How to build a slatted privacy screen | Better Homes and Gardens

Renovating a backyard from plain to a multi-purpose entertaining and relaxing area for different members of the family is a big job. Thankfully, Charlie and Juliet are the prefect couple to take on this challenge with a blend of style and substance. A pergola will add height to a barbecue entertaining area while the rest of the garden is split into different zones that have something for every member of the family to enjoy. Along with some new plants and tidying up of existing ones, this backyard will soon be ready for summer! 

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WATCH: How to build a slatted privacy screen

Click here to download the full project on how to build a pergola.

Hide amenity buildings, such as a laundry or a garage, with a screen or two featuring a handy shelf and plant window!

Set out for posts using tape measure and spray marking paint. Measurement to outside of end posts is 2960mm to allow for a 20mm slat overhang at either end. The third post is centred.

Prime posts and sleepers, let dry. Apply 2 coats of paint to posts and sleepers, leaving to dry after each coat.

Use post hole digger to dig post holes to at least 500mm deep. Add a 30-40mm layer of blue metal to base of holes with a small amount of dry concrete mix on top. Set up a stringline for posts.

Position posts in end holes and concrete in, using spirit level to check for plumb and stringline to check alignment. Repeat to sink central post.

Hammer in stakes about 750mm in front of posts, then attach timber offcuts to stakes and nail to posts as temporary bracing.

Position slat supports 300mm in from the outside posts. Here, pavers were used. One flat and one on edge, as this gave an exact height of 150mm for first slat. Position first slat on supports. Check spacings on ends, then position long spirit level on top of slat and bring to level. Clamp at both ends.

Predrill and join first slat to each post with two 125mm screws.

Using 50mm timber offcuts as spacers, attach 2 more slats. Remove support and braces.

To make shelf, lay a sleeper flat on top of third slat, predrill into slat 50mm in from ends and every 500mm (approx.), then secure with 125mm screws.

To make laundry opening, cut a sleeper to fit between centre and end posts on right side. From a sleeper offcut, cut 2 brackets, each 180mm in length, remove a corner with a 45° cut, then chamfer exposed edges using a planer. Position brackets against inside of posts, flush with top of third slat. Predrill through bracket into post and secure with two 125mm screws. Predrill from face of third slat into bracket for 2 more screws, screw in from the front. Position cut sleeper length on top of bracket, predrill and screw through shelf into brackets with 125mm screws.

To make ‘picture frame box’, use a circular saw to cut a sleeper into two 550mm lengths for top and base, and two 450mm lengths for sides. Position top and base between sides, predrill then screw through sides with 125mm screws.

Cut 2 slats from sleepers to span between end and centre posts on opposite side to laundry opening. Using 50mm spacers, attach slats to posts with 125mm screws.

Cut two 200mm slats from a sleeper offcut. Using 50mm spacers, position 1 on fifth slat so the ends align and screw to end post. Using spacers, attach second short slat. Position box frame centred on fifth slat and hard up against short slats. Predrill through box base into fifth slat and secure with three 125mm screws. Predrill and screw through box side into short slats.

Measure from side of box frame to opposite end post. Cut 2 slats from sleepers to length with extra 20mm for overhang. Position spacers on fifth slat, sit a slat on top and check for level. Predrill and screw in place. Attach second slat – it won’t requiring levelling as you can add spacers at both ends. Predrill and screw slat into centre and end post. Predrill from inside box into these 2 slats, then secure with screws. Attach second-last full slat then, from inside top of box, predrill into slat and secure with two 125mm screws. 

Use a slat offcut and spacer to mark top of the last slat on all posts, then cut off tops with a circular saw. You’ll need to make 2 passes, one from the front and one from the back. Position last slat on spacers, it should be flush with the cut post tops, then predrill and screw in place. Prime and apply 2 coats of paint to cut post tops. Fill screw holes with timber filler, let dry, sand and touch-up with paint.

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