Patent application title: Garden Ornament and Stake Organizational Rack
Rebecca Koessl (Racine, WI, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47F700FI
Class name: Special article article includes elongated portion tool
Publication date: 2012-11-15
Patent application number: 20120285912
Disclosed is a garden ornament and garden stake organizational rack
adapted to support a plurality of articles in an upright or suspended
fashion for improved access thereto and organization thereof. The rack
comprises a first and second shelf positioned in a tiered configuration,
wherein each shelf provides a plurality of apertures thereon to support
garden stakes, support posts of garden ornaments and tools therein. The
shelves are supported by posts that connect to a common platform. Also
connecting to the platform is an angled ornament support arm, wherein the
arm provides grooves within which garden ornaments may be suspended
therealong in a separated fashion. The rack provides a means to organize
seasonal lawn and garden ornaments in an upright and suspended fashion,
wherein the ornaments are often rotated between seasons and require
storage between deployments.
1. A lawn and garden ornament and stake organizational rack, comprising:
a base platform, at least one elevated stake support shelf, and an angled
hanging article support arm; said at least one elevated support shelf
being supported above said platform by an offset created by a plurality
of upstanding supports spanning said offset; said at least one shelf and
said base platform having aligned apertures adapted to simultaneously
support an upstanding stake; said angled hanging article support arm
having an upstanding portion connecting to said base platform and an
angled portion having a plurality of notches within which to discretely
support hanging articles therealong.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one elevated shelf and said angled hanging article support arm being contained with said base platform footprint.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein said rack includes a first and second elevated shelf, said first and second shelf being offset from said base platform different distances to accommodate different length stakes therethrough.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein said shelf and base platform apertures are circular.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein said shelf and base platform apertures are oval.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein said base platform apertures do not extend through said platform thickness, preventing said stakes from penetrating therethrough.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/485,404 filed on May 12, 2011, entitled "Garden Stake Holder."
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to organizational racks for garden equipment, ornaments and tools. More specifically, the present invention relates to an organizational rack that provides support for both post-supported garden stake ornaments and hanging ornaments, wherein access to and organization of the ornamental articles is improved while their overall storage footprint is reduced.
 Lawn and garden ornaments are articles that are utilized to personalize an outdoor space or to decorate the space for a given season. These articles generally include an ornamental body structure for a given theme or style, wherein the body attaches to an elongated post that forms a ground stake to support the body in an upright position. The ground stake provides a pointed distal end for ground penetration purposes, wherein the stake is driven into the soil a sufficient distance to stably support the ornament for a prolonged period of time. Home owners and decorators find these articles very useful for improving the aesthetic appeal of a lawn, garden or similar outdoor space.
 Along with ground-supported outdoor ornaments, another class of ornamentation are those ornaments that are suspended from a support structure. These include wind chimes, hanging seasonal or holiday ornaments and similar hanging ornaments that provide decoration and personalization. Wind chimes are adapted to create tones based on movement of the device in the wind while suspended, while static ornaments are popular during holidays or specific events. Examples include hanging scarecrows or ghosts during Halloween, hanging Christmas ornaments and similar ornaments that are adapted to be suspended or hung from a support post and in an elevated position.
 The present invention is related to a device for storing and organizing ornaments of both types, specifically ground-stake ornaments and hanging ornaments. The device comprises a rack system that employs a plurality of stake support locations along two shelves of differing heights, which allows differing length stake ornaments to be efficiently organized. A common base platform connects the two shelves, while an upstanding hanging ornament support arm extends from the base to support hanging ornaments in a separated and organized manner. The assembly reduces overall storage space required for the articles and more efficiently organizes ornaments of different style and shape in a single rack assembly.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART
 Organizational racks have been disclosed in the prior art, including those that have been patented or disclosed in published patent application documents. Most of these devices relate to tool racks for the purposes of organizing lawn or garden tools for improved access and more efficient organization. These devices lack the ability to store both hanging ornaments and ground stake ornaments in the same device, and fail to disclose the novel features of the present rack system. The following is a list of what is considered the most relevant devices in the prior art, including a description thereof and identification of differentiating features with regard to the present invention.
