Easy Garden Key Hide




About: I'm an animation director by day and Queen of the monsters by night. I picked up most of my costume and prop building skills through hands on experimentation with materials. Experimentation led to addictio...

Under the mat is way too obvious, and many of the commercially available key hides (i.e. fake rocks) look a little odd in an apartment courtyard setting. So where can you hide an emergency key that will look totally seamless with the surroundings and be easy to access when you need it?

In this Ible I'll show you how to make an easy incognito garden key hide. If you've got even a square foot of dirt in front of your door, you can make this handy and attractive secret hide for your own home. This piece also makes a great stash for Geocache items if you were to install it in a public setting!

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Step 1: You Will Need...

Our list for this project is super simple!

1 Empty Plastic Vitamin Bottle -- Anything with a tight fitting screw on lid will do. I used an empty container of reptile vitamin dust.

1 Additonal Container slightly larger than your bottle --This can be plastic or glass, and no lid is required. Check to make sure your bottle nests inside it comfortably.

1 Shallow Planter or Dish -- Ceramic or terra-cotta work very well. The fewer drainage holes in the bottom, the better. Excess moisture over time could affect your adhesive.

LoctiteGo2 Gel or other moisture proof adhesive.

Small Plants of your choosing --I recommend succulents for this project if your climate supports them.

Step 2: Containers

Choose your containers well.

Inner Bottle: As I mentioned before, your bottle should have a screw on lid. You may remove any paper or plastic labels if you wish, though leaving the label intact will not affect your final product adversely. I left mine in place because I like the chameleon :)

Outer Container:Choose a second container slightly larger than your bottle in both height and width.To nest the bottle inside it should be a comfortable fit, not a tight squeeze.

Step 3: Adhesion

Apply your adhesive evenly to the top of the bottle lid ONLY.

I suggest using Loctite "Go2 Gel" because it is both temperature and water resistant.Since this will be outdoors, those factors are important for durability over time.

Press the bottle onto the underside of your shallow planter dish. Your bottle will probably be wide enough to self-support while it dries, so there's no need to keep your hand on it.

Allow 1hr dry time, or follow the cure instructions on your adhesive's packaging.

Step 4: Ground Port

While you wait, you can take care of what I'll call the "ground port".

The second container will serve as a port for your pill bottle hide, giving it a place to dock and protecting it from dirt, moisture, and insects. That way when you go to retrieve your emergency key you won't have to get your hands dirty or worry about the bottle being covered in creepy crawlies.

Choose the location for your hide. This will depend on your own landscaping. You could place it among many plants in your garden, or make the hide a stand alone pot next to the door. Choose an option that looks casual and is unlikely to be disturbed by neighbors, dogs, the mailman, etc.

Using a trowel, dig a hole in the dirt approximately the height of your container. Wiggle it down in there for a level setting.

Scoop the displaced dirt back around your container. Sculpt and pat as needed until the earth is flush with the mouth of the container.

Step 5: Make It Pretty

Once your adhesive is dry, unscrew the lid from your bottle. It will be easier to fill the planter dish without the whole bottle dangling off the bottom.

Using your trowel or hands, fill your planter with appropriate soil for your chosen plants. I used a mix of potting soil and the crappy sandy stuff in our garden patch, since succulents actually seem to like it.

Fill with plants. This is a great place to start our young plants, knowing you'll transfer them as they get too large. I used succulents because:

1) They require less water. This means it's less likely I'll have water spill out of the planter when I go to use the key, and I decrease the chances of moisture loosening my adhesive over time.

2) Succulents are everywhere in southern California, so a person wouldn't think twice about them being in the garden near my door. Totally incognito!

When choosing your plant, try to stay small enough that it's within the boundaries of the dish and don't use anything too prickly.You want the dish to be easy to grab when you need it. So, be smart --don't use a cactus.

Step 6: Hide Your Stash

Place the key or other loot inside the pill bottle. If you've built this hide for geocaching, you'll have plenty of room for trickiest and a paper log!

Screw the pill bottle back onto the secured lid.

Slide the pill bottle into the ground port. It should fit firm and level on the ground and look totally natural.

Look at these two neighboring planters in photo #5. Now look at my garden as a whole in #6. If you didn't already know my secret, you wouldn't suspect a thing!

This smart and easy set up will keep your house key and secure and dry until you need it. Just Lift the planter upwards out of the ground port and open the bottle!

I hope you enjoyed this Ible, and now that you basically know how to break into my apartment, I'd love to have your vote in the Hiding Places or Back Yard contest! ;P Post photos below if you make your own incognito garden hide!

Hiding Places Contest

Runner Up in the
Hiding Places Contest

Backyard Contest

Participated in the
Backyard Contest



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    14 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You can always move the ground port to a new location if you have to move the hide. Mom probably knows how to get into your living space anyway, so you're probably fine ;)


    4 years ago

    Wow wow. Just a great Idea. Much better then placing it under a rock and forgetting which rock then there's no rock and now another spare key but no where to put it until Now.
    Great little garden very water friendly

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Glad you liked it! I agree that keeping the key hide discreet but easy to remember is important. I was specifically thinking of when we go out of town and need someone to come feed the cats. This little pot would be easy to describe to someone if they got locked out or forgot their key.


    4 years ago

    great one, I love making these for houses, cars, boats and farms. creative and your ingenuity keeps it fun. people I showed years ago when I did them a lot started wanting to buy. I just tried everybody even house hold items for locked closet or safe. have fun * I liked 5 * God bless


    4 years ago

    Brilliant idea! Definitely going on my weekly to do list this week. Thanx.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You're welcome! The whole thing took less than 2hrs, and most of that was just waiting for the Loctite to set. I'm sure you'll be able to squeeze it in ;)


    4 years ago

    Thank you for a great Ible. I've been trying to figure out how to hide a spare key without spending money on fancy things. Excellent!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! This project cost me a grand total of $0 since I had the dish and had mature succulents to pluck the babies from. Even if you have to purchase all that new I'm sure this will stay under $10. Good luck!