DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen

1 Day

Our neighborhood is situated on a hill, so we get the pleasantness of having a huge house peering into our backyard. Even if a fence were up, the house is high enough that our neighbors would see right into our backyard. So, after years off feeling a lack of privacy when hanging out on our porch, I finally came up with an idea! A cute little privacy screen that resembles the look of a pergola.
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I didn't want to make this permanent since we'll hopefully be building a pergola in the next year or two. So, for now, I just dug a hole by my patio about 13" deep (calling the gas/power company to make sure there were no lines) and placed the 4x4 in it. I used a level to make sure it was straight. Adding rocks/shims to get it level.
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For the curtain rod, I found that using a rod that secured directly into the wood was the best option for high wind situations.
diy outdoor privacy screen pergola, diy, outdoor living, porches
For the curtains themselves, I used drop clothes.
diy outdoor privacy screen pergola, diy, outdoor living, porches
When the curtains are closed, and it's windy, I needed a way for them to stay put. So, I placed grommets on the corners and secured them to the ground with a little "U" pin.
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I wish I had done this years ago! The look is perfect for the space, and the privacy is just wonderful.
diy outdoor privacy screen pergola, diy, outdoor living, porches
This is was it looks like closed. I'll probably add some cute pattern to it eventually, but for now it does the job! Another plus? I now have something to hang lights from! To see the full tutorial, visit my blog!
Thrifty and Chic

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


Have a question about this project?

24 questions
  • Florita Arichea
    on Dec 4, 2015

    This is all nice and appealing. Just curious, do you leave the furnitures out during wet weather?

    • Faith austin
      on Feb 28, 2016

      I did something similar but I used shower curtains and shower hooks It was a lot easier and faster!

    • Susan Moye
      on Mar 13, 2016

      I used drop cloth and did splatter paint on it. Turned out really cute. Not so plain.

    • Donna Ferguson
      on Oct 7, 2016

      My drop cloth curtains mildewed so bad I could not get them clean. I tried a second pair which I treated with mildew resistance spray and water resistant spray but neither worked. The second pair also had mildew.

  • Kami
    on May 15, 2016

    I love your rug, where did you get it?

  • Kathie S
    on Jun 2, 2016

    You stated that you used a rod that attached directly to the wood. Did you slip the curtains on the rod first before screwing it in ? I guess what I'm really asking is how can you change the curtains if the rod is attached ? Or do you just not.

    • Billie Rohl
      on Jun 14, 2016

      I guess she would have to remove the screws and take the rod down to switch the drop cloths/curtains. Alternately, I'm thinking you could put grommets in the top of the curchins, then attach them to the rods with shower curtain rings. Then just unfastened the rings when you wanted to swap out the curtains.

    • Kathy Williamson
      on Sep 19, 2016

      Cafe ring clips work great, that's what I use.

  • Katrina
    on Jul 8, 2016


  • Michelle
    on Jul 9, 2016

    This is exactly what I need too! If you used drop cloth did you have to sew it so rods slid in? Maybe somebody could provide a substitute suggestion since I cant do that?

    • Claire Wichelmann
      on Sep 17, 2016

      Walmart sells clip-on cafe rings. I used them for the curtains and 1" PVC pipe for the rods on my deck re-do.

    • Vanessa
      on Sep 17, 2016

      Use a grommet kit and thread the rod through the grommet holes.

    • Ear11903024
      on Sep 18, 2016

      Or use plastic 3 inch cafe curtain rings that snap through the grommets.

    • Kathy Williamson
      on Sep 19, 2016

      I screwed hooks into the wood and use cafe clip rings. The big ones have a strong grip. I use twin xl white sheets, just the right weight and no sewing.

  • Rita.gindi
    on Nov 6, 2016

    How do the drop cloths fare in heavy rain? Do they look bad afterwards, or dry nicely?

    • Shirley Lawson-Eaton
      on Nov 8, 2016

      I live in Florida and ,ine mildewed. I'm thinking about trying shower curtains if I can find enough alike.

    • Lbp2445159
      on Nov 30, 2016

      Mine mildewed too.

    • CK Satterfield
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Try Amazon for shower curtains. Try spraying with Lysol to help with mildew.

    • Leeskid2
      on Jan 23, 2017

      My drop cloths molded quickly. I purchased 6 shower curtains and they haven't molded.

    • Stephanie Buxton
      on Feb 1, 2017

      I would think drop cloths would work well and not mildew if you treated the fabric with an outdoor fabric spray like camp dry or Scotchgard. It rains a lot here in Oregon and that works for us.

    • Jenissa Lillard
      on Feb 2, 2017

      I used drop clothes as well, even using ScotchGuard to protect them they still mildewed.

    • Jym Allen Hitt
      on Mar 5, 2017

      Start hitting your Goodwill and other ReSale stores NOW and by summer you should have enuf matching shower curtains!

    • Carla M
      on Mar 5, 2017

      I put scotch guard on mine so lets see if that works!

    • Barb Smith
      on Mar 5, 2017

      Try spraying Wet and Forget outdoor use/fabric. This should clear the mildew.