 Specifically, U.S. Pat. No. 6,213,314 to Beemer is one such device that discloses a portable rack for garden tools that supports tool during gardening and light landscaping operations. The rack comprises a central column having a sharpened lower end to allow for ground penetration, while a spade prevents rotation of the column once placed into the ground surface. A plurality of laterally extending cross-members provide a location for which to secure hanging garden tools and a support for which to rest elongated garden tools, eliminating the need for the user to bend over to grasp a tool when switching. The Beemer device provides a convenient, portable tool support for use in the field, wherein a plurality of different tools is accessed for a given task. The present invention provides a more efficient storage device that supports upstanding garden stakes for organizational purposes. A plurality of shelves is provided having apertures through which to place garden stakes and other yard decorations, while an upstanding support pole provides support for hanging ornaments. The present invention is more adapted for organizational purposes and for storing lawn and garden ornaments, as opposed to a mobile tool support device for use on a farm or field.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,467,925 to Ratzloff is another device that discloses a tool and article rack adapted to be mounted against a vertical wall surface and support a plurality of garden tools in conjunction with a wheel barrow. The device comprises a horizontal rack member that slideably receives a plurality of brackets, along with sleeves for which to support upstanding wheel barrow or tool handles. A vertical rack member is coupled to the horizontal rack member to provide a lower support location and offset for the base of a supported wheel barrow. The offset allows the wheel barrow to be supported away from the wall while also allowing several tools to be supported by the horizontal rack simultaneously. The Ratzloff device, while providing a tool or article organizational rack, diverges in spirit from the present invention, which is a free-standing rack adapted to support upstanding garden stakes and suspended garden ornaments therefrom. The Ratzloff device alternatively is related to a combination hand tool and wheel barrow wall support device.
 Further, U.S. Pat. No. 7,040,493 to Lin discloses a garden tool rack having a hollow rack body having a center upright barrel adapted to support a garden tool handlebar, along with a plurality of plugholes about the upright barrel for supporting garden tool implements attachable to the handlebar. The rack further comprises a plurality of anchoring ground stakes extending from the base of the rack for penetrating soil and stabilizing the assembly. The assembly provides a convenient, organized array of garden tool implements that are supported in an upright position and can be accessed individually for attachment to the garden tool handlebar. While providing a tool organizer and support stand, the Lin device provides not means to support garden stakes and other ornaments, which is a primary concern of the present invention. The design of the present invention allows for the support of various garden stakes in an upstanding configuration, while hanging ornaments such as scarecrows and similar devices can be suspended from an upstanding support member.
 Finally, U.S. Published Patent Application Publication No. 2009/0255883 to Boyd describes a multifunctional and rotatable tool storage device, comprising a telescopic tube that attaches a first and second tool tray thereto. The telescopic nature of the tubing allows tools to be stored on the trays and the trays to be moved in elevation with respect to the ground surface or one another. The trays themselves are rotatable about the central tube, wherein the tube is attachable to a workbench, floor, ceiling or any other similar support surface desired. The trays provide a surface to support tools, while a plurality of apertures on the trays allow hand tools to be inserted therethrough. The Boyd disclosure provides a tool support article having a telescopic nature and a plurality of support trays. The present invention, by contrast, provides a garden ornament and stake organizational tool.
 The present invention provides a new and novel means of organizing lawn and garden stake ornaments in conjunction with hanging ornaments. The structure of the rack provides support for the ground stake portion of the ornaments, including those of differing lengths, while also providing a support arm for storing hanging ornaments in a suspended state for prolonged periods. The rack system organizes ornaments of these two types, which is particularly useful for seasonal or holiday ornaments that are regularly changed and stored between uses. It substantially diverges in design elements from the prior art and consequently it is clear that there is a need in the art for an improvement to existing organizational rack devices. In this regard the instant invention substantially fulfills these needs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of organizational racks now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new organizational rack wherein the same can be utilized for providing convenience for the user when storing and efficiently organizing both ground stake and hanging ornaments between uses.
