You never want to underestimate the importance of a good garden hose, especially if you have a bigger garden or a lot of flower beds to tend to. However, despite this importance, garden hoses can be a nuisance, especially if you don’t have a solid garden hose reel on-hand to store them when you’re not using them. Some gardeners like to buy theirs, but this can get expensive if you have more than one hose, or you can make a DIY hose reel that perfectly fits your style and design aesthetic while being strong enough to support even the largest garden hoses.
Chances are, if you’re here, you’re already a DIY enthusiast, and this is great. We’ve put together a basic guide to creating a few DIY hose reels that will give you ample storage space for your hoses. Most of these plans are very easy to implement, and they’re relatively cost-effective. The goal is to spark your creativity, so let’s jump in.
A garden hose reel is a great way to keep the hose up off the ground and out from underfoot, and it’s also helpful for keeping your hose in good working order.
Defining a Hose Reel
As the name suggests, a hose reel is a structure that you coil your hose around to store it. Winding the hose around this structure keeps it safe from the elements, and it will help to keep your hose in great working condition by avoiding damage and preventing it from bunching up. Not only is a DIY hose reel helpful, but you can turn it into a fun design element in your garden. It can save your lawn from having dead spots appear where you have left your hose laying about too.
You can buy your hose reel at any store, but the prices range from $30 up to over $200. The price will depend on what material the hose reel is made out of, and it can be steep. So, many people choose to make their own DIY hose reel to save money and get the perfect look for their space.
Basic Steps for Building a DIY Hose Reel
The first step to make your own DIY hose reel is to decide which kind of reel you want to make. There are several options available, and some are much more involved than others. The most popular types of hose reels you can build or buy are:
- Hideaway Hose Reel – Hideaway hose reels are a very fun and easy DIY project. You use them to decoratively cover your existing stationary garden hose reel to make it more decorative and aesthetically pleasing. You can make them using a simple wooden structure, but lots of them feature more intricate lattice designs.
- Hose Reel Carts – A DIY hose reel cart is a mobile hose reel that you build right onto a horizontal surface like a table or cart. They can be very helpful when you’re moving around lots of speciality hose attachments or other garden tools when you’re watering everything.
- Mobile Hose Reel – This DIY hose reel is very similar to the stationary hose reel, but you make it so you can pick it up and move it around the yard. The biggest difference between the two types is that this one usually has a carrying handle or wheels. This makes it easy for you to carry or push it around the garden or yard as you need it.
- Stationary Hose Reel – As you may have guessed from the name, you can’t move a stationary hose reel. This makes this the easiest DIY hose reel to create. You can have them stand on a base or be wall-mounted, and they usually involve a manual crank that you turn to wind your hose up. Make sure to plan this type of DIY hose reel around a spigot so you’ll have easy water access.
Helpful Tools for Building a Hose Reel
Once you settle on a type for your DIY hose reel, your next step is to get all of the tools you’ll need to do this project in one place. This will prevent you from interrupting yourself and running around to grab things in the middle of the project. You’ll most likely need a few key tools to create your DIY hose reel, including a hammer, power drill, measuring tape, saw, sandpaper, and a level.
Once you get your helpful tools in one spot, you can start to build your DIY hose reel. There are several different plans you can find online and follow, and there are many free downloadable plans to follow.
Depending on the size of your hose and how large your yard is, some DIY hose reels can be more involved and complicated than others to create.
Steps and General Practical Guide
The basic parts and assembly steps will be the same, no matter the project, and they include:
Build a Spindle
A bigger wooden wire spool creates a solid and easy spindle for your DIY hose reel. You can find them online relatively cheap, or you can ask at your local utility company. If you can’t get your hands on a cheap wire wooden spool, you can usually find them at your local hardware stores. The basic spindle is between 20 and 25 inches in diameter, and this is usually more than enough room to coil a 25 to 50 foot hose. If you have a longer hose, you want to get a 36-inch wooden wire spool. If you can’t find one, you can easily build one out of PVC pipe and plywood.
