In DIY/ Garden

Step by Step Instructions on how to build your own Privacy Screens

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.

aubrey

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

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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.) *

screen

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)

garden1

(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.

garden2

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.

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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.

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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.

aubrey2007006

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.

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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. 😉

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    decoratingwanderlust
    July 13, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Your backyard is beautiful and those screens are great. I love looking at your site for inspiration and motivation!

    ~~ Ann

    http://www.decoratingandwanderlust.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Melissa at HOUSEography.net
    July 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    This is great!! I love how it dresses up the chainlink fence so much so that you don't even think about the other fence being there. We're trying to figure out some fence options in our yard as well.

    Melissa
    http://www.houseography.net

  • Reply
    [email protected] at Home
    July 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Your screens are beautiful … they look like they have always been there.

  • Reply
    DesignTies
    July 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Reading these instructions brings back memories of building our backyard fence. Hubby did the hole-digging — half of them by hand because they're along the gas line — and then the two of us rolled container after container of concrete to pour into the holes. Man, what a job!!

    Your privacy screens look great. They really add a lot of interest and dimension to your yard.

    Great vision & execution 🙂

    Kelly

  • Reply
    Design Love
    July 13, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Very nice! We have a neighbor behind us who has the ugly side of the fence facing us….so, I have been wondering how on earth to make our side look decent. Embarrassing, because it's an old ugly fence and people think it's ours! Grrrr
    By the way, I love the "Beaches", so beautiful there…I'm from Peterborough! We are like neighbors…lol
    Great Blog!

    Cindy

  • Reply
    DesignTies
    July 14, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Such a great affect in a yard!! Great work!
    Victoria

  • Reply
    Sarah La Rose
    July 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I really love your backyard! It looks like such a lush green relaxing space. Enjoy it this summer.

  • Reply
    hiphousegirl
    July 26, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Hmm… I do have a couple questions.

    Were you in the neighbors' yard attaching the lattice? And, did you basically just nail it on the backs of the 4x4s?

    Did you put the top and bottom 2x4s up after you'd cemented in the 4x4s?

    Did you treat the wood with anything?

    Sorry if you've already answered these somewhere else on your blog. These look absolutely fantastic.

  • Reply
    Dane
    January 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    So beautiful! I don't know how I missed this post. Your choice of privacy screens is excellent. So many would simply do another wall of wood. You've added interest and tonnes of style!

    Ice tea would be lovely back there!

    *bisous*
    Dane

  • Reply
    Pink Thumb
    January 11, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Thank you for this tutorial! I was actually in search of inspiration to make over our guest bedroom and found your blog. I love that you created this privacy screen. It's been something on my mind for a long time. I showed your pictures to my husband and I think we're going to try this next spring. We too, have a long chain link fence on the right side of our yard with 2 very nosy neighbors.

    I'll come back to update next summer if we pursue this!

    Anita

  • Reply
    Armas Design
    February 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This does look amazing, really love it, and saving for my own back yard inspiration folder.

  • Reply
    The perfect colour for privacy screens... • Lindsay Stephenson
    May 17, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    […] we’re still working on minor additions to the exterior. Part of the exterior was building a semi privacy screen much like we have elsewhere in the garden. But I’ve started to think we need to paint or, do a dark stain. I drive by this house often […]

    • Reply
      Patricia
      May 17, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      I wish you had provided detail on how to attach sides of lattice to the posts. You said you use 12 nail strips per lattice sheet. I keep on looking at it and can’t figure it out. Could you please help?

      • Reply
        Lindsay Stephenson
        May 23, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Under Step 1, there is a diagram that shows the nailing strips. You have to nail one in first, put on the lattice, and then “sandwhich” it by adding in another nailing strip. If you look in the photo beneath the diagram, it will help illustrate it.

  • Reply
    Dudie Sipe
    February 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I just LOVE IT!!!!!!!! Your yard looks lovely! I am so inspired now to try this myself. I have a beautiful yard, however, a neighbor cut down a very large tree, (there should be a law) and now I have a kind of bare spot that looks over at the neighbor. The rest of the yard is covered in trees and landscaping, and I think that spot just needs this privacy screen to make it more private. I think I may even be able to do this myself. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  • Reply
    Noelle
    May 13, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    This looks amazying! Thank you for such detailed instructions. I too just decided to make a privacy fence – boy is it ever hard work. I rented the auger fro Home Depot today – $160 and realized in short order this was not going to be an easy job. Our soil is heavy clay and the auger kept getting bogged down. It was exhausting having to get the thing unstuck all day. It took me a full day but I managed to get all 8 holes dug but only about 3 feet deep.
    I have pre assembled my panels on the ground first and will put them up after I set the posts.

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