How to Make an Easy Patio Privacy Screen {Step-by-Step Tutorial}

$30
2 Hours
Easy

I've seen several DIY projects for privacy fences, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money or put a ton of effort into this project. Unfortunately, I have a champagne vision with a beer budget, but we were able to complete this project for less than $30 in under two hours. Paul (the hubs), was going to be doing most of the work, and I would be the job foreman. I'm happy to report that we're still married, even after our..."lively" debate about why its unrealistic for me to expect full growth ivy winding it's way through the lattice panels, while we sit in cushy new patio chairs sipping Mojitos listening to the gentle gurgle of a three-tier water feature that he could also build that weekend? Geesh, he's such a killjoy.

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial

Our house is built on a slope which gives us a front entrance at street level, but a totally daylight lower level. We spend most of our time on our upper deck, but occasionally entertain on the patio below. When we do spend time on the patio, we have the houses across the street looking down on us from their decks. I feel so exposed! Even though we don’t spend a lot of time on the downstairs patio, when we do, I want privacy

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial


how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

I wanted to keep the lattice it's natural wood color, but I wanted to paint the frame white. We had some 1x3 boards left over from a previous project, and a half can of white paint in the basement, so all we needed to buy was a bit of hardware and we were good to go.

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

Our lattice panels measured about 32 x 48, so Paul cut enough 1 x 3's to create frames for each. Instead of mitering the corners, we decided to straight cut the boards and just butt the corners together.

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

Paul took a break while I painted all the boards with a couple coats of white exterior paint. I made sure to paint the ends of the boards since some of the ends would be exposed. I wanted to sandwich the lattice between two frames, but we were out of lumber, so I agreed to seeing how it looked with the frame on just one side. If it looked tacky like that, we'd add a frame to the back.

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

When the boards were dry, we laid them out, squared the corners, and glued the frame corners with wood glue.

Attaching the lattice to the frame.
Attaching the lattice to the frame.

We did a final check to make sure everything was square, then air stapled the end of each lattice slat to the frame. It turned out a lot sturdier than I thought it would be. We quickly finished the other two panels, and the construction phase was done. (At this point we had begun speaking again).

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

Next, we hauled the panels to the patio (notice that I said we?), and drilled starter holes in the center of both end boards on each panel.

Adding the eyescrew to the panel for hanging.
Adding the eyescrew to the panel for hanging.

We then screwed eyescrews into the starter holes. These suckers were ready to hang!

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

I wanted the panels to be placed at a height that provided privacy both when we were sitting or standing. Paul held up a panel while I eyeballed the height (very high-tech precise measuring system, yes?). Then we measured and marked to be sure the three panels were evenly spaced across. Starting at one end, Paul slipped the drill bit through the chain , attached a screw to the drill bit (I love that they’re magnetic), and drilled the screw at his first mark. We used 10 lb capacity chain (that I was certain wasn’t strong enough to hold the panels).

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

He measured the chain from the drilled screw to the length we needed to attach it to the panel for the height we had decided on. Using two needle-nosed pliers, he opened the last link on the chain and slipped off the excess chain. He then attached an S-hook into the bottom link, and squeezed the link back together with his pliers.

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

Finally, we hooked the S-hooks that were attached to the end of the chains, into the eyescrews on the top of the frames, and hung the panels. We stood back to take a look, and I’ll be damned! After only a little bit of adjusting, which we did by moving the screws holding the chains a hair up or down, the panels were level and evenly spaced. Not bad for a couple hours work!

how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects

Turns out, all my kicking and screaming was a waste of energy, because the end result looked almost exactly what I had envisioned (minus the furniture and waterfall). I had originally wanted the bottom of the panels to be anchored, but was talked out of it. I ended up loving the airy feeling it has by just letting them hang free. I had also originally wanted to use heavier chain, but by using the lighter-weight, the chain is barely visible and gives the panels the appearance of being suspended in mid-air. I really need to work on this control issue a teeny bit, and put a little more faith in my man. Obvs he knows what he’s doing.