Build a Frame
Depending on which type of DIY hose reel you’re going to make, mobile or stationary, you will need to buy treated lumber. The plans you decide to follow will determine how much lumber you end up needing to buy. You can use the treated lumber to form the support frame to hold the wooden wire spool. This frame can be something as simple as dual Xs on the sides of the spindle to hold it up off the lawn, or it can be more complicated.
Attach the Rebar
Rebar is a very useful item to have on-hand when you’re building your DIY hose reel. Measure the diameter of your rebar and get a drill that is slightly larger to drill holes into your lumber base. Thread your rebar through these holes and through the center of the spool. This allows the spool to easily spin when you wind or unwind the hose.
Create a Handle
Getting a simple wooden down with wood screws to attach it to the wooden wire spool will allow you to make a handle to make it easier to use.
Paint the Hose Reel
The final stages of building a DIY hose reel are to stain or paint the wood. You also want to consider weatherproofing your reel so that sprinklers or the rain water don’t cause it to flake or splinter. If you want to create a DIY hose reel that is mobile, you’ll want to find a way to attach bigger rubber wheels to the base.
Connect to the Water Source
Once the paint or stain dries, you can attach your hose. Connect it to the spigot first, and make sure you leave enough slack to allow it to spin easily while staying connected to the faucet. You can use C-clamps to attach the hose to the spindle so that you can coil and uncoil it without it coming off your DIY hose reel.
Detailed Instructions on How to Make a DIY Hose Reel
Now that you know the basics of creating a very simple DIY hose reel, this tutorial will go more in-depth on creating a solid storage space for your hose.
- 1 – 1½-inch PVC cap
- 1 – 1½-inch PVC pipe that is 2 feet long
- 1 – 45° hose elbow
- 1 – 5/8 stainless steel trim-head screws
- 1¼-inch stainless steel trim-head screws
- 1 – ½ by 1½-inch carriage bolt and locknut
- 1 – quick connect hose fitting
- 1 – utility handle
- 2 – 2 by 2 western red cedar boards that are eight feet long
- 2 – 3-inch stainless steel hinges with ¾-inch screws
- 4 – 1 by 6 western red cedar boards that are eight feet long
- 8 – 2-inch stainless steel trim-head screws
- Exterior wood glue
- 1-inch hole saw
- 1 ⅝-inch Forstner bit
- 5/64-inch drill bit
- Bar clamp
- Circular saw with guide
- Orbital sander
- ⅝-inch drill bit
- 1 1/2-Inch PVC Pipe: One at 19 1/2 inches
- 1 by 6 Lid: Four 1 by 6s at 20 inches that you rip one board to 31/2 inches wide
- 1 by 6 Lid Battens: One at 15 inches that you rip in half lengthwise
- 1 by 6 Reel Sides: Two at 13 inches
- 2 by 2 Legs: Four at 16 1/2 inches
- 2 by 2 Reel Frame: One at 14 3/4 inches
- Front and Back: Six 1 by 6s at 18 1/2 inches
- Sides: Six 1 by 6s at 17 1/2 inches
This DIY hose reel will spin freely due to the quick-connect hose fittings that snap together. This reel is created using two 2 by 2s and two 1 by 6s that you attach to a PVC pipe big enough for the hose fittings to slide inside. There will be a crank that turns the whole thing to coil up your hose.
To start, you’ll cut all of you 1 by 6 birds to length and width, following the cut list we outlined above. You’ll only have to make two short rip cuts, including one in a 15-inch 1 by 6 that you cut in half in one if a 20-inch 1 by 6 that you rip to 3 ½-inches wide. To make these cuts, you’ll need to get a circular saw or a table saw with a guide.
It’s a good idea to have everything you need in place to create your DIY hose reel before you start because this can help negate interruptions that can throw off your project flower.
