by Amber

Where do you keep your trash cans?  It’s a weird question until you move into a brand new house and have no logical place to keep them.  Daniel and I started with them directly beside the deck, super easy to toss in trash from the kitchen but… when you use the deck, you smell the trash. Nope! Unfortunately, the only other place for them was to sit in front of the garage door, and I hated it! Looking at it everyday when I came home just really bothered me, and still does sometimes when we get lazy, just being honest here. 🙂  Anyways, I asked Daniel if we could come up with a plan together to install something to hide them, and so the garden box/ flower box was started.  This is what it looked like early this spring, while still working on our new slate path, more to come on that later.

To the drawing board we went.  You can see in the photo below that we moved the trash cans to the location we wanted to put the garden box to see what kinda of space we had.  We also needed to see how bad the slope was to plan accordingly.

We knew we needed to level it out somehow, and that’s when Daniel decided to build a planter box.  With both our brains working we also decided to add lattice on the back to totally hide the trash cans when you pull into the driveway.  Once we had the idea, we drew the plan.  This is a much better drawing of what we did which is very similar to Haylie’s garden box, be sure to check hers out also.

The garden box is 75″ long x 24″ wide x 70″ high (give or take since the ground is so uneven).  The bottom of the box itself is 24″ high.  It isn’t a small box but we needed something large enough to fit two large cans behind.


We went to Home Depot and picked up some of the following, some of it we already had on hand:

  • 4×4 post
  • 2x4s
  • Cement pavers
  • Deck boards
  • Lattice
  • 1×4 boards
  • L-bracket
  • Wood screws
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel
  • Gardening Soil
  • Staple gun and staples

We started by digging holes for the post.  We dug 6 holes total and got them ready for our 4×4 treated posts, as well as our 2×4 treated posts.  Each corner has a 4×4 post and the two longer sides have the 2×4 posts in the middle for added support.  Once the holes were dug we started measuring and slowly filling in the holes carefully with dirt, making sure they are evenly spaced and level.  We didn’t add cement to these since it was going to be such a small box but you could if you felt it was needed.

Once the posts were secured and in place we screwed deck boards directly into the 6 supports.  We started at the bottom on the short side, made sure the board was level, and screwed it into place.  Next we moved to the front of the box, we made sure to meet up the ends perfectly then leveled it out.  Once level and even with the small side, we screwed it into place.  We continued around the bottom on all sides.  After the boards were level all the way around the bottom we added the additional boards on top of them.  As long as the bottom board is straight then it is really easy to add the remaining boards.  Since this is holding dirt we made sure to get them as close together as we could and filled in the gaps at the bottom with the dirt we removed from the short side since the ground wasn’t level in this area.

This is one photo to better show you the in progress work but unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of photos while we were working.

Next up was the lattice.  We purchased a single piece of lattice and cut it down to size with the circular saw.  After the lattice was cut to size we used 1×4 boards to make a frame around it.  We used the miter saw to cut the corners at 45 degree angles at the top and then screwed the frame into the lattice.  We extended the two vertical pieces of the frame so that we could use that to screw directly into the supports and deck boards.

After the box was mostly constructed we got a better idea of how bad the slope was.  We used the extra 4x4s to start a base for the fill dirt needed behind the box to ensure the trash cans would be level.  We simply connected the 4×4 posts to the back of the garden box with L-brackets.  We made sure they were level and even with the ground.  This is a better idea of what that looked like.

After this, all we really needed to finish was the top.  We wanted to hide the posts a little bit so we added an edge to the top.  To do this we used 1×4 boards and cut each corner with the miter saw at a 45 degree angle, just like the frame.  After the top was finished we covered the inside with landscaping fabric to help hold in the dirt.  I simply used the staple gun to attach it all the way around the wood.

For the inside of the box we started with 4 bags of gravel at the bottom.  This would help with water drainage.  After that it was all garden soil and fill dirt.  This is what the inside looked like when it was finished to better understand.  You can see the edge around the top, the landscape fabric poking up at the top of the dirt, and about how much dirt we used.  We didn’t want to fill it to the very top but wanted to make sure that the plants would be seen.Now for the back.  You can kind of see above that we added stone behind the box to avoid it getting muddy and make it hard to pull the trash cans into place.  To do this we filled in the hole behind the box and tried to get the ground level.  After this was finished we picked up some small cement pavers from Lowe’s and laid them all across the back.  Nothing fancy as we never really see it.Please ignore the landscaping stones.  We always have some kind of project happening around here.  You can better see in the photo above how we attached the lattice frame to the back.  At this point we were finished other than adding plants.

This is what the garden box looking like after we just finished it.

In the photo above you can see that we wanted to box to but up to the fence to keep Cooper from going behind it. He spends most of his time looking out of the gate when he is outside.  Neighborhood watch dog!
Once the garden box started to fade we made sure to seal it.  We sealed it with some leftover stain from our fence so they would match and we were done.  This is what it looks like now when I pull into the driveway. Isn’t this soooooo much prettier.  It also helps that the plants are much bigger and it is a little darker with the stain. 🙂 If you have any questions at all I will be happy to answer them.  If you also wanted more information/ a slightly different approach to the garden box be sure to check out how Haylie built and installed her’s.


Colleen Gentry August 29, 2017 - 9:11 am

Very clever and a clean nice line. Love the idea of leveraging plantings to create the screen with “green”

Amber September 9, 2017 - 11:33 am

Thank you so much Colleen! Daniel had the lattice idea, I can’t take all the credit 😜

Kirstin September 9, 2017 - 9:18 am

Love this idea! Is it difficult to get the bins in and out?

Amber September 9, 2017 - 11:39 am

Thank you!! To be honest we made the fit a little to snug. We gave ourself a foot of extra space however we didn’t account for the fence post that is directly beside it. Because of that it is a little difficult but if we had given it an extra six inches of space it would be perfect. Or if the ground was flat of course 😊 If you have any other questions just let me know.

Kirstin September 13, 2017 - 7:29 am

Thank you! If I build it I’ll add a bit of extra space then 🙂


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