I now have some privacy!
I now have some privacy!

So, by using a lot of materials we already had, and scoring a great find at an estate sale, I’m able to enjoy my private little patio for under $30. And I LOVE IT! (Thank you honey).

Tawsha and Patti @organizedCHAOS

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

16 questions
  • Nyoka Cresap
    on Dec 15, 2015

    Great job! Wondering if you doubled the frame for the other side? They look amazing.

  • Cynthia Potts
    on Feb 27, 2016

    What about movement? If they are not attached at the bottom, do they swing? We get a lot of wind.

    • Rita Revell
      on Apr 9, 2016

      If you have a lot of wind, you might need to use full panels and double the frames so they are sturdier. Then bury the posts in the ground and attach to the decking or patio cover. The lattice is a great idea, as the wind can flow through it and not cause as many problems as it would if they were solid objects. I bet this would look so nice in tour yard or porch.

    • Amanda 'Mandy' Gardner
      on Jan 1, 2019

      @Rita- they did use full sized panels. 32”x48” is standard size. They didn’t use posts.

  • Kay
    on Mar 6, 2016

    If you were to anchor the bottoms of panels, how would you do it?

    • Rita Revell
      on Apr 9, 2016

      You could use something that could be hammered into the ground similar to tent posts or those big ground staples for holding ground cloth in place.

    • Bev
      on Apr 18, 2016

      Would it work to run a chain horizontally through eye screws on the botton of the panels; one end attached to the house and the other end attached to the porch support? I think that would keep it from swinging.

    • Anna Ibarra
      on May 16, 2016

      Hook and eye to attached to each lattice on bottom sides and to the side poles and side of house.

  • Laura
    on Apr 13, 2016

    Any ideas for in between townhome patios?

    • Audrey
      on May 8, 2016

      Attach that screen (a pre-made one or one you make yourself) to a rectangular wooden planter and it becomes a free standing partition. (I used 3 of them to hide an ugly AC consender unit.) They can get heavy when filled with plants and soil, however, so try putting plastic furniture moving discs or casters on the bottom before you begin planting so that you can roll them around to wherever you need them.

  • Barbara Borgstadt
    on May 30, 2016

    How could you attach something like this if you don't have a top/awning? Maybe from the side?

    • Me
      on Jun 11, 2016

      you could either build a big open frame that moved on wheels or just a base like a horse jump, and then hang them from the frame. Or you could set them in a base plate type setup and just make them to whatever height you wanted.

    • Leslie
      on Aug 19, 2016

      Barbara, you may lose the floating look a bit but I would construct it like a fence and use 2x4's to attach the lattice to and then use the 1x3's to create the frame. You can also make the lattice the full length of the posts and leave a bit open on the top as in Tawshas pics. Good luck :)

    • Bob4845622
      on Aug 19, 2016

      How a outing setting 2x4 posts in cinder blocks and continuing as stated?

    • Swe9022655
      on Aug 19, 2016

      How about hinging The panels to each other and placing them in a slightly zigzagged pattern for stability?

    • Kathy Hulett Conger
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I think hers look great and different from others. Good job

    • Kathy Hulett Conger
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I think hers look great and different from others. Good job

  • Ellie
    on Jun 29, 2016

    What a great job you both did. Such a creative idea. I would like to have some privacy on our screened porch. We have a rental, so it would have to be something portable. Any suggestions? Thanks a lot.

    • Jeannie
      on Jul 2, 2016

      Privacy screen, maybe. They stand alone.

    • Vickie
      on Jul 8, 2016

      Ellie,make the panels just like those above but buy cabinet hinges and attach all the panels together. Then adjust by folding the panels sightly and they should stand alone.

