Design & DIY

Keep your outdoor gear out of sight with this DIY undercover shelf project

organizer shelf photo Photo by Liam Mogan

Without adequate storage solutions for outdoor gear, your calm cottage oasis can quickly look like a weekend garage sale. This easy-to-build shelving unit is customized to fit under an inexpensive barbecue cover. The incognito storage corrals clutter out of sight and out of the weather. Think of it as a mini shed that sits wherever you need more storage. The interior spaces can be modified for different contents — it works just as well for stashing tools near a work site as it does for shoes or water toys. I chose a 60″ grill cover and used its measurements to determine the size of the shelf parts. Look for a cover with simple angles to make construction easier and to ensure a good fit.

What you’ll need:


Western red cedar:
5 2×2 x 8′
8 1×4 x 8′


Long legs
4 11/2x 11/2x 44″

Short legs
4 11/2x 11/2x 30″

Shelf supports
10 11/2x 11/2x 15″

Long shelf slats
8 11/2x 31/2” x 57″

Top shelf slats
4 11/2x 31/2x 261/2

Adj. shelf slats
4 11/2x 31/2x 17

Adj. shelf cleats
2 11/2x 31/2x 14¾

80 11/2coated deck screws
20 3″ coated deck screws
4 11/2wood dowels
16 1¾galvanized finishing nails

1. Cut all the legs and shelf supports to length. Round over the top of each leg to prevent snagging on the cover by using your saw to cut each edge on a 45-degree angle — or just sand the edges with some 80-grit sandpaper. Build the four ladder structures that support the shelves by connecting the shelf supports to the legs using construction adhesive and one 3″ deck screw at each intersection.

2. Cut all the shelf slats to length. Attach the ends of one long shelf slat to the top of the two short ladder structures to make a “table” with a narrow surface. Use glue and two 11/2” screws on the ends of the long shelf slat, and drill a pilot hole first to prevent the slat from splitting, especially at the ends.

3. Thread the legs of each end of your “table” through the upper portion of the two tall ladder structures (you might have to angle them). Position these tall supports the proper distance apart in the middle, and attach with glue and screws. Complete the three fixed shelves by filling in the rest of the slats, spaced evenly.

4. Customize your unit by adding some adjustable shelves. I opted for one smaller shelf, but you could add more, or a single plank that spans the width of the unit. To build the additional shelves, cut the slats and cleats to length, then assemble with glue and 1¼” galvanized nails. Regular shelf pins are a bit wimpy for this project. Instead, opt for short lengths of ⅜”-dia. dowels inserted into matching holes. Bore additional holes as needed to rearrange the shelves.

Handy with a sewing machine? Take this project to the next level by adding a roll-up zippered door with corrosion-resistant marine-grade zippers to your store-bought cover.

illustration of shelf project
Illustration by Jacques Perrault


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