DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen Tutorial

Article Posted By: Caitlin Ketcham

DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen

This DIY outdoor screen, with its horizontal slats and dark stain, is as gorgeous as it is functional. Caitlin Ketcham, of the blog Desert Domicile, came up with the idea for the slatted privacy screen as part of a major overhaul of her backyard as part of our Patio Style Challenge series.

Caitlin came up with the backyard design ideas, and The Home Depot helped with the construction of some of the bigger DIY projects in her backyard makeover, including building a floating deck, constructing a built-in outdoor bench, and laying artificial grass in her backyard.

Caitlin wrote up this step-by-step tutorial for her lovely outdoor privacy screen so you can see how it was constructed. This can serve a as a guide to building your own slatted wood screen.

DIY Outdoor Slatted Privacy Screen

I wanted to make my outdoor space feel more like an outdoor living room and less like a back patio. Below you can see my patio before adding the privacy screen– or much of anything else.

I knew we’d be adding a striped outdoor rug, a patio sectional, a patio lounge chair, and an outdoor coffee table, and I wanted the “room” to feel intimate and cabana-like when everything was all said and done. Part of that cabana vibe would come from blocking the view of the side of our neighbor’s house– just to make the space a little more cozy.

An outdoor slatted privacy screen was exactly what we needed. Here’s how this outdoor privacy screen was built.


A back patio in need of a makeover

Tools Needed

Materials Needed

Lumber Used for This Screen


Step 1 – Determine screen dimensions

Before you begin to build your outdoor privacy screen, you’ll need to determine it’s dimensions. We used a measuring tape to measure the height and width of my space (9 ft.tall x 93½ in. wide) so we could determine the length of the 2 x 4 anchors I’d need for the sides (9 ft. tall).

Determining dimensions for a DIY outdoor privacy screen


Step 2 – Decide on your slat board spacing

After you’ve determined the size of your slatted screen, decide on the spacing you’d like between your slats. This spacing will help you determine how many 2 x 6 boards you’ll need ahead of time so you don’t have to run back to the store mid-project!

Based on the dimensions of my space, we decided on a ¾ in. gap between each 2 x 6 board (starting at the top) because we wanted to avoid having to rip any boards down to size at the end. We also wanted to leave enough space for air and light to get in.

Measuring the spacing between slats of a DIY outdoor privacy screen


Step 3 – Measure and mark vertical anchor boards

Once you have all of your dimensions, grab your 2 x 4 x 10 pieces of pressure treated lumber. Use a measuring tape and pencil to mark and measure your previously determined height on each board.

Measuing and marking vertical anchor boards for a DIY patio privacy screen


Step 4 – Cut vertical anchor boards down to size

If the height you need is less than 10 ft., cut each 2 x 4 x 10 piece of pressure treated lumber down to the correct size using a compound miter saw or circular saw. If the height you need is 10ft. on the dot, skip ahead to the next step!

Cutting vertical anchor boards down to size for an outdoor privacy screen


Step 5 – Stain and seal the vertical anchor boards

After your 2 x 4 x 10 boards have been cut down to size, line a paint tray with a paint tray liner, pour some exterior stain into the lined tray, grab your foam paint roller and start staining.

Use a rag to wipe off any excess stain as you go and don’t forget to stain the ends of the boards!

Repeat the staining process until the boards are stained to your desired darkness. Set each board aside to dry according to the time listed on your stain can/bucket.

Note: The stain I chose had a built-in sealer so I didn’t have to seal my boards any further. If your stain doesn’t have a sealer in it, seal your boards after the stain has dried.

Staining and sealing the vertical anchor boards of a patio privacy screen


Step 6 – Attach anchor boards

When the stain has dried completely, it’s time to attach the anchor boards to your house!

We used a drill to attach my pre-cut 2 x 4 boards to our exterior stucco walls. We anchored each board into a stud (very important!) with eight 3/8 x 5 in. lag bolts (four per board). The type and size of screw you use will depend on the type of material you’re attaching your boards to.

Attaching anchor boards to the wall to hold a DIY outdoor privacy screen


Step 7 – Measure and mark horizontal slat boards

Remember when we measured the height and width of our space back in Step 1? Well, the width of your space (93½ in. wide in my case) is going to be the size you’ll need to cut your 2 x 6 decking boards down. Use a measuring tape and pencil to mark and measure your width on each board you need.

Measuring and marking horizontal slat boards for an outdoor room divider


Step 8 – Cut horizontal slat boards down to size

Cut each 2 x 6 x 8 piece of decking board down to the correct size using a compound miter saw or circular saw.

Cutting horizontal slat boards down to size for a patio privacy screen project


Step 9 – Stain and seal the slat boards

After your 2 x 6 x 8 boards have been cut down to size, grab your foam roller and your paint tray full of stain and start staining again!

Use a rag to wipe off any excess stain as you go and don’t forget to stain the ends of the boards! Repeat the staining process until the boards are stained to your desired darkness. Set each board aside to dry according to the time listed on your stain can/bucket.

Note: the stain I chose had a built-in sealer so I didn’t have to seal my boards any further. If your stain doesn’t have a sealer in it, seal your boards after the stain has dried.

Staining and sealing the slat boards for a slatted outdoor screen


Step 10 – Attach cut and stained slat boards to vertical anchor boards

When the stain has dried completely, start attaching your 2 x 6 slats to the 2 x 4 vertical anchor boards using 3 in. deck screws (two screws per end). Work from the top down leaving a ¾ in. gap (or whatever size gap you decided on in Step 2 between each board.

Attaching cut and stained slat boards to the vertical anchor boards of a slatted outdoor screen

After you’ve finished attaching all of your slats, move your patio furniture in place, pour yourself a big glass of your beverage of choice and sit back and relax!

Adding the outdoor privacy screen to our patio has made such a difference. I love how much light streams in through the slats and I love the coziness it adds to our outdoor space.

Gorgeous DIY Slatted Outdoor Privacy Screen

Gorgeous DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen Tutorial

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