Our Privacy screen project is done, but here are the how tos on how to do it yourself! Remeber, we wanted to build some screens (a) to hide the chain link fence. (Bleh, I think it’s ugly)(b) to get some privacy from our neighbours garden and(c) to add some more weight to this side of the garden, as the other side got a full fence last summer. It seemed “uneven” to have all the wood on one side of the yard. Here is the DIY post.
Some have e-mailed me to ask for a how-to on how Aubrey did our privacy screens. My apologies for the delay or non response – the reason is – I had no idea how to explain what Aubrey did! I just came up with the idea, and he figured out, as he always does, how to make it happen. So I asked him to write it out for me, and so here is a little post from Aubrey explaining how to do your own privacy screens. – Linds
STEP 1: MAKE THE DECISIONS
The first step was to make all the decisions…How many you’ll be putting up, how tall they will be, what they will look like. Essentially you need to have a complete picture of them in your mind. I highly recommend marrying someone who is very good at the “vision thing”, it makes this part much easier. Lucky for me, I did, so the design is all Lindsay (I tend to only disagree with her when the dollar figure gets really big or when something is going to be really difficult.) *
STEP 2: SHOPPING TRIP
The next step was to buy the wood and concrete. Here’s what we used to make 1 screen
(1) 4×4 posts, 2 for each screen (and we made sure they were long enough to go 4 feet underground.)
(2) post toppers (2 per screen)
(3) 2×4’s (enough length for the top and bottom of each screen)
(4) square lattice (one 4′ x 8′ sheet per screen)
(5) plenty of nailing strips (in my case 12 per screen)
(6) 2 bags of quick setting concrete per post (We used Rapid Post – a type specifically made for fence posts that set very quickly and did not require premixing.)
STEP 3: DIGGING THE HOLES
Once I had all that on hand, I measured out where the centre of each post would be needed and started to dig. The bags of cement have specs on them so I just did what they said. I dug the holes to have an 8 inch diameter and I went 4 feet down. (you want to get beneath the frost line)
(Because I knew the holes wouldn’t be filled right away because I needed a break, I covered the holes so that rain wouldn’t fill the holes up)
TIP: If you have more than two holes to dig, don’t do them by hand. My hands were silently screaming at me for a few days afterwards, and the blisters were not pretty either. Places like Home Depot and Lowes rent powered augers for less than $100 per day. It’s worth it. After recovering from my dig day, it was time to set the posts.
STEP 4: CEMENT TIME
I put each of the posts in their holes and measured to make sure they were the right distance apart. TIP: We chose to make things easy – we made the screens 4 feet in width (the 2 posts 4 feet apart) so I would only have to cut the lattice for height. (Lattice comes in 4ft widths) If you wanted thinner screens, then you would have to cut the lattice some more.
The info on the cement bags claimed that you could simply put the post in the hole, add their mixture and the right amount of water, and then set the post to be straight without using supports to keep them exactly where they needed be. I didn’t believe them, I still don’t. And I was not going to be digging those holes again so I took some extra precautions.
I followed the instructions about adding the concrete and water around the post and mixing it up a bit it with a long stick but I used my level and screwed on supports to keep them in place.
Before I started the next set of posts I made sure to install the 2×4’s on the first. Aside from framing the top and bottom of the screens they also helped keep the posts the right distance apart and prevented them from shifting while the concrete set.
It was a lot of work to move around those bags of concrete, buckets of water, and set the posts myself, so I would recommend having someone there to help. I managed to do all 3 sets in one afternoon which left us with 3 vertical rectangles in our yard. All that was left to do was fill them with lattice. That was the job on day 3.
STEP 4: FILLING IN THE FRAME, FINAL DAY
On the inside of the frame, towards the back I installed the nailing strips. I made sure they were the same distance from the back edge of the frame and went all the way around the rectangle not leaving any gaps (might as well look nice from the neighbour’s yard too.)
Next I cut the sheets of lattice to fit between the top and bottom 2×4’s (side to side already fit thanks to a bit of preplanning.) Once they were propped up in place I used more nailing strips all the way around pinching the sheets of lattice in place.
The final piece of the project was to chop the tops of the posts off (at the same height of course) and add the post toppers.
Here are the screens completed – we’ve used planting inbetween the screens to fill in the spaces to hide the fence.
All told, we spent well under $300, I spent 3 afternoons in the sun, and another of Lindsay’s visions looked excellent in real life too.
If we’ve missed something and have any questions, let us know! I’m the one (Lindsay) the gets the comments, but I’ll pass along questions to Aub. 😉