How to Build a Privacy Screen (w/ Monica from The Weekender)

[mellow music] – How many of you out there
have a space outside of your home that you wish was a bit more private? Maybe you live near a busy street
or you have nosy neighbors. Whatever your dilemma,
I've got a solution for you. Today I'm going to show you how to build
a privacy screen for an outdoor space. I'm going to take you through
the step-by-step process and teach you how to do it right. I'm confident that
by the end of this video, you'll be able to take what you learned
and do it yourself. When we talk about a privacy screen, we're
not talking about a full-length fence.

Think of it more like a partition
that can block off a portion of your yard. Privacy screens not only create
a much-needed barrier, but they're also great
for adding some style. The first thing you need to determine
is the location of your privacy screen. Is it going into the ground, on a deck? Is it part of a patio? What you're attaching it to will determine part of your design
and the materials that you need.

For this situation, we're going to be putting a privacy screen
in front of the pool filter. The pool filter's right off of the pool. It's a beautiful backyard, but it's not
something you really want to look at. This is a great example
of how a privacy screen can help you hide something
that you need to access but you don't necessarily
want to look at it all the time. My friend Jon is starting
some measurements. He's a licensed contractor, and he's going
to be helping me throughout this project.

So we're going to explain
where we're putting it, why we're putting it,
and get our measurements. Here we have our pool filter, and we want to hide
the front and side, right, so we're going to go for two sides,
kind of an L shape, but we're figuring out
our exact length and our height, so what'd you come up with? – So we have 39 inches
from the edge of that trim over to the edge of this post.
– Okay. – So if we dig our footers here, we can have our front screen
at 39 inches that's right here. – Okay, and as far as our height goes, we're kind of letting our utility
determine how high we need to go because we want to cover that outlet,
so how high is that? – We have 72 inches
to the top of this electrical box…

– Yeah, okay. – Which is conveniently the same place
as where the top of this post is. – It's perfect. – And since this is already
footered all the way down, so if we attach right to that,
we should be in good shape. Out here, we're clear with the pipes, so we can dig a footer
and we'll be in good shape. – For our situation,
we're going to be able to work off of the existing deck post
back against the house, and then we'll install
two additional posts here in the front.

Okay, it's time to create
a materials list. This screen should be
a fairly simple build for us and for you at home if you know your way
around some power tools. Now, every privacy screen's materials list
could look a little different, depending on the size
and the design you choose. For our purposes, we need the following: three 4x4x8 pressure treated lumber posts, 1x6x8s for horizontal slats, stainless steel screws, 6-inch FastenMaster HeadLOKs, one box of stainless steel
ring shanked nails, two bags of gravel, four 50-pound bags
of fast-setting concrete, and a couple gallons of water. All right, we're going to get ready
to start digging our holes for our posts, and what we need to do
is make sure we're exactly placed, so our privacy screen is going to be
at a 90-degree angle, so one post will go here,
then the screen will continue on, and then the other post
will go right here.

So what we have is marking paint, and now we're going to mark those holes,
dig our holes, and then we'll go build the rest
of our screen that fits it exactly. Another thing to mention
is that anytime you're putting up any sort of permanent structure like this, you want to check with
your local building codes and zoning and just see if you have to pull a permit.

– And then you want to call 811
to make sure that you have no utilities
that you're messing with. – Okay, for the diameter of the hole,
basically how big, how wide do I need to make my hole,
the way to do it is to calculate three times the size
of what's going into it. This is a 4×4, so 4 inches times three,
I need a 12-inch hole. You can do this a couple different ways. We're going to be digging our holes
and putting in our posts first because we do have a good bit of plumbing
under the ground here. Now, we've checked with our pool guy,
and we have a pretty good idea. I think we're going to be safe, but we still feel like
that would be the better route. It's also a great idea to keep
some plastic on hand that, if you need to move some dirt,
which we're going to be unloading a lot, you can put it onto a tarp
and it doesn't kill your grass.

Also it's easier to move it
if you have excess. All right, when you're using
a post hole digger, it's really great,
does a lot of the work for you. When you drop it down into your hole,
your handles are together. Then you'll spread the handles apart,
lets it grab all the dirt, bring it out, and then put them
back together to release it. We're going down about 24 inches. Now, we're in a really warm climate,
but if you are not, if you're an area that can freeze,
you want to know what your frost line is, and you generally want to make sure that your hole goes 6 inches
below that frost line.

– And the reason why is, if any water
gets below that and freezes, it could heave the post up
out of the ground. So, basically,
if you're up in the Northeast and your freeze line is at 36 inches,
you want to go to 42. That way, it keeps the post
from coming up out of the ground. – Now that we've got our hole
to 24 inches deep, we've come to a really important step. We need to add 4 inches of crushed
stone or gravel to the bottom of the hole. The stone will help with drainage
around the post. This simple measure will also provide a solid, level surface
for our post to sit on.

All right, our gravel is in,
it's been tamped down by the post, and now what we need to do is determine how much of the top of this post
we need to trim off so that it's the exact height
we want this privacy screen to be. All right, so we're using the level
coming off the top of the post, which is going to be the very top
of our privacy screen, and now once Jon's level, I am going
to measure down into my tamped stone. I have a flat surface, and that'll tell me exactly the height
that my post should be cut down to.

