In-ground Pop-Up Storage

  • Proof of Concept
  • Summer 2018
  • SketchUp Pro

To address the storage needs west coast homes with small lots I designed this storage module that ‘pops-up’ from a below grade position. The design uses all off the shelf products with the major components being one electric jack and a corrugated steel shed.

The design has two goals. First, a usable storage space for bikes, scooters, motorcycles and garden tools. Second, low cost with simple engineering. The first goal is achieved by using a prefabricated commercial storage shed. The second goal of keeping the engineering simple is helped along by not requiring the shed to be fully submerged below grade.


When in the ‘down’ position the shed sits about three quarters below grade. The above grade portion is ‘disguised’ as a large functional planter. In the up position the eight foot tall shed is fully above grade. This design keep the cost down because it requires shallower excavation and a simple electric jack.

The control unit is a simple industrial push button switch and could be located close to the shed or within the home. The electric jack is powered by single phase 120 volt mains and can lift 1200 to 2500 pounds depending on model.

The unit can be located where it is safe to excavate 5 to 6 feet below grade. Front yards and side yards would be the prime location to allow access for bike, scooter and motorcycles. Besides the space saving advantage the design also provides a high degree of security. The up/down switch can be keyed and even located inside a lock box or in the residence.

Following through with the design for condominiums a developer could put a pop-up in-ground storage container directly below parking spaces in under ground garages. A resident would simply remove their car from the parking stall and press a button on a key fob to raise their personal storage container. What a wonderful perk that would be for luxury condo owners.

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