Outdoor Space

Open Shelving in an Outdoor Space

As I sit here and write this, I’m staring out my window trying to imagine what my backyard looked like before all the snow took over. There’s just something about a fresh snowfall that brings out the beauty and pureness of nature. But with the deep freeze of a winter we’ve been having, I can’t help but long for those cool summer nights in front of a warm campfire. Snuggled up in an adirondack chair, watching the flames dance along in the reflection of my wine glass.

Our summer outdoor space has become one of my favorite spots. Our back patio flows to an open yard, leading to a raised garden bed. Our garage that converts from being functional shelter in the winter to a fun hang out spot in the summer – centered around the eight foot bar that’s been accessorized with neon signs, a chalkboard wall, and custom lighting along the way. Dan also has a dedicated space for his fully-stocked workshop – which he would argue will never be complete and that he’ll never have enough tools. Bringing me to the last section of the garage, the bonus rec room (labeled here as Dan’s man cave) that has yet to be fully brought to life.


When we first bought the house, this room already featured double french doors and wood laminate flooring. Far too fancy for a garage, but we weren’t complaining. Over the past two years, we’ve done a little work in this space, including painting the walls and updating the lighting. But other than that, these french doors open to a room full of so many possibilities that we just haven’t decided on one yet. A card table, a pool table, couches, a TV for the big game. You name it, it’s probably crossed our minds.



Prior to the deep freeze, we did get lucky with an extended, Indian summer. Giving us more time for the wheels to turn and to envision what this space could be. One of those visions was a wall of open shelves, library ladder included. We have a ton of fun DIY and woodworking projects that didn’t have a place to be displayed, and these open shelves were the perfect place to feature them.

To get started, Dan installed black vertical shelving tracks and large L brackets to hold up the wooden shelves. For the shelves, he cut down pine boards that were 3/4″ thick and 8″ wide. The boards were cut to various lengths so that when it came time for installation, we could stagger the shelves and make it more of a fun feature wall. To finish them off, he tested out a wood-aging method that involved using steel wool and vinegar in order to give the wood, you guessed it, a more natural, aged look.


Once this was completed, he added a few layers of Minwax Dark Walnut stain, topped with poly.

With the wood finished, it was time to piece this project together. We played around with placement a bit before deciding exactly where we wanted each of the shelves to sit. Once they were in place, Dan used screws to secure the L bracket to the bottom of the wood shelves.

To add to the feature wall, Dan also built a library ladder that was both fun and functional.



And as you can see, the shelves filled up pretty quickly.


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