DIY Wood Privacy Screen

Robin Lewis
by Robin Lewis
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!

DIY Home Security Ideas

Building a wood privacy screen prevents prying eyes from seeing into your home. For more ways to secure your property, read our post on 7 DIY Home Security Ideas!

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 12 questions
  • Shuganne 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!

  • Jennie Dang Jennie Dang on Jan 28, 2021

    What color and brand of your stains? It looks really good.

  • Connie Kuhn Connie Kuhn on Jan 29, 2021

    I too would like to know the color and brand of stain used please

Join the conversation
3 of 57 comments
  • Annie Annie on Feb 10, 2021

    Wow. I couldn’t do this if I tried, but I’m inspired. Very nice craftsmanship. Beautiful design. Steve is the cook (My hero) and I do the yard. I might try. lol


    • Tam Tam on Mar 13, 2022

      Ohhhh my gooodness! YOU absolutely COULD do this.... watch Youtube videos.... AND since this is only cosmetic... you can play around until you get what you like!

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 06, 2023

    I LOVE THIS! What a beautiful privacy screen. The concept, materials and design are spot on. Great mixture of textured materials. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. (By the way, I love the sound of rain on the roof! And, I like the idea of hanging solar lights from the slats.)