Wheelie bins are a necessity for sorting rubbish and recycling waste. Furthermore, refuse lorries do the heavy lifting now instead of the bin men who used to have to break their backs to lift rubbish. Wheelie bins also are safer for everyone, protecting from glass and other sharp objects poking through the black plastic sacks. Though the advantages of the wheelie bins are numerous, there is a downside to their pervasive use. For those people who can hide their wheelie bins away and out of sight in the back garden until collection day, there is no problem. However, there are other people who are unable to tuck away their wheelie bins and must park them just outside their front door on a permanent basis. Since wheelie bins are often just taller than the average hedge and just higher than the average windowsill they become an unsightly hindrance to the view, both from within the house and from the street.

The response to the unsightly wheelie bins has been to create products that hide them or somehow try to make the wheelie bins look more attractive. Trellis cages that can be covered with climbing plants, like clematis, have been created by garden design companies to try and hide wheelie bins. While this tactic is relatively successful, others ideas may seem to work in theory, but in practice are not as convincing. Vinyl sheets that are printed with various designs like flowers and ivy can be purchased to stick to the sides of the wheelie bins. Some of the designs may be quite attractive and probably do make the wheelie bins look a bit better than just a single drably coloured plastic bin.

How to hide your wheelie bin

The best answer is to build the trellis system or some sort of a screen and grow some beautiful plants on it to hide the wheelie bins. This can be a relatively simple task. The following guidelines explain how to easily cover up the unsightly bins by building a screen.

The screen can be constructed from a range of materials, but the screen needs some sort of frame for support. A good option is to use light organic solvent preservative treated pine to build the framework for the screen. This type of material will stand up to the weather relatively well. The cost is also relatively inexpensive. The framework can then be clad with a reed-type screen, bamboo, exterior-grade sheets, or some other cladding. It is easy to construct several frames due to the modular design described below. There should be one frame created for each bin. A frame that is 1100mm in height can hide most bins. The height of the frames can be customised to the size of the bins, but make sure there is enough space behind the frames to open the lids of the bins.

Building the frame

The following materials will be needed to build the frame:

  • 2 pine uprights, 1100 x 41 x 30mm
  • Rails, 2 x 690mm
  • Brace, 1250mm
  • Spare timber battens
  • Exterior-grade glue
  • 50 x 25mm mini nails (nail plates) pack of 30

Step 1
Form a right angle by clamping a pair of temporary battens to the bench or work surface. These will be used as a jig in order to make as few or as many frames needed.

Step 2
The timber should be cut to length, taking into consideration the size of the bins. The enclosure should be a little wider and a little taller than the bins so the wheelie bins can easily be wheeled into and out of the enclosures. Exterior-grade adhesive should be applied to the top joint. To hold the joint press together and then lightly pin a nail plate across the joint.

Step 3
An off cut of decking or other hardwood can be used to hammer the pins of the nail plate so they penetrate the timber fully and at the same time avoid bending the pins. The plate must be hit relatively hard. Locate and add the other upright and then add the bottom rail about 50mm up from the bottom.

Step 4
After firmly fixing all four nail plates, the frame should be flipped over and put on a diagonal brace. Mark in the corner angles on the brace with a pencil after checking to make sure the frame is square.

Step 5
With a nail plate, fix the brace. In addition to covering the brace, do the same for the corner joints. The other corners should also be fixed with nail plates.

Step 6
Finally, the frames can be cladded with a natural screening alternative comprised of reeds that are wired together in certain lengths. Planks can be used as cladding, creating the look of weatherboards that can even match the house. As another alternative, the frames can be cladded with fibre cement. This is very inexpensive and can be painted to match or blend with the house or other aspects of the front garden.


Take a look at our options for other small storage solutions in our video below