DIY Wood Privacy Screen

2 Materials
5 Hours

In the area we live in, backyards are very small and are commonly quite close to the neighbors. Even though my yard is enclosed by a fence, I wanted a privacy screen to further separate my backyard space from my neighbor’s house that is very close to mine on the other side. This wood slat screen was the perfect way to add a bit more privacy to my yard, and the contrast of the warm wood with the metal adds a lot of style at the same time. This was a relatively simple and inexpensive DIY project to complete in a weekend to beautify and improve my outdoor living area.

You Will Need:

  • Pine decking
  • Miter saw
  • Wood stain
  • White paint
  • Drill
  • Screw
  • Sawhorses
  • Paintbrushes
DIY Wood Privacy Screen

Gather Materials

Gather Materials

       I set up my work area with the tools I would need and gathered the wood that I would be cutting to complete my project. I staged sawhorses, wood, saws, clamps, my ladder and all of the other materials to build the privacy screen.

Pine Decking

Seal End Grain

Seal End Grain

I painted the end grain of my pine decking boards with white paint to seal and make the wood last longer. Even though the wood is pressure treated, the paint will protect it and make it last even longer.

Paint the End of the Boards

Stain Decking Boards

Stain Decking Boards

I applied several coats of stain to the boards in order to cover the green tint from the pressure-treating and then applied a clear coat over the top. As I painted it on, the stain finish became darker and richer.

Stain the Boards

Measure Opening for Slats

Measure Opening for Slats

I measured the distance between the posts on my pergola, from the center of one post to the center of the other post to determine the length to cut my boards. Measure the opening in the space you want to attach your decking between and make your cuts accordingly.


Pre-drill Holes in Boards

Pre-drill Holes in Boards

To attach the decking boards to the posts, I wanted to use screws and so I pre-drilled holes into the timber to make sure it would not split as the screws went through it. I used a square and measured 20mm in from each edge. I pre-drilled two holes on each end of the boards for the screws I would attach the boards to the posts with.

Drill Holes

Cut Spacer Blocks

Cut Spacer Blocks

To make sure that I accurately spaced the boards as I was hanging them, I cut some 30mm blocks of wood for spacers between the decking boards. Decide how much space you want to allow between your slats and cut your spacers to size.

Attach Decking Boards to the Pergola

Attach Decking Boards to the Pergola

I chose to start hanging my boards from the top down because I knew that the top board needed to be just below the joist and that the bottom board could end up anywhere. I attached the boards with a drill and screws into my predrilled holes. As I went along, I got into a groove with my boards of measure, cut, pre-drill, and hang. I cut the ends to size and then at the end of each section I applied white paint to the cut ends. Use quick clamps if you have them available to you to make this step easier and less tedious.

Cut Boards
Space Boards

Attach Vertical Slats to the Back of Screen

Attach Vertical Slats to the Back of Screen

I attached a vertical board through the center of the back of each set of slats and then painted the back of the screen facing the neighbors so that it was a nicer view for them from their yard. The vertical piece added a bit more support and rigidity to the privacy screen structure and the paint gave a finished appearance to the project from the outside looking in. I chose to paint the boards, but you may want to stain both sides of yours for a matching finish from both views.

Add Vertical Slats
They Peek Through

I am so happy with the design appeal and function of the stylish privacy screen and love how it added privacy without making the space feel closed in or darker. The wood slats bring warmth to the backyard and pergola area while making the space feel polished and complete. Slat wood privacy screens can make a huge difference in the atmosphere of a small backyard that is very close to a neighbor. This would be perfect for climbing flowers or plants to grow to reach and envelop for an even more private appearance! 

DIY Privacy Screen

Have you built DIY privacy screens for your backyard patio area or included wood slats in your pergola design? Share your best ideas for backyard privacy or find inspiration for ways to beautify your outdoor living space on Hometalk!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Sassycoupleok
    on Mar 25, 2020

    Great idea and works well for this situation. We have cedar wood privacy fences on all 3 sides of our backyard. As the slats age they shrink a little thus leaving gaps that somewhat negate the privacy we desire. It makes using the backyard the way we desire less comfortable as our neighbors seem to have prying eyes. Any ideas on how to make this type fence more private without costing a fortune ??

  • Tami
    on Mar 25, 2020

    when putting up a wood privacy fence, do you get the pretty side facing your yard or does it face your neighbors?

    • PSL Gal
      on Apr 20, 2020

      In Florida if you have a pool the "pretty" side must go towards the neighbors to make it very difficult for young children or anyone for that matter to be able to climb into your yard. It is a safety issue in Florida and most likely a safety issue in other states as well.

  • Shuganne
    on Mar 25, 2020

    What is the roof made of? I assumed it was corrugated steel, but even if it's some manufactured sheeting, I wonder how noisy the rain is? How do you weather proof it from rust or heat? Does this turn the backyard into an oven once the roof absorbs the subtropical heat in Queensland?

    This is a wonderful, inspiring project! Thanks for sharing!

Join the conversation

2 of 43 comments
  • Joanie
    on May 31, 2020

    Whatever it takes for privacy......we all need it and you GOT it! Nice job and it looks great!!

  • Jim Cox
    on May 31, 2020

    really nice look! I have this ‘gate’ in my head (screenshot from a movie) you just showed me how to do it better!

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