Steps for Building a DIY Wooden Garden Hose Holder
Once you get all of the wood cut for your DIY hose reel, all that is left to do is put it together to form the body. This should be a relatively quick process, and you can follow these steps to get started:
Step 1 – Assemble Your Side Walls
Apply your wood glue to one side of the two parallel 2 by 2s. Bed the faces of three of the side pieces in the glue and set the ends so they’re flush with the 2 by 2s’ edges. Drill two 5/64-inch pilot holes though the ends of your 1 by 6s and into the 2 by 2s. You’ll secure the boards using one ⅝-inch screws. Repeat to form the second wall of your DIY hose reel.
Step 2 – Attach the Four Walls
Lay one of your side walls facedown and put glue on the outer edges of the 2 by 2. Clamp and fasten a front board upright to the 2 by 2 with one ⅝-inch screw. Butt two more boards edge to edge, and you’ll fasten them the same way. Do the same process to create the back wall. Put wood glue on the second sidewall of the 2 by 2. Fit it between the front and back walls and secure it in place using ⅝-inch screws.
Step 3 – Create the Hose Opening
Mark out lines on the top board roughly five inches in from both ends and parallel to them. Put the Forstner bit’s tip on the line you created and align the outer edge of the bit with the bottom edge of the top board. Once you have it, drill through the board at each mark. Mark a new line across the tops of the holes and cut it using your jigsaw. Next, you’ll drill through the center of each of your side walls using this bit.
Step 4 – Build and Attach the Lid
Lay your lid pieces out side by side with the smooth side down. The 3 ½-inch wide piece should be at the hinge end. Glue them and clamp them edge to edge. Next, glue two cleats across the side pieces, making sure they’re four inches from the cut edges. Dripp two 1-inch-deep pilot holes through your battens located on each lid piece before you drive in 1 ¼-inch screws. Attach the hinges to the lid using ¾-inch screws.
Step 5 – Assemble Your Hose Reel
Get your Forstener bit and use it to bore through the centers of two 1 by 6s that are 13-inches long. Beside these holes, you’ll glue and screw each end of the two 14 ¾-inch 2 by 2s to your two 1 by 6s using two, two-inch screws. Using the same bit, drill holes through the centers of both side walls. Then, you’ll drill through the pipe wall using a one-inch hole saw. Make sure your drill spot is two inches from one end.
Step 6 – Install the Reel
Set your reel assembly inside of your box. Side the pipe in until one end is flush to an outside wall. By the end that is opposite of the pipe’s hole, you’ll drive a two-inch screw through the 2 by 2 reel and into the pipe. Drill a ⅝-inch hole into the center of the pip cap. Next, you’ll insert the carriage bolt through the handle of the crank and the cap. Put a lock nut on the bolt’s end.
Step 7 – Connect the Fittings
Press your PVC cap onto the pipe. Drive a 1 ¼-inch screw through the side of your cap to help hold it in place. Separate the two sides of the quick-connect hose fitting. Thread one half onto the hose to the spigot. Fit the 45° fitting into the pipe’s hole, and put it through the pipe’s end at the side wall. Then, you’ll thread the other quick-connect half onto it.
Step 8 – Attach the Hose and Add the Feet
Reconnect your fittings at the side wall of the box. Feed the hose into the opening and connect it to the 45° fitting. Screw furniture feet into the corners to lift the DIY hose reel and get it up off the ground. Next, wind the hose onto the reel. Once you have it outside, pound stakes part ways into the soil next to the 2 by 2s at all four inside corners and screw the stakes to the walls.
You’ve now finished your DIY hose reel and it’s ready to use.
You always want to double-check any measurements before you make cuts so you get it right the first time and don’t waste materials.
