8 Ways to use Outdoor Shelving for your Garden

8 Minute Read

Shelves might not be the first thing you consider when you’re thinking about outdoor storage – especially when you’re thinking of right outside in the garden. Storage boxes, tubs, and sheds are usually the first thought, but outdoor shelves can be put to use in plenty of ways around the outside your home, and in the garden.

Since we’re writing this post in the lovely spring weather, we thought we’d take a look at some of the ways that outdoor shelves can be put into use in your garden through the spring, and into the summer.

What To Consider When Buying Outdoor Shelves

When you’re thinking about buying shelves for outdoors, it isn’t quite the same as picking the perfect shelf for inside your home, since there are different considerations. With outdoor shelving, there’s the exposure to the weather, if you like to move things around, as well as the style of garden design you prefer.


Outdoor shelving can be added to plenty of different places outside of your home. Patios, balconies, inside garages, summer houses and sheds, as well as inside conservatories, pergolas, and fixed gazebos – shelving can be installed in all these places. 

Shelf Size

Always a consideration wherever you’re installing a shelf, you need to bear in mind how your shelf fills the space. Getting the right dimensions will mean that the shelf doesn’t look overbearing, or lost in the space. Be sure to measure carefully, and map it out before you buy. 

Weather Exposure

The weather has a huge impact on the type of shelf you need in a garden. Even if your outdoor shelf is inside a conservatory, a shed, or summer house, it will be affected by the cold and damp – so you can’t just pick any old shelf, with any old fixings. If your shelves are completely exposed to all weathers, then you’ll need to make sure you choose the right material, and the right fixtures, so that you don’t end up needing to replace them each year.

Material & Fixings

Depending on where you’re installing your shelves, wood, metal, and even plastic may be appropriate for an outdoor shelf. Be sure to get the right type of finish, particularly for solid wooden shelves, and treat them as necessary – even if you’re aiming for a rustic effect. And just as with the material the shelf is made from, you need the right type of fixings for your outdoor shelf – you don’t want them falling down because a dowel has got wet and rotted away.


If you’re the type of person that likes to revamp your garden on a regular basis, then you’ll need to think about how easy your outdoor shelf is to move. Indoor shelves are pretty simple to remove (most of the time!), but when installing outdoors, the weather is going to play a part in how easy fixings are to remove, and whether your shelf will survive being taken down and put back up multiple times. If you’re likely to want to move things around, a shelf unit that can be picked up and moved might suit your needs better.

Ways To Use Shelves Outdoors

1 - Displaying Plants

As potted plants flourish, you want to be able to see them – and shelves are the ideal way to show them off, and move the pots around as they go past their best. You can adapt to the space you have, and in larger gardens, a larger shelving unit might work, while on patios and balconies, they might be a few shelves fixed to the wall.

2 - Storing Tools

Even the smallest of gardens and outside spaces need maintenance, and that means tools are necessary. Keeping small hand tools in baskets or caddies, and on an outdoor shelf means that you can grab them as you need them – and depending how much you need to store, you can keep adding those shelves.

3 - Outdoor Kitchens

We love the idea of an outdoor kitchen, but as we talked about in this post, there’s a lot to be stored. Installing outdoor shelving means that you can have everything you need to hand throughout the warmer months of the year.

4 - Creating a Herb Garden

Following on from our outdoor kitchen, if you’re a fan of fresh herbs, and salad vegetables, then growing them in pots and on outdoor shelving can help keep them away from pests.





5 - DIY Gear

Most homeowners have an assortment of DIY bits and bobs, from power tools to random screws and decorating equipment. Installing outdoor shelves in the garage means those items can all be tidied away effectively, clearing floor space. If you’re really into being organised, break out the label maker!

6 - Tableware

Tiny patios and balconies have precious little space for an al fresco dining table – but you can make use of wider shelving around the outside of the space to create a bar effect. Add a couple of bar stools, and you can sit and enjoy meals outside, without losing floor space, or needing to invest in garden furniture. Don’t forget, we can cut shelving to the size you need – so get in touch if you’re thinking of a project like this one.

7 - Home Cocktail Bar

Having a bar at home is pretty luxurious, and many of us have indulged in the bar cart trend indoors. Cocktails, and cool drinks outdoors in the summer – with an outdoor shelf, and an ice bucket, why not?

8 - Outdoor Storage

In porches, garages, and sheds, having shelves to store hats, gloves and footwear can help keep the area tidy – just add hooks for coats.

Our final thoughts

Outdoor shelving can be incredibly useful, in many different scenarios – and these aren’t the only ways you can get creative with them! There are thousands more ideas online, with Pinterest being a great place to start digging for more ideas. If we’ve inspired you to get out in your garden and install some shelves, make sure you take photos so you can show them off on Instagram, and tag us @bensimpsonfurniture – you know much we love a great #shelfie!

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