How to - Gardening Resources

Easy-to-build lattice screen

Paul Lewis
Photography by
Mark Burstyn

Hide an air conditioner or composter with this easy outdoor screen.

Corner posts 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 37 1/2" 4
Front lattice panel3/8" x 29 1/2" x 37 1/2" 1
Side lattice panels3/8" x 29 1/2" x 29 1/2" 2
Front crosspieces1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 37 1/2" 2
Side crosspieces1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 29 1/2" 2
Vertical retaining strips 3/4" x 3/4" x 28"6
Short horizontal retaining strips3/4" x 3/4" x 29 1/2"4
Long horizontal retaining strips3/4" x 3/4" x 37 1/2"2
Deck screws (corrosion resistant)#8 x 3"122
Galvanized finishing nails1 1/2"approx. 100
Galvanized spikes12"4
Nylon cable ties4

Next, install retaining strips on the inside face of the posts and crosspieces using galvanized finishing nails driven every four inches. These will form a ledge against which you can attach the lattice. Once the retaining strips are in place, put the precut lattice panel in position and secure it with more nails driven through the lattice into the corner posts and crosspieces. You'll need to drive these nails at an angle to prevent them from poking out the other side of the retaining strips.

Move the completed front panel out of the way and repeat the assembly procedure to construct the back panel. Get some help holding these upright while you add the side crosspieces and lattice panels to create the complete four-sided screen. Apply a few coats of oil-based, semi-transparent stain to all surfaces. The stain will help guard against sun and water damage, and help prevent the cedar from turning grey with age.

Installation is simple. The screen is self-supporting and just sits around the air conditioner. However, you may have to dig out some dirt around the bottom of the posts so the screen is sitting level. Hold the screen in place by driving 12" galvanized spikes (used to nail landscape railway ties together) into the ground beside each corner post. Secure each post to the spike with a nylon cable tie to prevent the screen from shifting.

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