Outdoor shelves are a great addition to any space. Whether you have a modest balcony or an expansive deck, shelving brings great benefits. You can display pots of flowers, create an outdoor bar or stash your gardening necessities.
Of course, they are definitely not cheap to buy, which makes DIY versions even more attractive. Outdoor shelving might not be the first piece of furniture that comes to mind for the yard, but it’ll be one of the most useful.
Make your own outdoor shelves
When it comes to outdoor storage, shelving units come in a wide range of styles and sizes. Check out these outdoor shelving ideas to find some inspiration for your own outdoor space.
DIY vertical herb garden
Maybe not exactly a shelf, but this project is a great option for outdoor plant shelves. Instead of a regular shelving unit with pots of herbs, you can have a vertical garden. This item is one of the top deals when it comes to saving money. You’re using a pallet for the structure, so all you need to buy is chalkboard paint and herbs. The directions in this tutorial are super simple and there’s no construction required.
Cinder block plant shelves
This is an easy and cheap DIY for outdoor garden shelves. All it takes is four cinder blocks and two cedar planks eight feet long. You can assemble this and be using it in a matter of minutes. Check out the order of steps in the tutorial. If you prefer, you can use this item as an outdoor patio shelving unit that serves as a bar.
DIY Hanging Table
When considering DIY outdoor plant shelves and racks, you probably didn’t think about a hanging table instead. This is a great change of pace for a porch or balcony. While you’ll need some tools to make it, it’s not complicated, as you can see here.
While not a true shelf, it is a great spot for some outdoor accessories. Actually, you can display any item on the table.
Rolling garden and plant shelf
This might be the ultimate outdoor shelving unit for plants. You can roll it from the sun to the shade as necessary. This project definitely requires tools and is a little more involved than some others. Of course, that means it’s a very sturdy item and portable too.
Building these DIY outdoor shelves is a perfect Saturday project. This rolling version is a great option for storing your potting essentials too.
Freestanding angled wood plant shelves
This gorgeous plant shelf is a DIY version of a ready-made shelf for inside the home. Because it’s angled means that all your pots will get light will thrive on these outdoor wooden shelves. This DIY project updates some details for the outdoors, like using slatted shelves instead of solid ones.
While shown here as outdoor wall shelves for plants, these are also useful as basic outdoor patio shelves. In fact, they can be more versatile than fixed outdoor shelving systems.
Vintage door shelf
Want some outdoor patio wall shelves but don’t really have a good wall spot? Turning an old door into colorful outdoor storage shelves is a quick and simple solution. The construction is minimal and you can have a lot of fun aging and painting the door.
This can hold pots outdoors or other items if you decide to use it as furniture inside the home. It’s a unique piece that you cannot buy in a store.
Classic outdoor shelves
A classic piece of furniture, these shelves are a basic DIY project for anyone with woodworking experience. The shelves are good for flower pots, but this variety is also perfect as a server, bar or place to put any item for an outdoor party. If you have kids, they’re also the perfect outdoor shelves for toys.
Wooden garden storage shelves
This is a similar shelf made from wood, but you construct it a bit differently. This project is also best for those who are comfortable working with a drill and saw. Among the different options for shelving, this is one of the most durable and versatile. It’s a classy-looking piece of furniture and will fit nicely in any outdoor space.
Tall DIY outdoor shelf
These outdoor DIY shelves are also made of wood but are taller than most others. This gives you more options for the top shelf, like taller items or hanging pots. The design is also narrow enough that you can use it as an outdoor corner shelving unit. They would make great outdoor kitchen shelves too. You could hang spatulas and other necessities from the top of the frame and keep cooking utensils in order.
Vertical outdoor shelves for plantings
With just some 2x4s and burlap, you can make these homey outdoor shelves for flowers or herbs. It’s a pretty simple building project and won’t require you to buy much at the store. This is actually more of a wall planter, but it is a fabulous substitute for standard outdoor shelves. It also adds personality to your outdoor living space.
Plant stand with an attached arbor
Just call this the Cadillac of DIY shelves. It’s more like a piece of furniture than just a shelving unit. From the boxed sections at each end to the arbor, it’s a super stylish item and would look great outside your home. A DIY woodworking project like this is more involved but you’ll end up with outdoor shelving that would cost hundreds of dollars at the store.
Tiered DIY outdoor shelves
At the simpler end of the scale, these tiered DIY shelves are easy and versatile. You can choose to use them for pots of flowers or just about any other item. Overall, wood shelving is far sturdier than plastic outdoor shelving. This little project even uses pieces of stair stringers to make it a quick job. Check out the tutorial.
Simple wall shelf
The bane of every homeowner is the unsightly utility box on the side of the house. It’s even worse when it end up being on the porch. However, adding a simple DIY wall shelf can help camouflage the box or at least draw attention away from it. These homeowners painted the boxes white and then built a simple wall shelf above them. Once filled with pots of trailing greenery, the space looks so much better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How do you make outdoor shelves?
There are lots of ways to make outdoor shelves and you don’t necessarily need woodworking experience. Types of outdoor shelves you can build include ones that are simply made with cinderblocks and boards. Other kinds need some basic construction skills but aren’t difficult. Finally, there are more complicated DIY outdoor shelves that are for woodworking fans.
How deep should a shelf be?
The answer to this is…it depends. Shelves can be anywhere from 6 inches wide to 24 inches deep. Specifically what you want to store or display on the shelves should drive your choice. In general, standard-size shelves at 10 or 12 inches deep, although some can be slightly more.
Can plants grow on shelves?
Yes, they can, if the conditions are right for the specific plant. First, the plants should not be too big and be types that grow in nicely limited space. If light is limited, you want to be sure and choose something that grows well in low light. These types include prayer plants, snake plants, philodendrons, peace lilies, and ferns.
How do you put plants on a shelf?
Technically, there is no wrong way to put plants on shelves. However, some guidelines will make them thrive as well as look good. First, select a good mix of plants. Some should be leafy, some tall and others trailing.
Arrange them on the shelves in an attractive way and include other accessories. Also, pay attention to the pots they are in. You want a coordinated look, not a chaotic jumble.
Finally, keep in mind that when you group plants, humidity around them rises, which is beneficial. Plants on shelves have to be rotated regularly so they grow evenly. Also, those on top shelves might dry out faster than those at the bottom, so keep an eye on water needs.
How do you hang shelves?
The main concern when hanging shelves, besides being level, is that they are secure. This means considering how much weight they can hold — there are limits! To be sure they are sturdy, use the appropriate wall anchors when attaching the shelves to the wall. This will depend on whether you are drilling into a wall stud or not. Finally, you can use many different kinds of brackets to hold your shelf.
How do floating shelves hang?
The best way to hang floating shelves is by attaching them to the studs in the wall. It is possible to hang floating shelves on drywall using anchors, but they cannot safely hold very much weight at all.
Generally, floating shelves attach with some type of invisible bracket. Once it is attached to the wall, you just slide the shelf over it and secure it.
Can you put plants on floating shelves?
Yes! Floating shelves are a great way to display plants. You’ll want to follow the same guidelines about mixing types of plants. In addition to keeping them small, pay attention to the weight. Soil can make pots heavy so avoid using really large plants on floating shelves.
There are lots of ways to build outdoor shelving that fits the size and character of your space. Use one of these ideas or dream up one of your own. And, if you have loads of plants — indoors or out — you can display them in a cute and stylish way. You’ll have fun creating DIY outdoor shelving and save money in the long run.