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How to Build an Outdoor Privacy Screen

How to Build an Outdoor Privacy Screen

Organize important backyard items in one area with an outdoor privacy screen. This hinged screen can conceal a multitude of outdoor eyesores, from your central-air unit to your composter, garbage bins and recycling boxes — even your lawn mower and collection of yard tools. Made from FSC wood and painted in the colour of your choice, it's simple to construct and, strategically placed, is not only useful but adds an elegant touch to your garden.

Note: The instructions given are for one panel. The privacy screen requires at minimum 2 panels.

Skill Level: Intermediate
  1. Step 1 Start by Creating the Outer Frame

    Cut two 2x3s 60" long. These will be the vertical uprights.

  2. Step 2 Cut Two 2x3s 42-1/4" Long

    These will be the top and bottom horizontal pieces.

  3. Step 3 On the Top Piece, Measure 1½"

    On the top piece, measure 1½" from one end and mark that point. Then mark ¼" from that line and mark that point.

  4. Step 4 Now Mark 2¾" for the First Board

    Then 4¾" until you run out of board. These will mark the fin locations (8 in total). Mark the centre point of each of these lines and drill a pilot hole.

  5. Step 5 Transfer These Marks to the Bottom Piece

    Transfer these marks to the bottom piece and drill the pilot holes as well. When assembling the rectangle, make sure you keep the sides of the top and bottom pieces together so they are both on the left-hand side of the frame.

  6. Step 6 Assemble the Outer Frame

    Assemble the outer frame so that the vertical pieces fit inside the horizontal pieces.

  7. Step 7 Drill 2 Pilot Holes

    Drill 2 pilot holes through the face of each board at both ends of the horizontal pieces.

  8. Step 8 Apply Glue to the Ends of the Vertical Pieces

    Apply glue to the ends of the vertical pieces and create a rectangle by drilling through the face of the top and bottom pieces into the side pieces. Wipe away any excess glue and make sure the rectangle is square. Set aside and let the glue dry.

  9. Step 9 On the Table Saw, Rip 5 Ft Lengths

    On the table saw, rip 5 ft lengths of 1x12 panels in half to give you 8 pieces that are 5 ft long and 6" wide. These will be the fins. If you want to get a head start on the painting, you can paint the fins now. Make sure you do not paint over the ends of the fins.

  10. Step 10 Once the Outer Frame Has Dried, Apply Glue

    Once the outer frame has dried, apply glue to the ends of one of the fins. Slide it in the frame and angle it so that the centre of the fin aligns with the centre of the first fin line. Make sure the fin is on an angle and that the corners of the fin do not protrude past the face of the frame. Drill from the top and from the bottom.

  11. Step 11 Work Your Way Across

    Work your way across until all 8 fins have been installed.

  12. Step 12 Fill Any Nail Holes

    Fill any nail holes with wood filler, let dry and then sand.

  13. Step 13 Cut 2 Blocks of 2x3 1½" Long

    Cut 2 blocks of 2x3 1½" long and secure them to the bottom of the frame. These will be the feet.

  14. Step 14 Prime

    Prime, then paint.

  15. Step 15 Take the Panels to Where You're Going to Install

    Take the panels to where you're going to install them, as they can get very heavy and make it difficult to carry once the multiple panels are assembled together.

  16. Step 16 Attach the Hinges (Top, Middle and Bottom)

    Attach the hinges (top, middle and bottom) so the screws are facing inwards, towards the item you're trying to hide.

What You Need for This Project

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