    • Phyllis
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I don't have a roof on my deck but would love to figure out how to incorporate this idea. Any suggestions welcome.

      how to make an easy patio privacy screen step by step tutorial, outdoor living, woodworking projects, Front deck with no privacy
    • Mike who
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I used sun screen and Velcro strips it could be removed in nasty weather and could be stored easily

    • Bijoux
      on Aug 19, 2016

      Have you considered putting them on a base or attaching to planter box? That works well for freestanding & portable.

    • Sandi
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I love it!

  • Rena Noele
    on Jul 6, 2016

    Have you considered chaining them to each other, at the bottom? Maybe the far right one to the post at the bottom? With the nasty winds and thunderstorm we're experiencing this morning, I'm wondering if strong weather will cause them to clash together.

    • Bijoux
      on Aug 19, 2016

      That is a great idea to avoid damage to patio furniture & plants, etc.

    • Kas8281939
      on Aug 19, 2016

      My concern as well, would be leaving the lattice natural. Surely that bare wood won't last long without some sort of sealer. But, I do like the look and the solution to their privacy problem

    • Jeanie5150
      on Aug 22, 2016

      The vinyl lattice would probably be the answer to the longevity of it but would be a bit pricier. However in the long run it would be worth it.

    • Rosemary Harper Whittaker
      on Sep 3, 2016

      It's a brilliant idea....it looks great...but I would have concerns in windy weather..!!!!

  • Susie Watson
    on Aug 19, 2016

    Gorgeous! Yeah u need to listen to ur man. 😁 about that anyway. Lol. Wonder if this will work for us here in our apt.? Want privacy on both sides of our apt. Hmmm. Have to consider this coz I love the suspended/floaty look. (is that a word? Don't think so the auto spell checker has it underlined. Oh well. New word.) 😊

    • Jus5307212
      on Aug 20, 2016

      There is a post in Hometalk (can't find it right now) but it relates to privacy screens for balconies! Might try using pallets as part of the search I think.

  • Rita
    on Aug 20, 2016

    It's a lovely idea but have u considered making your patio into a screened porch? We used pet screen and it is completely private you can see out but not see in

    • Arlene S. King
      on Sep 25, 2016

      What is a "pet screen" that you can't see in? I definitely need one of those! I also need a noise dampening screen! My older neighbours have started pot smoking (health reasons?) but they sit out there coughing and hacking until quite late ..\and my bedroom window is fairly close to the fence!

    • Rita
      on Sep 27, 2016

      We had just normal screen mesh on our porch but after a few years it got loose and faded so it looked awful an unkempt so when I had the screen replaced I looked around for something stronger and more durable. I came up with pet screen it is much much stronger and thicker than normal screen and if ther is no light on inside the porch or is difficult to see in but you can still see out. I also had frames made for each of the bays and covered them with clear vinyl (available at Walmart) to keep out the pollen in the spring but I put them up in November and they don't come down until May when the pollen is over with. With heat in there we can use the porch in the winter too.

    • Anita Robertson
      on Oct 10, 2016

      We have 6 cats and I've replaced most of the window screens with pet screen after they ruined them......the pet screen is MUCH stronger!

    • Judith Lawyer
      on Apr 30, 2017

      Where do you get pet screen?
    • Judith Lawyer
      on Apr 30, 2017

      Where do you get pet screen?
    • Judith Lawyer
      on Apr 30, 2017

      Where do you get pet screen?
    • Judith Lawyer
      on Apr 30, 2017

      Where do you get pet screen?
    • Judith Lawyer
      on Apr 30, 2017

      Where do you get pet screen?
    • Msi1170121
      on May 4, 2017

      Pet screen is a heavier weight screen able to take the punishment animals may deal out. I get mine the same place regular screening is available, namely Lowes. Be careful in picking up the screening tho...sometimes the information identifying it as pet screen isn't as clear as it could be...varies by manufacturer. It also comes in various widths.
  • Abo9736449
    on Aug 28, 2016

    i would like to paint my wood white dont know how

    • Terri
      on Aug 30, 2016

      Your question isn't clear...are you saying you have lattice wood to paint? I would use spray paint myself. By spraying you can get into the places where pieces cross. Other option would be to roll paint with a 4" foam roller. Use exterior paint for best results.

