Father’s Day is right around the corner, and I have been pondering what to do for my dear ole’ dad. Ever since I was a little girl, my dad has loved working in the yard and building things. His eyes would light up whenever I asked to join him so he could teach me something new. These memories got me to thinking that I could help my dad with a project as my gift to him for Father’s Day. This year I am going to help him build under deck storage for all his tools and equipment. If you want to do this too, here are some ideas I have come up with.
Setting up for Storage
No matter what size deck you have, there is an opportunity for storage underneath. Almost everyone’s deck is different in some way or another, but the process of setting up for storage is the same. You must find a way to manage the water, set up a foundation, and build some kind of structure to close off the storage from the elements.
Water management – When building storage under your deck, it is vital to waterproof it first. The easiest way to accomplish this when doing it yourself is to install deck underside ceiling material. Your local hardware and home material store will have all that you need, or you can go online and order a kit from a company that specializes in this area.
- Go online – While you can find the hardware at your local home improvement store, instructions and materials can also be found on the websites of most companies that sell underside ceiling material. One source that I found to be very helpful was www.drysnap.com. You can literally enter your dimensions into the calculator they provide and it will give you an estimate on the amount of material needed. If you do not choose to order the products online, print off the instructions and the information the calculator gives you so that you will have a reference when you visit the home improvement store.
Foundation – The base of your under deck storage is important because it keeps your items from being compromised by moisture or insects. It also protects the environment if there is a chemical leakage or paint spill. The most basic way to accomplish a good foundation is to use a pond liner and gravel.
- Pond liner - This can be found at almost every home and garden store. Simply roll it out and cut to the size of your under deck storage space. Use metal pegs to hold the corners in place if you want extra stabilization.
- Gravel – Spread over the entire surface of the pond liner “five-eighths inch minus crushed gravel,” (ask for this specific type of gravel at your local home improvement store). The gravel depth needs to be about four inches. If you are not filling the entire space of your under deck storage, you can use boards or edging to contain the gravel.
Structure (Walls and Doors) – When it comes to under deck storage, there are many paneling styles that you can choose from for your structure. The cedar utility panel pictured is an excellent option; just add a handle and some hinges to the one panel to serve as a door.Picture via homedepot.com
Vertical Storage and Decor
While we are on the topic of not letting space go to waste, be sure to take advantage of the vertical space that the under deck panels provide. You can attach items on the inside and outside.
- Plants: Use plant hooks to hang potted herbs and flowers from some of the panels. This keeps your upper deck clear and protects the pots from getting knocked over. Add some colorful paint and waterproof labels to define the contents (this works especially great for herbs).
- Tools: Attach shelving or racks to the paneling to keep tools handy and off the floor.
There are many versions of outdoor storage containers. I have found the Rubbermaid brand to be one of the most durable. You can find items like the ones below online or at most home supply stores.
- Storage deck box: This is a wonderful product to hold small items such as gardening equipment or tools. You can also store birdseed or dog food in these for an added layer of protection.
- Storage closet: A free-standing storage closet is the perfect solution for containing chemicals and liquids that could be harmful. You can even place a lock on the doors to keep children from getting into hazardous material and equipment.
I am really excited about working with my dad on this project. The look of joy on his face when I bring these ideas to him and we set out to get the equipment will be priceless! I hope this year you can celebrate the fathers you know by giving this gift of time and love. Good luck and happy organizing!
Laura Leist, CPO
Organizing with Laura