Gifts for Gardeners: Temporary Tool Storage

If you are considering purchasing a holiday gift for the gardener in your life, there's certainly no shortage of ideas; however, I'd like to offer you two other ideas for gifts, both targeted at simplifying your loved one's gardening chores.

by Jessica Walliser
Transform an old locker or mailbox into a temporary storage unit for garden tools. Photo by Jessica Walliser (
Photo by Jessica Walliser

If you are considering purchasing a holiday gift for the gardener in your life, there’s certainly no shortage of ideas. Books, tools, seeds, gloves, plants, pots and other gardening paraphernalia are always a hit. However, I’d like to offer you two other ideas for gifts, both targeted at simplifying your loved one’s gardening chores.

I’ll start by telling you that I hate running to the shed to get my garden tools. Our shed is a good 60 feet from the vegetable garden, and it always feels like traipsing back and forth between the two is a waste of time. For years, I was prone to leaving my tools out in the garden simply because I was too tired to haul them back up to the shed, knowing that I was just going to have to go back and get them again in the morning. Obviously leaving them out in the elements cut down on the life-span of my garden tools considerably. The wooden handles cracked, warped and split; the hinge springs on my pruners rusted out; and the blades of my pruning saw and loppers were dull before summer’s heat even had a chance to arrive.

I’ve since fixed the problem—without having to resort to putting one of those ugly plastic storage closets in my beautiful vegetable garden. And I think my solution is one that would be appreciated by other gardeners who hate making regular treks to the shed or garage.

Mailbox Hideaway
The first thing I did was install a mailbox in the vegetable garden. I picked a pretty, painted metal mailbox that I came across at a craft bazaar, but any plastic or metal mailbox will do, as long as it fully closes. I positioned it on a 4×4 post sunk into the garden, but you could also attach it to the top or side of a fence post.

Inside the mailbox I put my hand pruners, my gloves, my folding saw, some plant labels and sharpies, a roll of twine, a pair of scissors, and a trowel. If I take something out of it, I raise the red flag. When I’m finished working, the red flag helps remind me that I haven’t put back all my tools. When I see it, I know that I need to put whatever tool back into the mailbox before closing the garden gate for the night. Putting a mailbox in the vegetable garden is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Gym Locker Cover-up
My second suggestion is along the same lines, but this one works for taller tools like shovels, rakes and hoes. I found an old, single-unit gym locker at a swap meet a few years back. It’s just tall enough for my long-handled tools, and its rusty patina adds a touch of charm to the garden. I always plant sunflowers around the locker to camouflage it a bit, but you could paint an entire mural on a locker of your own if you feel so inclined. You can make the locker as fancy or as rustic as you’d like.

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And there you have it. Two great gifts that are both practical and beautiful. The gardeners in your life will love them both—trust me on this one!

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