We are at 95 inches. – We got our reference point here,
and then we'll level off of that. Now, this measurement's
not going to be exactly 95. It could be a little more,
or it could be a little less. – Right, depending on exactly
where our stone landed, but we're pretty close, 94 3/4. – All right, cool.
– Okay. All right, so we've set up
a little workstation here, and when you're about to build, it really is important to be working
on a level surface, so we've got two sawhorses and then a sturdy piece of plywood
that we'll work off of, and even went for a little luxury, popped up a tent to keep us out of the sun
and comfortable as we're building.

As I mentioned, we are going to be
building this privacy screen with an L shape,
and so I did a rough sketch. I'm not an artist, but it shows you guys a little bit
of what we're going to be doing. While we're over here under the tent
with our workstation, we're going to be focusing on building
this larger portion, and then the smaller area over here
will actually be built in place because part of that's going to be
working off of the deck. Okay, so the first part of this build
is going to be actually cutting down our 4x4s, which we leveled and measured
and got our lengths on, and to do that,
we're going to be using a circular saw.

– So for cutting these down, I think using a circular saw is going
to be a better option than using a miter saw
or something like that. This has a little bit more agility,
so we can kind of, like, work through, and you're not throwing a piece of heavy
lumber on top of, you know, a miter saw. – Yeah, absolutely,
so it's a preference thing, but for us, we're going to go with the circular saw,
and Jon mentioned that these are heavy. I also should mention
that they are pressure treated. Anytime you have wood that's going
to come in contact with the ground, you want to make sure
that you're using pressure treated because that will prevent rot. Now, the one thing to keep in mind is that
when you're using pressure treated lumber, you can't paint or stain it immediately, so our privacy screen is going to need to
dry and cure for, like, one to two months before we can actually apply stain.

You want to really check out
your individual product and what you plan to do to it,
and the timing will vary a little bit. All right, so we're going to start off
by measuring and cutting our wood. All right, so we're going
to measure 95 inches, so Jon's just marking it, and I'm using a Speed Square
to give myself a nice, straight line. So the blade on our circular saw is not deep enough to cut all
the way through this 4×4, so what Jon's doing is marking
our measurement on all four sides. This way, we can cut,
then flip the board and cut again and we'll be cut all the way through.

And now we're going to safety up and use
our circular saw to make these cuts. – So one of the things
that I really like about this saw is, it's obviously light. It's not corded. It has a thumb lock,
which is great for safety, so if I go and pull the trigger right now,
it's not going to start. So you want to make sure that your blade
is clear of the blade guard, but when you come into it,
you want to make sure I'm pressing my thumb lock down,
pulling the trigger, and you're starting away
from the material.

If you come into it and then try to start
it, it's going to jam up a little bit. So when we go to engage,
I'm going to use the Speed Square, and it's going to act as a guide
along with the pencil line. – So to use the Speed Square,
line up the blade with your cut line, and then you can take the Speed Square,
slide it up, and then hold it securely. This is a great way to make sure you get
a nice, straight, steady cut.

Pressure treated wood
is treated with chemicals, and you don't want to breathe in
any of the chemicals when you're cutting via the sawdust. You want to make sure that
you're using a respirator dust mask. You also always, always want to make sure
that you're using eye protection when you're working
with any type of power tool. And we're going to cut through,
flip it, and cut again. [rock music] Okay, so our two main posts
are cut to size, but this third 4×4 we need to cut down for our top and bottom rails
on the main section. – So our total is 39 inches,
so we're going to subtract 3 1/2 inches because these are actually 3 1/2,
not a true 4 inches. – 4x4s are 3 1/2.
Tricky, I know.

– So that brings us out to 32 inches. – All right, so the total cut
is going to be 32. When these add on, we're at 39, right? – Correct.
– Okay. [rock music] So all of our posts are cut to size, and now we're building out
what will be the framework for our larger side of the privacy screen. We've clamped one of
our long vertical posts to our plywood so that it's super secure, and that will hold everything
in place while we begin building. So now what we need to do
is attach all of these posts together, and what we're using here
are screws that are treated specifically with a coating
for pressure treated wood.

All right, so we're going to start
attaching down at the other end and give you one of these. Now, I should note,
these are really long 6-inch fasteners, but that's what we need because it's going
to go all the way through the one post and grip into the next one. – So this is an impact driver. The difference between this
and a regular drill: it has enough torque to be able
to drive through this without needing to predrill it. – All right, we're going to put
two on each end. [upbeat music] Okay, so now that we have
our frame all set, we're going to get moving
onto the wooden slats, and this is where you can
really get creative and have a little bit of fun
and change up the style. We are going with 1×6 pieces of wood, and I've decided that I want to make this
look kind of like the fence, so we're going to separate them,
just put a little gap in between, and just consistent horizontal slats. But you could go with a combination
of wider boards and thinner boards. You could vary the space between them.
You could go vertically.