DIY Chunky Garden Hose Holder
The final DIY hose reel on the list is a fun project that allows you to hang the hose. You’ll end up with an affordable and fun design, and you won’t have to worry about tripping over your garden hose all of the time. To make it, you’ll need:
- 2 – 2-inch wood screws
- 4 – 1 ¼-inch pocket screws
- 1 – 1 by 12 board cut at 10 ½-inches and beveled at 45° on both ends
- 1 – 4 by 4 cedar post
- 1 – 4 by 4 post cap
- 2 – 1 by 6 board cut at 10 ½-inches and mitered at 25° on both ends
- Kreg jig
- Miter saw
- Sander, or sand paper
- Matte Finish spray paint
- Quick set concrete
- Water and a level
- Wood glue
Step 1 – Make Your Cuts
If you get a 4 by 4 cedar post, you can cut it in half to give you enough to make two DIY hose reels. For the front part, you can use any scraps you have on-hand and make your cuts using a miter saw. For the bottom part of the hose older, you’ll use a 1 by 6 for the sides. If you’re not 100% comfortable cutting angles, you can use straight cuts instead. However, if you want it to look like a garden hose holder, you’ll want to cut angles.
You’ll take your 1 by 12 piece of wood and cut it at 10 ½-inches and then bevel it at 40° at both ends. The short side pieces are also 10 ½-inches long at this point, but you miter them to 25° at both ends.
Step 2 – Assemble the Pieces
Get a jigsaw to drill pocket holes on the underside of your 1 by 12. You want to drill these pocket holes on the non-beveled, longer side of the DIY hose reel. At the seems, you’ll apply a layer of wood glue. Once you drill your pocket holes, you can put the pieces together using your cordless drill and 1¼-inch pocket screws. The pocket holes will be underneath, so you shouldn’t see them.
Step 3 – Sand and Paint It
Once you get everything together, you want to get your sander and go over everything to make sure you get a smooth and splinter-free surface to work with. You can round the edges at this point, and then you can paint them whatever color you like.
Step 4 – Cement the Post in the Ground
When you get everything painted, you may want to cement the post into the ground before you attach the holder. This will give you time to ensure that it’s level, and using quick-set concrete and water is great if you’re a beginner.
First, you want to dig a 10 to 12-inch hole and set your 4 by 4 post in there and fill it roughly ⅓ of the way with water. Then, you’ll add your concrete mix and mix it using a paint stick until you have a consistency like oatmeal. If you add too much concrete and it gets too thick, you can add more water to thin it back out.
Ideally, it’s better for your concrete mix to be on the watery side instead of too thick. If the smallest bag you can get is far more than you need, you can fill an old ice cream bucket with concrete and pour it into the hole. You’ll typically end up using around ⅔ of a one-gallon ice cream bucket for this portion of the project.
Once your cement starts to set, you want to get a level and position your post right where you want it in the hole. Hold it there for a few minutes until it doesn’t move when you release it. This will take 5 to 10 minutes if you work with quick-set concrete.
Step 5 – Attach the Holder to Your Post
Ideally, you’ll allow your post to sit overnight before you attach the holder to ensure it won’t shift when you drill into it. Attach the holder using your cordless drill and two-inch wood screws. This should be more than enough to secure it. After you finish, you can put the post cap on and clean up the area. You can glue the post cap on.
- HappyDIYHome Tip: After a few weeks, your DIY hose reel may get a little tired and start to droop as the hose can be heavy. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to add a support piece. You’ll get a 2 by 3 and bevel it at 45° on both ends. Attach it with two-inch wood screws so it’s under the support piece for the hose and attached to the support post.
This simple DIY hose reel is best for smaller hoses, but you can reinforce the holder part to support more heavy-duty and larger hoses.
In these times, you want to do all you can to reduce your garden costs by embracing fun DIY projects and creating useful pieces for your space. In an attempt to get rid of knots or twists in your hose, and remove the tripping hazard, having a DIY hose reel is a good idea. It takes a little bit of initiative, basic tools, and minimal trial and error to develop most of the plans we laid out. Above all, you want to ensure your DIY hose reel helps to keep your hose in excellent working order for many seasons, and the plans we laid out can help guide you.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.