Dumpster enclosures are evolving from simple chain-link fence barriers with slats, to more complex and aesthetically appealing – and more effective – structures. A dumpster enclosure on a commercial or institutional property isn’t just for keeping your unsightly dumpster out of sight, but if built the right way, will also keep marauders, both human and animal, out. Take it a step further and add some thoughtful visual appeal to the materials and design, and you have a structure that is in harmony with your business, while preventing access to the garbage.

But before you plan your dumpster enclosure, there are some important things to think about. You want your enclosure to be serviceable for a long time, and don’t want to be faced with space or other issues after it’s built.

Protect Enclosure Walls

Protect enclosure walls and gate with bumpers, poles, and curbs. Maneuvering vehicles in the parking lot can cause significant damage, as can the emptying and replacing of dumpsters.

Place these protective structures inside the enclosure as well, for added strengthening.

Pay Attention to the Gate

The dumpster gate should be of good quality, with these features:

  • Strong hinges that can hold up heavy gates – Hinges are subject to strain, and should be heavy duty, particularly if the gates are made of steel.
  • Strong pins, installed at a good depth – Gates are subject to considerable stress when the wind blows, and can even blow open if not well secured. Gate hardware should be of good quality, while enclosures should have strong, thick pins, sunk at least 2 inches deep into asphalt to stabilize. Preventing gates from blowing open not only protects the dumpster and contents, but will help keep passing vehicles from unintended encounters with the gate.
  • Sufficient ground clearance – Your gate should be installed with sufficient ground clearance so it opens and closes properly. Over time, land can subside, and gates can sag, so make sure yours is a few inches off the ground, and that it swings open and shut easily when refuse crews arrive to empty the dumpster.

Plan for a Wide Opening

Your dumpster enclosure’s opening should be wide enough to allow the dumpsters to be moved in and out efficiently. This will save time, but also prevent damage to the enclosure walls. If you’ve ever noticed other dumpster enclosures with damage near the openings, you can bet the opening is not large enough for easy access.

Design for Durability as Well as Aesthetic Appeal

Commercial gate enclosures offer an opportunity for the property owner to get creative. A wide variety of attractive designs and materials are used by business owners to enclose dumpsters these days, including board and batten cedar, vinyl enclosures and surrounds, modular panel systems, simulated stone surrounds and cellular PVC and composite surrounds. Whatever material you use, do choose heavy-duty steel posts whenever possible to reinforce the strength of the enclosure.