    • Bobbi
      on Sep 18, 2016

      You can also find the paneling in white, it is vinyl which makes it much stronger.

    • Melissa V
      on Oct 3, 2016

      @Bobbi-Vinyl lattice is very expensive compared to non-heavy duty wood lattice, but will last in the elements and just needs a good scrub like outdoor furniture to stay white and clean.

  • Sandy
    on Jan 23, 2017

    What if you had strong winds ? Maybe not where you hung them but for someone where else where there is wind : lattice would be blowing

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 25, 2017

      you could secure it to the floor in the same way it's secure to the ceiling.

    • Mol22878242
      on Apr 27, 2017

      In West Texas, where the wind always BLOWS, you would be better off sinking posts--maybe even into cement -and attaching lattice panels to them
    • Jewellmartin
      on May 18, 2017

      In North Texas, when the West Texas wind comes in, it nearly blows us to the Gulf of Mexico. Lol! Yes, I would insist on a looser chain on the bottom anchored to the patio or something else stable. But I really love how these lattice panels both provide privacy and filtered light. Even the plastic chairs with good cushions make the patio look like a soothing retreat. Good job! Best wishes!
    • Sis21949715
      on May 29, 2017

      You could go out and lift the panels off the hanging hooks and set them aside until the wind stops
    • Roxie
      on Jul 31, 2017

      When the FreightTrain wind comes whistling through the streets at 40, 50, & sometimes 60 MPH in Casper WYOMING from the SouthWest, the NorthWest or the NOR'Easterly directions, we know for certain that Chicago is NOT the Windy City.
    • Ardale
      on Aug 21, 2017

      I absolutely love your screens. They not only add that much needed privacy but they created such a cozy relaxing retreat. I do have a suggestion to make it even more relaxing and beautiful and it doesn't cost much to do although as with anything there is a little work involved. I'd color the concrete to add even more appeal. Home Depot makes the best concrete stain which holds very good! It comes in many different colors so finding one you like and that will go with your décor is easy and to apply it all you have to do is roll it on with a paint roller which you have added an extension to such as an old broom handle. This stuff is great and really makes outdoor concrete beautiful. It does take a day or two to completely dry but once dry it stays put for years. You will have to pressure wash your concrete first and let it completely dry before applying your concrete stain. Trust me you will love your concrete patio even more. One dry it's easy to care for since you can either just hose it off or mop it if you'd rather. I think if it were me I'd even paint my columns and over head ceiling to brighten them up while I was at it but if you do paint them do it before your do your concrete staining. The stain cost about the same as a regular gallon of paint give or take a couple of bucks and covers about the save area but be sure if you do stain your concrete that you get concrete stain and not deck or regular paint neither of which would hold onto your concrete very long. I highly recommend the concrete stain Home Depot sells and no I don't work for them or have any relatives that work for them. LOL We've had our front walkway and stairs as well as our large concrete patio in the back of the house stained with this stain for years and the only problems we have is all our trees stain the surface with tree sap so we have to pressure wash our concrete surfaces every spring to bring them back to looking brand new again. Just some ideas to consider!
  • Judith Lawyer
    on Apr 30, 2017

    What is pet screen and where do you get it? I am making these panels next weekend.
  • Maccie Coleman
    on Sep 13, 2017

    Where did you use the pet screen because I didn't see were you used it.
    • Debbie
      on Sep 3, 2018

      I didn’t see it either?

    • 16999903
      on Sep 16, 2018

      I haven't either. Is the lattice the pet screen? I did not see the use of the word "pet" screen, but its very early and I can't read very well right now.


      I absolutely love this, and we will try to do this one next weekend. The only change I would make is keeping on of the "S" hooks open enough to take them down. We're on a windy corner and it would have to be anchored or easy to take down if a storm kicks up. That doesn't say anything that's wrong with the project....it's just logistics for us.


