Boxing clever

From storage boxes to sheds, Kya de Longchamps lists the pros and cons of cheaper and more expensive options

JUST as we can all use extra storage potential in the house, the garden is a far more relaxed place without the visual interruption of gardening incidentals littering paths, lawns, and patios. There are few tools that can weather all storms, year round without degrading to some degree. Clean up your act with even a metre or two of discreet disguise.

Benches and trunks are useful storage additions in any garden and flat to a wall can squeak into a slender situation. In wood, the Winchester Garden Arbour from Rowlinson, a delightful real wood bench, covered by a Gothic arched canopy, complete with integral storage, is on special offer at €399 this season reduced from €700. Free delivery throughout Ireland.

My favourite product in small budget storage outdoors is more seating, this time a plastic bench offered by B&Q. For €135 you get an attractive traditionally-styled Blooma bench in chunky no maintenance white plastic, a sturdy back easily made cosy with cushions and 140cmX60cm of discreet storage. Untroubled by rot, rust or rodents, plastic storage boxes in trunk styles start at round €40 and come in everything from shelved cupboards to bike shelters. If you want to store your bins out of sight, ensure the cabinet has enough height and depth for a standard 250 litre wheelie bin. Look for models with handles and wheels for easy moving and a locking point where you can add a small padlock. Light moveable storage is easily targeted intact. Don’t store valuable items in any portable container. Put any fabric pieces away dry, or they will gather condensation and mildew as they sweat inside a warm plastic box. Small examples can be taken inside to multi-task.

It’s impossible to talk about small garden storage without straying into the subject of sheds, a topic we’ll explore next month, but for small storage a modest 198cm/ 6’X 160cm/4’ shed is a viable option. Prices start at around €175 for a simple DIY shiplap timber shed you assemble with a simple wood floor on a pre-prepared base, rising to a steel or plastic model delivery and lifted into position in one piece at €300 plus. Wall sheds or tool stores can shoulder into the narrowest space against the house, sloughing rain from a simple single pitch. Consider if the pent roof lean is towards you, as that’s where the rain will go too. Ensure you make use of a timber shed’s height, including shelving and hooks, easily installed on wood walls. For an attractive alternative to standard stains, try a colourful protective finish in Ronseal’s Shades (50 colours) or Sadonlin’s My Garden colour selection.

If you can’t stand the idea of maintaining wood or have the storage shed well out of view, plastic tool sheds are tough, practical, inoffensive in browns and greens and can be power washed clean. The Keter Plastic Apex is a generous 198cm/6X6’ lofty 6’9 with a reinforcing steel frame and lockable door. Reduced to €542 at Argos. Woodgrain steel shiplap offers the look of timber, more structural thump and the security of a metal structure. Woodvale metal sheds, stocked by B&Q, include sliding doors that part from middle, ergonomic and tidy and starting at €341 for a 194cm/6’ X 191cam/5’, big enough to hang up a few folding chairs, hide an arsenal of tools and shelter a small mower. For a high pitch in a pinched space, we love the 2’7 deep, 7’5 wide Walton Space Saver, in a pale eucalyptus powder coated steel. €284.95. Most shed lovers start with these sheds and stores only to develop the dreaded ‘five-foot-itus’ a condition of gardeners who quickly realise their shed is not rangy enough for their blossoming ambition.

Austrian firm Biohort offer the Rolls Royce of storage units with sliding roller shutter that can swallow bikes, bins and tools in one firm flick of the wrist. Made of steel plate walls and a coated aluminium tambour door, they are rain and rodent proof and come with a cylinder lock and 20 year guarantee. The larger equipment lockers have two doors, shelving, hooks and ground anchors for added stability. Prices from €744, with ultra chic sheds with gas spring mechanism doors from €1,400 and open fronted log stores from €539. Check full range and order from

Pallet Pleaser


You will need:

* Four identical pallets. Pay no more than a couple of euro for these, or even, pay nothing.

* Six 3-4’ stakes to thread through the standing pallets.

* Spade

* Sledge-hammer

* Needle nose pliers

* Some lengths of strong wire that you can bend with fingers or pliers.

* A piece of carpet to cover your heap


1. Clear and level your chosen area with a spade

2. Prop your first palette for a back wall and drive a stake 20-30cm into the ground through each end, threaded through the gap between the front and back boards.

3. Butt your first side piece firmly against the back palette at right angles and secure as before. Repeat with the parallel side.

4. Wire the three palettes together at the three corners to make them totally secure and stable. Tighten with twists of the pliers.

5. Cut the extra timber sticking up at the top of the palette edges with a saw if you want to be extra neat Use your last palette to form a gate with wire hinges on one side.

6. Fill with suitable biodegrading natural materials and cover with carpet to create extra heat.

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