This is really where you have
complete creative control. The first thing before
we can actually attach these, we need to cut the boards down to size. Jon's going to cut them down
to exactly 39 inches so the boards will cover from one post
all the way to the other post, a perfect 39 inches,
and then we'll attach them. Okay, now that all of our boards
are cut down to size, we can attach them onto the framework, and we're going to be doing that using
a hammer and galvanized patio deck nails.

The reason that we're using these
is that they are exterior, they're going to work really well
with our pressure treated lumber, and they're ring shanked. And also just because
you will see these nailheads, we went ahead and measured
exactly where they'll go on each board so that we have a consistent straight line
all the way down. Okay, so we have our first board attached, but now we need to determine
the spacing between each board. I got a little trick for you.
I like to call it a cheater block. And, basically, I cut a scrap piece
of one of our 1-bys here, and we use this exact same piece
every time. We're going to have
consistent straight lines and not have to measure
every single one as we go. It's a really quick way to do it
and still get consistency. Go back in here, rest it down. All right, so this is the main panel
of the privacy screen is built, and now what we're going to do
is put it down into our predug holes, we're going to fill it with concrete, we're going to make sure we're
nice and level, brace it up, and then once this piece is installed,
we'll build off the house and add the smaller turning section
of our L shape.

Now that our posts are in our holes, we want to make sure that
our privacy screen is level and plumb, so level horizontally and then
vertically level, which is plumb. All right, first thing we're doing
is leveling off of our fixed point, which is our deck post here. – I'm pretty happy with that. – We did a pretty good job with our holes
and the distance in our measuring.

This side is level. Now we're going to level across the front. – Pretty good.
– Pretty close. Maybe a little bit high on that side, so Jon's just going to use a hammer
and tap it down just a bit. – Good?
– Good. We're attaching temporary braces to
the front and sides of our privacy screen so that it will hold it sturdy in place
when we put our concrete in. To make these braces,
we're attaching a 1×4 onto each side and then putting stakes into the ground. Jon's leveling, and once I know
it's exactly where we want it, I'm attaching a screw
through the side of my 1×4 into the stake holding it
securely in place.

For stakes, you can pick
some up at Lowe's, or you can cut them yourself
out of any leftover scrap wood. You just want to make sure that you have
an angled point at the bottom. Makes it easier
to go right into the ground. All right, so to make sure
that our posts are supersecure, we're adding some quick-dry concrete
that's going to go down into the holes. We're using a fast-setting concrete,
and we picked up about four or five bags. Each hole is taking about two bags each. What I really like about this
is that we don't need to premix it, so we're not adding our concrete and water
in a bucket and then putting it in.

We can add the concrete to our hole dry
and then add water on top and it'll still give you
the strength and durability but kind of save us a couple extra steps. You want to stop about 4 to 6 inches
from the top of the hole. You can also check out another how-to
video on setting your posts into concrete. Click the link. We're moving on to building
the smaller portion of our privacy screen. This is the section that's
going to be a little bit smaller and actually attach to the post
on the deck. Jon's attached a spacer board
and then a 2×4 directly onto the deck post that gets us nice and straight and level,
so we'll work off of that. And now he's leveling, and we're going to measure out
and cut our slats exactly for each piece. One thing to remember is that
we're lining up our slats perfectly with the same location and positioning
that the other ones had.

We're using the same hammer and nails
and keeping our spacing the same as we did on the front side just
to give it, again, a look of consistency. So now we're going to use
our cheater block on the backside, but on the front, we're more concerned with making sure it visually
looks perfectly aligned. We're also hitting the ends
with a little bit of sandpaper just to make sure that it's nice
and smooth and finished. For my bottom three boards, I'm going to install them
just a little bit differently. We want to be able to easily
access the plumbing in here, so even though this is a privacy screen, if you have an area where you want it
to be private but also easily accessible, I'm going to use screws
to put these ones in.

This is much easier than if I were
to continue with a hammer and nails. With the nails, it would be hard.
I'd have to pry it back off. But with the drill and screws,
if we ever need to access down there, we can zip them back out
and easily put them back on. Okay, now that we have
all of these horizontal boards on, the only thing that remains
are to attach the top two, and that will require us
to take our brace off, which we can totally do now
because this is really secure. All of these boards
are fastened into this post, and it's good to remove it. Okay, so we're just about done.

We need to remove
the rest of our temporary braces, and then we need to backfill
the dirt around our holes, set everything back up
so we're good as new. So we saved dirt
from when we dug the holes, and we're using that to backfill in. We left about 4 to 6 inches
at the top of our concrete, so now we just need
to get this all back to normal. Okay, our build is complete,
and our privacy screen looks awesome. It's doing exactly what we intended:
blocking the pool filter, and it's even going to help out
with the noise of it. Even though our privacy screen
looks great, it's going to look even better
in a couple months when we stain it to match the rest
of the fence and this yard, but, remember,
because we used pressure treated wood, we need to give it one to three months
to fully dry out.

So, for now, our work is done. We'll be back. We'll stain it.
It's going to be good as new. As always, do it right.
Start with Lowe's. Want to learn more? Be sure to check out
the Lowe's YouTube channel for great step-by-step
and how-to videos and
for all kinds of projects..

As found on YouTube

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