      Well done! Love the inspiration!!!

  • Katie Nadea
    on Oct 27, 2017

    Do you use the fire pit on the patio? I just purchased one to burn my tree limbs and wonder if it was safe on the patio?
    • Sup33661795
      on Jun 24, 2018

      If it's under a porch you my want to use a small LP fire pit with a top cover. Never use a open, wood burning fire pit inside or under a flameable surface. Safety first. Plus you trap the smoke .

    • 16999903
      on Sep 16, 2018

      For us, it's a code violation in our county, especially during burn ban season....the fines triple!

    • Becky Freeman Dinneny
      on Oct 1, 2018

      You can burn small fires in you fire pits.

    • Joanie
      on Feb 8, 2019

      It only takes 1 spark.........I'm sure it is only there for staging.

  • Leola Specht
    on Oct 12, 2018

    I have a similar space but it's on a covered concrete front porch. I would like to create/install something like your hanging lattice on the side of the porch that faces a nasty nosy neighbor. I'm concerned about wind though -- wind would go through the lattice openings but I'm just wondering if wind has caused any damage to the structure you built and intalled so far? With storms being more and more severe these days, I want to be sure it would be stable enough for my front porch.

    • Pegg77
      on Oct 30, 2018

      I would think you could use the same type of chain & S-hooks added to the sides to keep them from flapping around. Could also attach them to each other in the same manner. Depending on how much chain you use, would be dependent on how much swing they would have during wind.

    • Doralba
      on Feb 2, 2019

      Agree

    • Mohogany Herrera Wilson
      on Mar 23, 2019

      I would do a bump test or maybe sandbags or weights

    • Iami S. Badu
      on Mar 23, 2019

      In all honesty, if I were that concerned about stormy weather (hurricanes/tornadoes), I would install a stronger barrier similar to what is put over windows in such climate areas. Here in Florida, we use plywood panels to cover windows. If this was my patio and I was fearful of strong winds, I'd install hardware on each major post on the end next to the screen so that plywood could be attached securely as needed, then taken down once the storm passed. If I didn't own the property, then taking down the screen for the duration of the storm would be my alternative solution.

    • Loretta
      on Apr 28, 2019

      I’m planning to do this today. I have everything needed. I’m so glad I found your project!

      I live in south Texas and we have our share of storms. I plan to put a window plant box under each panel and secure each panel to the box below them. I think the same chain will be fine. I’ll add dirt and plants with a few rocks for added weight. I can’t wait to get started. I’ll post pics!

  • Cindy York
    on Jan 24, 2019

    I don't have anything to hang them from, any other ideas?

    • Belinda Fox
      on Jan 27, 2019

      Me too , no roof or anything on 3 sides. Brick home. HELP HELP

    • Jenn
      on Mar 2, 2019

      I have seen (inUK) wooden flower troughs /planters that have trellis rising up one side. Perhaps 2 or 3 of these in a line could offer some privacy?? Especially if you add climbing plants as well!

      If these troughs were ' home crafted' they need to hold enough soil to act as ballast to keep the trellis steady.

      Luckily we have a small metal framed back door awning. I really want to try hanging trellis from that. Thanks for the idea.

    • Kristie Foreman
      on Apr 1, 2019

      Me too but I figure we could just make a frame with 4x4s or something and attach small trim boards in between the screens for more stability. They don have to hang and could attach the one side to the house.you could even put corner angle pieces for more stability. I may try it

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2 of 500 comments
  • Joanie
    on Feb 8, 2019

    This privacy fence reminds of my in-laws. My M.I.Law FOREVER had a project.......this one she had and had honey suckle vines and who knows, climbing and vining. A lot of privacy and protection from the sun. A little swing for them to sit in also.

  • Elizabeth Sacaris
    on Apr 15, 2019

    Looks great!

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