    • Barbara
      on Apr 4, 2017

      Try spraying them with a waterproofing spray

  • Brenda
    on Jan 22, 2017

    , what if you have a bad storm what do you do then

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Put the curtains away I you know it coming?

    • Debbie Nance
      on Apr 8, 2017

      They wouldn't need to be taken down in bad weather. Just tied to the posts wld be enough. Important to remember, though, is to spread them open to dry when the storm passes to let them dry. If not, they can, and probably will, get mold spots.

    • Jennifer
      on Apr 17, 2017

      Use a fabric spray that will help waterproof the fabric that you choose, I've used regular curtains outdoors as well as shower curtains ( fabric ones)
      I'm located in Western NY where we get a fair share of rainy summer weather just an FYI.

      , Fabric spray
    • Hel6645655
      on Apr 28, 2017

      I like the look!

  • Patrisha Williams
    on Jan 22, 2017

    How many 4x4's did you use for the privacy screen & how did you secure the curtain rods directly into the 4x4's? Also I notice you have lights on top of each 4x4...are they solar lights & how were they secured to the top of 4x4a?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 24, 2017

      They look like solar lights

    • Cindyanne
      on May 3, 2017

      Home Depot sells solar post cap lights and they don't require screws just pop right on top. Mine have been up for 5 years and going strong - stay out year round.

  • Aimee Rountree
    on Mar 6, 2017

    Where did you find the rods and how big/long are they? I need some for my outdoor space. Thank you!

    • Billie Ray Shoe
      on Apr 12, 2017

      I haven't made this but I would use the iron plumbing pipes. They would be stronger than any curtain rod you can buy

    • Inge Vasalech
      on Apr 30, 2017

      The rods look more like the top rods of a chain link fence

    • Caseyem11
      on May 3, 2017

      Plumbing pipes are strong and can be any length.

    • Jea5933929
      on May 3, 2017

      Galvanized pipe works well. You could attach to the wooden posts with flange fittings, as well. Neat and easy!

    • Adluv41
      on May 3, 2017

      I used narrow plumbing pipe, spray painted them bronze, then cut to size

    • Lor22307250
      on May 3, 2017

      We used this idea on our deck. We decided to use the top rods of a chain link fence. We had to use a connector in the middle, and attach it to the deck, because of the length we needed. I also spray painted them black to go with our theme. It looks great and has held up great too. Love my curtains out of the painter's cloth and even made cushion covers for our chairs out of them.

    • Anne
      on May 3, 2017

      You could also use electrical conduit pipe or PVC pipe with rebar inside for stability for the curtain rod.

  • Sharyl Caparaso
    on Apr 30, 2017

    WHow wide and long are the screen s

  • Fran Mikutis
    on May 3, 2017

    Can you do these horizontally? We have a screened in lanai and use outside shades. These would so much nicer. Thanks

  • Ali12444994
    on May 3, 2017

    I live in a apartment second floor would like more privacy on my deck!

    • Liz
      on May 3, 2017

      Alice, I saw a blog where a woman had a 2nd floor apt. & framed white plastic lattice work. She anchored the frames of lattice work to the deck railing with hose clamps, so they weren't permanent and could be removed. She put these up all around her deck. Good luck!!

    • Cynthia Whitney
      on May 3, 2017

      Depending on the size of the deck, you might be able to use expandable shower curtain rods. You can get holders for them so they don't slip down. I don't remember what those are called but I got them for the bathroom after 20 years of struggling with the rods falling down. (I'm a slow learner, I guess.) Anyhow, then you have the option of what kind of curtains you want. Simple sheers might be enough, allowing you to look out without being so visible to others, and also allowing for airflow. Inexpensive sheets with tiebacks could work. Colorful beach towels would make a different look. You could hang them with clip-on curtain rings, shower curtain rings, hems that slide over the rod. If it's too much distance for a curtain or shower curtain rod, think in terms of a long closet rod. Just be sure you have good tiebacks so the whole thing doesn't go flying off to the neighbors!

    • Mary Valleau
      on May 4, 2017

      hang your laundry outside, everyone will go away no one wants to look at another persons lau dry

    • Amanda
      on May 6, 2017

      Plants too

  • Debbie Je
    on May 3, 2017

    Did you sew a pocket for the drop cloth and then slide on to the pipe?
    If you did this then you'd have to take the rods apart every year depending on where you live for the winter months..

    • Rita Hendricks
      on May 3, 2017

      I don't really understand the privacy curtains with the Privacy Fence in the background ??

    • Victoria Healey-Etten
      on May 3, 2017

      She said their neighborhood has a hill so there is a large house overlooking their yard regardless of the fence. You can see it in one of her photos.

    • Joyce
      on May 3, 2017

      Read why they needed privacy! They live on a hill. Houses above them can see over fence into yard. Privacy curtains are taller

    • Mikkigirl
      on May 4, 2017

      But can't the neighbors still see down into the pagoda? I was expecting it to be covered, or to see a shade sail.

