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How to DIY an Outdoor Privacy Screen
    Sometimes putting up a backyard fence to increase privacy feels like overkill. Maybe you anticipate backlash from your neighbors. Maybe you aren’t ready to make that type of investment. Or, maybe you don’t need THAT much privacy.  Adding an outdoor privacy screen is a great solution. It gives you the privacy you’re looking for without shutting out the whole neighborhood. Plus, it’s an easy DIY project to knock out over a weekend.

    How much privacy do you need?

    Before you start thinking about design, consider why you’re building the screen in the first place. Do you want full privacy, or partial privacy? Are you trying to block out excess noise? Do you want it to blend in or be a show piece?  Asking these questions will help you decide on both the type of screen you build and the materials you use to build it. If your neighborhood has building covenants, make sure you check with the Homeowners Association before building your privacy screen.

    Outdoor privacy screen materials

    The type of material you use for your backyard privacy screen will depend on your budget, the atmosphere you want to create, and the materials you are comfortable working with. Wood. Most outdoor privacy screens resemble fences and are made of wood. Pre-made fencing, lattice panels, or horizontal boards are all convenient options for building your screen. Lattice panels will provide the least amount of privacy since there are small holes in the paneling, and a horizontal wood board screen will give you immense privacy since the boards are fitted tightly together. Maintenance and upkeep is certainly part of your decision-making process. When using wood, you do have to think about staining or painting – and how that aspect is going to hold up over the years. Outdoor privacy screens are outside taking the brunt of serious storms, harsh UV rays, and frigid temperatures. In some areas, that might mean staining the screen every two to three years. If you don’t have time for maintenance projects, consider the other available options. Metal. Steel and aluminum sheets can be used in various ways to create a modern, edgy privacy screen. Corrugated metal on the other hand, comes across as more rustic. There’s no wrong type of metal to use, as long as it fits your unique style and personality. Rust is a common concern, but the only metal you need to worry about rusting is iron. You’re in the clear if you’re using steel, aluminum, or copper Plant material. There’s immense opportunity to get creative with your landscaping to create more backyard privacy. Strategically placed hedges, trees, and vines can be an easy, natural solution. You can even combine materials such as lattice and vines to create a soft, romantic atmosphere. Plant life can be artificial, too, making it a breeze to achieve the look and height you’re going for. Plus, artificial plants are much easier to maintain. Fabric curtains. On covered porches or decks, curtains can be pushed to the side when not in use, then pulled shut to create a cozy retreat. For the curtain fabric, use an outdoor material that can withstand rain and won’t fade in the sun. Construction Plan. Once you’ve decided on materials, it’s time to make an assembly plan. How are you going to build the screen? What comes first? What tools do you need? Make a list of materials and tools, take note of important measurements, then locate that list of items. You might have some of the tools you need, but DIY projects often require tools you don’t use on a regular basis. Your local rental store is a great resource to help fill in the gaps. As with any new project, you’ll probably experience some trial and error. Consult with your local rental store on your project. They know the equipment best and are a valuable resource in making sure you get your projects accomplished quickly, easily and with the highest quality result. Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products to help you build your privacy screen project quickly and efficiently. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I block the neighbors’ view of my yard? Strategically place your outdoor screen between your most-used space and adjacent homes so neighbors  are no longer able to see onto your property. If you want a larger barrier between houses, consider low-maintenance landscaping that grows at least five feet high. What can I put outside for privacy? If you don’t want to build an outdoor privacy screen, you can buy one. There are plenty of ready-to-use options that can be set up without any tools. A few tall potted plants could also do the trick. How do I make my outdoor porch private? You can put in a fence, build a privacy screen using the ideas mentioned above, or purchase something to block the view. Don’t be afraid to dream big when planning your DIY privacy screen. The options are extremely customizable. And remember: your project doesn’t have to be overly difficult for it to be a success. Stick to what you like and what’s feasible for you. Before long, you’ll have a beautiful addition to your outdoor space — and some much-needed privacy.