 It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved organizational rack device that has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide an organizational rack that is adapted to store both upstanding ground ornaments and hanging ornaments in a single rack device, wherein efficient storage is facilitated.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide an organizational rack that employs tiered shelving having apertures thereon to provide support for garden stake ornaments in an upright position, wherein stakes of varying length are accommodated and can be stored in an organized and easily accessible manner.
 Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an organizational rack having an angled support arm that supports hanging ornaments, wherein the arm comprises several notches to discretely position the hanging ornament along the arm without the risk of tangling or bunching.
 A final object of the present invention is to provide an organizational rack device that is of simple construction and one that is inexpensive to manufacture.
 Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS
 Although the characteristic features of this invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims, the invention itself and manner in which it may be made and used may be better understood after a review of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like numeral annotations are provided throughout.
 FIG. 1 shows an overhead perspective view of the present rack.
 FIG. 2 shows a backside perspective view of the present rack.
 FIG. 3 shows a backside perspective view of the present rack in a working state supporting a plurality of ornaments.
 FIG. 4 shows a frontal perspective view of the present rack in a working state supporting a plurality of ornaments.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Reference is made herein to the attached drawings. Like reference numerals are used throughout the drawings to depict like or similar elements of the organizational rack. For the purposes of presenting a brief and clear description of the present invention, the preferred embodiment will be discussed as used for supporting both hanging and ground stake ornaments. The figures are intended for representative purposes only and should not be considered to be limiting in any respect.
 Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an overhead perspective view of the ornament organizational rack of the present invention. The rack comprises a first 11 and second 12 shelf connected to a base platform 18 via a plurality of upstanding supports 14. The supports 14 position the shelves in a tiered configuration, wherein the first shelf 11 is positioned higher than the second shelf 12 for accommodating stakes of varying length. Along the surface of each shelf are a plurality of apertures adapted to accept stakes therethrough, including circular apertures 17 and oval shaped apertures 16 for accepting stakes of differing dimension. The shelves 11, 12 are adapted to support garden stakes, plant stakes and ground stakes of lawn and garden ornaments in an upright position and in an organized relationship to one another along the surface of the shelves. Corresponding apertures along the base 18 are provided that align with those along the shelves for placement of the stakes thereinto, preventing the base of the stakes from moving once positioned through apertures in the shelves. These base apertures may include through-holes or extend only partially through the thickness of the base.
 Upwardly extending from the base 18 is an angled ornament support arm 13, which comprises an upstanding portion that connects to the base 18 and an angled portion that includes a plurality of notches along which are placed hanging ornaments. Hanging ornaments are thus supported by the arm in a discrete order and prevented from bunching or tangling along the arm. The arm 13 angles above the base 18 and does not increase the overall footprint of the assembly beyond the area of the base 18. The arm 13 combined with the shelving provides an assembly that is capable of organizing and supporting two different types of lawn and garden ornaments: staked ornaments and hanging ornaments. Staked ornaments include garden stakes that support an ornamental body above the soil, while hanging ornaments include those that are suspended from another support, such as wind chimes and seasonal hanging ornaments.
 Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a backside perspective view of the organizational rack of the present invention. As shown, the rack comprises a first and second shelf 11, 12 that are positioned adjacent to one another and supported at two different heights. Each of the shelves includes a plurality of stake support apertures thereon, which correspond to apertures along the base 18 supporting the shelves. While in use, the stake portion of an ornament, ground stake or garden stakes is slotted through an aperture of the shelf 11, 12 and into the aligned aperture in the base 18 for static support thereof. The body portion of the ornament is positioned above the shelf in an upstanding configuration. The differing heights of the two shelves allows stakes of different lengths to be supported as necessary, while the angled arm 13 provides support for hanging ornaments. The angled arm 13 includes a plurality of notches 19 that are used to separate hanging ornaments along the length of the arm 19, while its overall height accommodates the length of the ornament and its hanging support structure.