    • Tanzy Marie Tucker
      on May 4, 2017

      I was expecting to see an overhead over that area too.

    • Amanda
      on May 6, 2017

      When they are sitting next to the curtains they will be blocked by the curtains but from where the picture was taken which appears to be many feet away the neighbors could still see that grassy area. The photo was purposely shot at that distance so you could visualize the neighbors windows and how obviously intrusive it would feel because you would feel as though your being watched.

  • Karla Mathis Bostic
    on May 3, 2017

    My concern is when you get strong winds, do the curtains come loose? They would knock over everything on your table etc. We have a pretty substantial artificial tree in a pot on our porch and even it gets knocked over from the wind.

    • Susan
      on May 3, 2017

      they would be tied to posts when not in use, so not a problem during storms.

  • Jazzysam
    on May 4, 2017

    PLEASE PLEASE tell ! Where did you purchase your outdoor rug from ?? I have been looking for one with that exact same pattern !! ?? THANKS so much !! I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE, your Project !!! Just the idea I needed for my privacy problem too !! THANKS so much for posting !! Karen

    • Sharon R
      on May 4, 2017

      Give or Rugs USA a try. Both have great indoor/outdoor carpets for a decent price.

    • Diane
      on May 4, 2017

      QVC has great affordable outdoor rugs

    • Tinalyn
      on May 4, 2017 has indoor outdoor rugs that are just beautiful you can actually take them outside and hose them down but use them in the house as well

    • Deb
      on May 6, 2017


    • Jazzysam
      on May 8, 2017

      THANKS Everyone so much for all the help !! Thanks Deb !! I am looking for that pattern in the rug pictured above . I love the arrow pattern !! ;)

    • Karenzrust
      on May 11, 2017

      I ordered rugs from QVC, have them in my kitchen now, but they can be out side too, love them...

    • Cheryl Zeis
      on May 11, 2017

      Not sure of the patterns this year, but try Lowes.

    • Bon13511423
      on Jun 4, 2017

      I have a patterned outdoor rug and night it at Lowe! Love it!!!

    • Bon13511423
      on Jun 4, 2017

      I am sorry. I need to read my post before sending it😔. I bought the patterned rug at Lowes

  • Rob9243961
    on May 4, 2017

    what do you use to weight down the curtains so they don't blow in the wind?

    • Amanda
      on May 6, 2017

      She said she put grommets in the bottom corners of the drop cloth and then used an 'U' pin looped it thru the grommet and then secured it by pushing it into the soil in the ground.

    • Rob9243961
      on May 6, 2017

      Thanks Amanda!

    • GM Waller
      on Jun 10, 2017

      I am in the process of putting up new outdoor curtains....I am adding pvc pipe and a chain through the pipe, in the hem at the bottom to anchor the curtains.....very windy in Texas...haven't got them done.....hope it works... :)

  • Clint
    on Jun 6, 2017

    How far apart did you place the posts?

  • Curtains. I used shower curtains worked great

  • Colin Putman
    on Jun 28, 2017

    plant a nice Eucalypt tree in front of their windows they grow like wildfire

  • Trish Wright
    on Jul 4, 2017

    how tall are the posts? 4x4x? And, what's your umbrella stand made of, from where?

  • Jerry Bigenho
    on Aug 5, 2017

    My daughter and son in law did a project very similar to this on their deck. However within a few days the drop cloths became mildewed. Did you use any sort of anti-mildew treatment ?

    • Tina
      on Aug 13, 2017

      that was my first thought too Jerry. I had a cute canvas sign hanging outdoors and it too became moldy

    • Paula Fick
      on Aug 16, 2017

      I would use shower curtains

    • Deb
      on Aug 20, 2017

      I think waterproofing (ex: Scotchguard spray) will prevent mildewing.

    • Sue13013252
      on Aug 21, 2017

      I used sheets and have had no problems

  • Che13512545
    on Aug 21, 2017

    Did you attach it to your house? Why or why not?

  • Claudette
    on Aug 21, 2017

    What about shower curtains?

    • Nancy J.
      on Aug 30, 2017

      I've used shower curtains and outside they seem to mold quite quickly. I'm not sure why. Maybe something in the atmospher?

  • Betty
    on Dec 10, 2017

    Why’s not use a white fabric shower curtain

    • Lbn8456836
      on Jun 13, 2018

      Shower curtains typically are only 70in long...

    • Michelle
      on Jul 1, 2018

      Depending on the climate a shower curtain would dry out and become brittle and break

    • Drop cloths are heavier than a showe curtain and won’t blow around And they are only temporary as stated in the beginning of the article.

Join the conversation

210 of 256 comments
  • Heje
    on Jun 25, 2018

    I am inspired and will definitely use your idea to create my own privacy screen with lights. Thank you!

  • Di Francis
    on Jul 7, 2018

    i love this project. i am a renter and am trying to think of ways to adapt my small (very small) space outside my unit to a similar style. unfortunately, the landlord does not own the units on that side of us (and it shows). i truly need some type of privacy from the view/space/eyes.

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