Where do you keep your garbage cans? I know some people keep them in their garage, but that’s not an option for me. Waaaaay too much crap in there. Plus, they’re dirty and stinky and I’d rather keep them outside. But who wants to look at garbage cans? Or AC units for that matter? Have you ever seen those dinky little white vinyl lattice contraptions that are supposed to fix this issue? They’re like 3 feet tall and my garbage cans are way bigger. I can just imagine if I put it around my AC unit, it would look like an AC unit with a vinyl lattice around it. I’ve seen people in my neighborhood use them. Most of the time the thing has blown over and, look, there’s an AC unit behind there. These are the kinds of issues that make me lie awake at night. I wish I were joking.How to hide my unsightly garbage cans and AC unit in an attractive manner? At first I thought I needed to build an enclosure with some sort of gate, but then realized I didn’t even need a gate if I made it wide enough. Does it ever happen to you — you think and think about something and when you come up with your great idea you can’t believe that wasn’t the first and only thought you had? Happens to me all the time. Unless it’s one of those thoughts I later decide sucks. But not this time. I love my garbage can/AC patio. We store our tandem kayak in there too.
- 6 – 8 ft tall pressure treated 4x4s ($6.97 each)
- 4 – 4×8 ft lattice privacy panels ($22.37) I used pressure treated spruce, but there are tons of options
- 3 – 80 lb. bags of concrete mix ($3.80 each)
- 1 – post hole digger (try to borrow one from a friend if you don’t have one)
- 16 – 1x4s to attach lattice to ($4.97 each) I used a 1×4 on both the front and back of the lattice, you could just use something more substantial on one side, like 8 2x4s
- deck screws ($6.71)
- small deck nails ($4.78)
Total: $206.80 – Not a bargain, but totally worth it if you ask me.
Optional – if you want to put down a paver floor:
- patio pavers ($1.51 each, but they often go on sale for $.98)
- gravel (paver base – $3.96/bag)
- landscape fabric
- hand tamper (borrow one! or pay $25.98)
How to build it yourself:
- Set posts — Dig the first post holes next to the house. It is recommended to dig a post hole 1/2 as deep as the post is high. In other words, bury 1/3 the total length of wood. We want a 5 ft post, so we need to dig the hole 2.5 feet deep. Since we bought 8 ft posts, you can either cut off 6 inches or dig your hole 3 ft deep, which will just make it more stable. Insert a 4×4 in each hole, making sure they are level and at the same height. *The ground may not be level (mine slopes away from the house), so it’s more important to make sure the heights are equal, not the length of wood sticking out of the ground.* To set posts in concrete, have one person hold the 4×4 in place, while the other person dumps around 40 lbs of cement mix into the hole. Make sure to evenly distribute it. You can also add gravel to the bottom of the hole to aid in drainage. Then add water to the hole a little bit at a time. I like to “stir” the concrete with the end of a broken shovel. Allow to set overnight.
- Add lattice – If your 4x4s happen to be 7.5 feet apart, then you don’t have to trim your lattice, otherwise cut it to size. Use small nails to attach to the front of the 4x4s.
- Reinforce lattice – The lattice will be really wobbly in step 2, so you need to attach wood across the top and bottom to stabilize it. (At the very least the top) I attached a 1×4 to both the front and back of the lattice, like a lattice sandwich, then screwed through all 3 pieces. *I added solar lights to the top of the posts, I got them at Target on clearance for $4.
- Add patio floor – level*, then compact the soil with a hand tamper. Lay out landscape fabric. Add a gravel base. Lay paver stones. Fill in cracks with composite sand. *Level for me was at an angle away from the house.
You see the random remnants of a sprinkler system sticking out from the side of the house? I had a plumber remove that. I don’t like to mess with that stuff. You should be able to tell that I started with the back panel, then the sides. The front panel is wider than the rear panel. Because they are offset, it helps cover the inside and I decided I didn’t need a gate on the corral area. I later built the connecting arbor and put a gate on that. I later moved the rectangular Belgian blocks to the front of the house, and added my signature leftover stones along the path in front of the lattice. That’s hardy kiwi growing on there. It goes crazy in the spring. No fruit yet, even though we’ve waited 3 summers and I was sure to plant a male and female. Maybe this year. It’s pretty none the less.
I don’t think you can see it in the above pictures, but I added this PVC drain for the air conditioner condensation. It was dripping out the side of the house, sometimes a lot of water, so I just extended the PVC down to the ground, then ran it under some dirt. It pops out under the rock and drains into the gravel. It was another one of those, duh, why didn’t I think of that before kind of things. Stay tuned for posts about building the arbor and gate, installing gravel pathways, replacing window wells, building kayak storage, and building retaining walls. You can see pictures of the yard last summer, by checking out the 2013 weekly garden tour. Also be sure to check out the full yard transformation, starting with 2009. 2010 posts are here and here. Things really start to get interesting when we had the asphalt road torn out in 2011 and a new driveway installed. A new stamped concrete porch and landing happened in 2012. Never a dull moment around here!! More on 2011 here.Just to keep it real, this is what it looks like right now…
This project was featured on: BetterAfter.net
Be sure to check out more of my outdoor projects!