 The design of the rack comprises a base platform 18, a pair of stake support shelves 11, 12 aligned in a tiered configuration and supported by upstanding posts 14, along with an angled ornament support arm 13 that extends upward from the base 18 and provides a notched length to support hanging articles thereon. The first 11 and second shelf 12 do not extend over the ends of the platform footprint, while the arm 13 provides an elevated position for which to place hanging ornaments also positioned above the platform 18. The goal is to efficiently and neatly organize garden and lawn stakes, ornaments and hanging articles in a convenient and accessible rack that consumes a small footprint in a user's household. Seasonal and holiday ornaments are often changed throughout the year, and are generally stored for prolonged periods between use, therefore an efficient storage system is preferred for reducing clutter and improving accessibility when a specific ornament is desired.
 Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, there are shown a perspective views of the present organizational rack of the present invention in a working state, supporting a plurality of both ground stake ornaments and hanging ornaments. In use, hanging ornaments 21 are suspended from individual notches 19 along the angled arm 13, while garden stakes and ground ornaments 20 are placed through the apertures 16, 17 in the first 11 and second 12 shelf. The apertures may be provided in two configurations: circular 17 and oval 16. This allows stakes of different geometry to be accommodated along both shelves. Further, those stakes having a first stake and a secondary stabilizing stake are supported using a pair of apertures along the shelf. Larger ornaments 22 having more elongated stakes 23, as well as smaller ornaments 20 having more slender and shorter ground stakes are able to be supported in an organized and efficient manner via the shelves, while the angled support arm provides support for hanging ornaments in their deployed state, eliminating the need to lay down hanging ornaments or compress them into a smaller state. This prevents tangling and problems when fetching the hanging ornament after it has been stored for a prolonged period of time.
 In alternate embodiments to the preferred design, a singular shelf of uniform height may be provided in conjunction with the angled support arm, or conversely more shelves of differing height may be included in the design, increasing the overall size of the assembly and the number of stakes the device can accommodate. In use, the present invention in any embodiment is designed to efficiently organize lawn and garden ornaments utilizing either stake support or hanging support, such that these items can be easily stored and retrieved without damage or risk of losing the ornament. Further, the assembly may be moved outdoors to allow stakes to be withdrawn and placed into the rack as desired, while the ornaments are being exchanged or replaced.
 Garden stakes and yard decorations may be difficult to store, as homes may not contain designated storage areas for these items. Users generally hang these items on walls, which can be a waste of wall space. Placing these items in storage bins or on garage floors may cause clutter, and may leave the items susceptible to damage. Additionally, users may have difficulty finding and accessing specific items that are stored on floors or inside bins. The present invention is designed to facilitate organized and accessible storage of articles of this type, including ground-mounted and hanging decorations. This innovative rack design preferably features a first and second shelf level containing a plurality of support apertures. The first shelf can be positioned higher than the second, allowing support of differing height stakes. The apertures in both shelves can also vary in size and shape to accommodate different types of stakes and support poles. Users may utilize the rack to store outdoor scarecrow decorations, wind chimes, garden stakes, and other similar decorative, seasonal and holiday items. Its use reduces clutter in households, and may allow users to easily locate and access their lawn and garden items.
 In light of the given disclosure and the aforementioned prior art, it is desired to disclose a new storage rack device that is keenly adapted for storing lawn and garden stakes, lawn ornaments and hanging articles that often require long-term storage between uses. The rack is designed to efficiently and neatly organize these items and facilitate swift retrieval, while also reducing their overall footprint within a household and during storage periods. It is therefore submitted that the instant invention has been shown and described in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.
 Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
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