
Trash can shed or enclosures can enhance the look of the outside of your home without spending a lot of money. When the summer rolls around you will realize the advantage of such a purchase. If your cans are in the front, side or back of your house, these enclosures can make all the difference while entertaining. A trash can enclosure discourages wild animals from attacking your well protected garbage. Yes, an animal may be smart enough to see that your enclosure only has two sides, however, just like a burglar will not choose a home that has a better lock or alarm so an animal will overlook your trash cans if they are not so blatantly obvious. Anyone who is fortunate enough to be building a new home or renovating an old one, should include a trash can enclosure in their plans.
Together with your clean cans and trash bags, these enclosures will encourage your family to take the garbage seriously. When you ask your teenager to bring back the cans after the garbagemen empty them, they will get used to putting them in the same place each time, behind the new enclosure. The trash can cover will be less likely to fly into the street and get run over by a car. (It’s not easy to replace a can lid, take it from me, I tried after my metal lid became a perfect pancake when a fierce wind placed it in the middle of the street, and it was run over by a passing car.)
People have personal preferences of how to store their garbage. Some will keep their outdoor cans in their garage and take them out for pickup day. Others will not want to see their outdoor garbage bins at all. Garbage sheds are perfect for this type. Others, like me, want their garbage camouflaged but with air circulating around it. Just enough discouragement for animals even if they can realistically get in is fine with me. Whichever way you decide to go, remember the warm weather will be coming and it’s time to reckon with the garbage issue.