Plans for a Garden Tool Rack

1 Jan 2009

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have some money *and* a reliable contractor, and the result was a new garage. But once it was done, I couldn't bring myself to put nails or hooks into the shiny new walls that I had just painted. So I went off to look at tool racks.

I found some freestanding racks, but they were plastic, pretty expensive and didn't seem to hold much. Then while shopping at home cheapo I saw a store display rack that looked about right, and I figured I'd try copying it. It worked out pretty well!

My design for a tool rack holds 30 garden tools in about four square feet. Plans and directions are below. I used whatever lumber was lying around. A few tips:

Please drop me a line with a picture if you build one yourself! Tell me what I forgot and I'll update this page.



  1. 1/2 sheet 1/2" Douglas fir plywood (4' x 4' x 1/2")
    [or 3 pre-cut 2x2 sheets from a big-box store]
  2. 3 pieces 1 x 4 pine @ 8'
  3. 2 pieces 1 x 4 pine @ 10'
  4. 12 L brackets @ 1 1/2"
  5. box of 100 flat-head wood screws #8 x 1 1/4"
  6. 24 flat-head wood screws #8 x 3/4"
  7. Optional: 4 2" swivel wheels, about $4 ea

Cut sheet

  1. Panels: 3 @ 24" x 24" cut from 1/2" plywood
  2. Panel frames: 12 @ 23 1/4" cut from 8' lengths
  3. Legs: 8 @ 30" cut from 10' lengths


  1. Clamp two 2'x2' (top and middle) panels together.
  2. Drill round holes 2" diameter on 4" centers, set in 1" from sides.
  3. Connect some holes with a jig saw to make ovals as shown.
  4. Build three panel frames with four 23 1/4" pieces of 1x4 by
    attaching L brackets on the inside corners with the 3/4" screws.
  5. Attach panels to frames using the 1 1/4" screws.
  6. Rip down four legs to 2 3/4" (if the table saw needs some exercise :-)
  7. Attach legs to frame-panel assemblies using the 1 1/4" screws.
    Leave a gap between the middle and bottom frames for your hand,
    and another gap between the bottom frame and floor for a broom.
  8. Add wheels (not shown in plans) if you'd like to roll it around.

Update October 2010: Chuck of Mansfield, TX sent me a picture of this very fine rack he built using these plans. Sure looks better than mine! He reports that it cost him $45 and four hours labor.

Update August 2011: Pete H. of Seattle, WA sent me a picture and this note:

The plans are spot on. Appreciate the cutting notes for the boards. I used pre-cut 2x2 sheets of plywood from Home Cheapo. I added a set of wheels on the bottom. I have this in a corner by the front of my garage door and the wheels allow me to simple roll it out and access any tool I need. I had some left over stain so I used that you make it look "richer". Too fancy for the garage? The thing is solid and does not tip or get top heavy, something that I was concerned about with the store models.

Re wheels - Four swivel wheels from Home Depot... 2inch ... I still have the bill... part number 039003094778 ... $3.48 each.

Update April 2013: Gaizka L. built a custom version of this tool rack and sent me some details:

I got mine built inspired by your design. Thanks for the concept and the tips. I didn't follow the blueprints, but borrowed some IP our of it. I did include the wheels for easier access and also added a serrated edge. That way I can just rest a tool that I'm currently using (or in case the rack itself is full). I also found a purchased tool hanger hanging around and I attached it to the side. It might be over-engineered, but is fun to see how it's been evolving. I can clearly see where my thought process changed during the build.

Update February 2015: Brandon C. of Yorktown, TX made a double-wide tool rack:

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your tool rack plans. I built one 2'x4' with 6 casters and a special hole for my fiskar post hole diggers.

Update January 2018: How do you feel about plastic and steel? If you're in a hurry, Rubbermaid sells a "deluxe tool tower" garage storage unit for about $40:

Update January 2018: Matthew B. of Wakeman, OH supersized the rack plans and sent me a picture of the result:

Hi Chris,

I just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration I found in your garden tool rack plan/blog. I modified it a bit, increasing the dimensions to 48" x 32" and using 3/4" plywood and 2x4s. The added width increased stability and I was able to use an 8-foot sheet of plywood with no waste. I also had to decrease the on-center spacing of the holes to 3-7/8" to allow for a 12 x 8 grid of holes between the outer frames of 2x4s. The materials cost a bit more, but the result is heavy-duty and it saved a ton of space, not to mention holes in my shop liner!

Thanks a ton, Matt B
Wakeman, Ohio

Update July 2018: Dodie K. B. of Walnut Creek, CA built a long but shallow version of this tool rack and shared the results:

I don't know if you are still updating your blog or your blog is still active. But I found your pictures and instructions on how to build a garden tool rack and made a custom one to fit my small shed. Also my wife wanted to put the shovels in with handles up and shovel side down, so had to make modifications after I built it. It's 16" wide, because I could cut the 3 pieces from one sheet of plywood without any waste.

Size 16" wide x 6' feet long. Took about 8 hours.

Thanks for the instructions!

Update Feb 2019: Paulo P. P. of Lisbon, Portugal scaled down the tool rack, upgraded to solid wood and added drawers:

I found your pictures and instructions on how to build a garden tool rack and made a custom one to fit my small workshop.

Size 24" wide x 12" long. I also put 2 drawers.

Thanks for the instructions!

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