Design & Decor - Landscaping

Privacy panels for your garden

Paul Lewis
Photography by
Mark Burstyn

Garden privacy is just around the corner with these easy-to-build panels.

Privacy screens can be difficult to design: too high and the screen will overwhelm the deck, too low and it won't do its job. Staggering the screen's height (as shown here), effectively addresses both concerns. The corner section is tall enough to block the view, while the descending pattern of the adjoining sections makes the entire structure less obtrusive. And because the design is modular, you can build as many panels as necessary to custom-fit your space.

The materials used here are readily available at your local building centre, and the assembly is straight-forward enough for even a novice builder.

Once you've determined the number of panels you want and their dimensions, you're ready to begin.

Panel Frames
We built the frames using standard 2” x 2” cedar (which actually measures 1 1/2” x 1 1/2”). Starting with the two tallest panels, measure and cut the sides and crosspieces to length. Put the panel frames together on a flat surface to ensure they remain square; don't twist during assembly. If you don't have a workbench, a couple of sawhorses or even a picnic table will do.

Assemble the first frame using one #8 2 1/2”-long coated deck screw at each corner. Drill a 1/8”-diameter hole to prevent the wood from splitting when the screws are driven home. Add a bead of outdoor-rated construction adhesive to each joint for more strength. Build the perimeter of the frame first, then add the centre crosspiece. The location of the middle crosspieces in this project was determined by the height of the shortest panel, Panel D (see illustration, next page).

Cut the remainder of the sides and crosspieces. Assemble the rest of the frames the same way, using the tallest panel as a template.

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