Weekend Project

Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend project: Undercover operation

By Justin Newcombe

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Justin Newcombe keeps the weather out of his backyard storage system.

Justin's storage space adds a splash of colour to his driveway. Photo / Natalie Slade
Justin's storage space adds a splash of colour to his driveway. Photo / Natalie Slade

Last week I built the first part of my driveway storage unit. As things started taking shape, I realised that a driveway is a place where a lot of DIY action can occur. So a storage unit such as this can easily translate into a driveway workshop with all the storage you could ever need for tools and materials. Temporary dry areas can be created by using tarps and everything can be loaded or unloaded right on the spot.

Painting all the timbers was a great idea because it helps weatherproof everything but it can also be the difference between something tidy and something appealing. My storage unit is black on the outside but I really like the idea of a bit of colour on the inside. One of the main reasons for this unit is to store my canoe. I'm mounting it on a couple of brackets which are a basic triangle shape glued and screwed together. This is perfect for kayaks, surfboards, wind surfers or a dinghy.

Bikes also take up a lot of space and are an awkward shape which can be very difficult to get in or out of doorways. Bunnings have a series of mounting brackets which suit most situations, including my own. I have two types of opening happening, the first being a set of doors.

Because of the span of the door (just over a metre each) I've made them as light as possible using 4mm ply and 50mm ply. Each corner is braced and a brace runs through the centre of the whole door. The other opening is a tarp drop which I've often used. By using a super-tough tarp with good fastenings and weighing it down with a base plate you can create an effective, durable opening which will keep the weather out with the added benefit of not requiring any space for you to open it, unlike a door.

Step 1

Install any internal walls and shelving. I've used 18mm ply for this. It's not a structural grade so I've been careful to paint it and keep the bottoms from touching the ground.

Step 2

Install brackets for bike, boats etc. Plenty of hooks are another handy addition. Use screws to do this as things can change and you will want to move with the times.

Step 3

Build the doors. First measure the cavity and work out the door size. They don't have to be the same width it may be advantageous to have one smaller than the other so keep an open mind. I've constructed a rectangle with a brace running through it then covered it with 4mm marine ply. I've used 12mm ply to strengthen the corners.

Step 4

Hang the door and paint it.

Step 5

Hang the tarp. Bunnings has tarps in heaps of different sizes but it's the width that's the most important: it needs to be as close as possible to the size of the opening, if anything slightly bigger. Attach two lengths of pre-painted timber (I've used 12mm ply) across the bottom of the tarp, front and back, sandwiching the tarp in between.

Step 6

Drill a hole at each end of the timber to allow for tying. Hang the tarp using a baton to attach it to the roof. Fix small hooks to the frame of the storage unit to attach the tarp.

- NZ Herald

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