Hide your bins in a handy trash centre

At one time or another, every homeowner wakes up to a mess in the yard, courtesy of some nocturnal scavenging animal. This project is your safeguard against those rude morning discoveries

By Adrian Jones


Photo by Roger Yip

This trash hideaway will deter little claws from digging into your garbage, recycling and compost while keeping your curbside boxes hidden away. With this attractive project, garbage doesn’t have to be unsightly.

Construction only takes a few tools. A tablesaw, drill, handsaw and router are all you need, although a jigsaw would come in handy too. For lumber, I used the fence-grade cedar you can find in any home-improvement centre. Deck screws and weatherproof glue hold everything together.


Getting started

Before you begin, study the plans. You’ll see that the lid is angled downward 15º from horizontal to shed water. To achieve this, you need to make a few bevels, including at the top ends of the side assemblies and corner posts, and on the top edges of the front and back.

The anchor frame serves as a nailing cleat for the boards on the back and sides. Rip 2-by construction lumber into 11/2"-wide strips, making the three anchor frame pieces. Glue and screw the wood together to create a U-shaped assembly.

Next, rip four 35/8"-wide pieces for the lower frame parts. Using biscuits, assemble the pieces with mitres at the front and butt joints at the back. Secure the anchor frame to the lower frame with glue and screws driven from underneath.

Cut a 2x4 down to 11/4" x 1/2" to make the two corner posts and the three parts of the H-frame. Cut angles at the top ends of the posts, as shown on the plans.

To assemble the side frames, lay five boards on a flat work surface. Create a consistent gap between the boards using 1/8"-thick spacers inserted between each one. Square up this assembly, then attach the long inner cleat to what will become the inside. Glue and secure these joints with 2" deck screws. Leave the side boards longer than necessary.You’ll trim them to length and add angles later. Repeat this process to end up with two sides.

Attach the two sides to the outside edges of the anchor frame using screws and glue. Install a temporary brace to keep the two fence-like sections from falling over. As you work, make sure to extend the rearmost side boards beyond the back edge of the anchor frame. Clamp the corner posts in place and secure with glue and screws. Then cut the upper frame front, sides and back to size, and secure them to the H-frame and corner posts with glue and screws.

Attaching back boards

Next, attach the back boards. I installed five full boards from left to right (as viewed from the front) and three boards from right to left. This leaves a 2"-wide gap that’s best filled with a 11/2" strip to cover the space. Swing around to the front of the project, and use screws to fasten the H-frame back. Reinforce the back boards by adding the long and short inner cleats, as shown in the plans.

Trim all fence boards flush to the upper frame–a handsaw or jigsaw works well for these bevelled cuts. Add 21/2"-wide face frame sides on the outside edges of the front now. Angle the top ends of the side boards before assembly.

Making the doors

Making the doors is simple: fasten vertical boards to horizontal, internal cleats using the same spacing as for the sides. The larger door also gets a diagonal cleat to prevent sagging. Assemble the door parts using weatherproof glue and two #8 x 11/4" screws per joint. Hang the doors on corrosion-resistant T-hinges. The lid is like the door, with boards connected by internal cleats.

There is a fixed portion of the lid at the back, and a hinged front so you can access the inside. The lid arm swivels on a 1/4"-diameter dowel that is fitted into a support bracket that’s attached to the lid. The plans and materials list have the details necessary to build the lid parts. Prepare these now and install them.

Finishing the job

I designed this project to include a shelf on the right-hand side to hold recycling or compost bins.

Add this feature now, if you have a need for it. Finally, install the floorboards, screwed in place on top of the lower frame. One floorboard needs to be notched to fit around the front post of the H-frame. Use your favourite exterior-grade finish or leave the cedar to weather naturally. Install doorlatch hardware, then clean up your shop and take out the trash.

Tools & Materials

Part Material Size (T x W x L*) Qty.

Lower frame front 1" x 3 5/8" x 48 1/8" 1
Lower frame sides 1" x 3 5/8" x 28 1/4" 2
Lower frame back 1" x 3 1/4" x 40 7/8" 1
Anchor frame back 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 46 1/16" 1
Anchor frame sides 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 23 3/4" 2
Corner posts 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 39 7/8" 2
Upper frame front/back 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 43 1/16" 2
Upper frame sides 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 27 1/8" 2
H-frame front 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 39 3/8" 1
H-frame back 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 44 3/4" 1
H-frame horizontal 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 23 3/4" 1
Wide back boards 5/8" x 5 1/4" x 47 3/4" 7
Narrow back board 5/8" x 1 1/2" x 47 3/4" 1
Side boards 5/8" x 5 1/4" x 47 3/4" 10
Face frame sides 5/8" x 2 1/2" x 41" 2
Large door 5/8" x 25 5/8" x 40 3/8" 1
Large door cleats 3/4" x 1 3/4" x 24 1/2" 2
Large door diagonal cleat 3/4" x 1 3/4" x 38" 1
Small door 1/8" x 16 3/16" x 40 3/8" 1
Small door cleats 3/4" x 1 3/4" x 15 1/8" 3
Shelf 5/8" x 18 3/4" x 23 5/8" 1
Lid back 5/8" x 8 5/8" x 49 5/16" 1
Lid 5/8" x 20 3/8" x 49 5/16" 1
Lid cleats 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 16" 3
Lid arm 1" x 1 3/4" x 21 1/16" 1
Lid arm bracket 1" x 1 3/4" x 4 1/4" 1
Long inner cleats 3/4" x 1 3/4" x 23" 3
Short inner cleat 3/4" x 1 3/4" x 13" 1
Floorboards 5/8" x 5 1/4" x 24 7/8" 8
T-hinges 4" 4
Strap hinges 4" 2
Sliding bolt, stainless steel 1
All wooden parts made from cedar

* Length indicates grain direction

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Hide your bins in a handy trash centre

Illustration by Len Churchill

1 comment

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Sep. 20, 2012

3:37 pm

FYI, there are a few errors in the plan instructions. To name a few.... It says all that is needed is a tablesaw, hand saw router and maybe a jigsaw. Well how are you supposed to put the biscuits in? Also, there are no back posts on this project. Well, I tried it as instructed but it does not fit with out the back posts and the back center support is to short for the way your instructions say to put it together. Also, you only say to put an angle on the front corner posts but for it all to fit together properly, other boars also need to be cut on an angle.

It would be nice if these projects were proof read before posting. Its like baking a cake and leaving baking powder out of the recipie....it will still cook but not be worth the effort.

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