It’s time to start thinking about outdoor privacy screen ideas for your garden! This guide will give you ideas to start building your own trellises and privacy screens. With Spring on the horizon, I find myself thinking about outdoor projects! When you live in a suburban neighbourhood, where the houses are packed in like sardines, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of privacy.
The smaller trellises are ideal for using up scraps of wood you might already have on-hand.
Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas
If you build a trellis for your garden this spring, you could have a lush green look – and more privacy – by summer!
When we decided to landscape our front and back yards we searched high and low for perfectly sized privacy screens and trellises – to no avail. The solution? Build our own!
Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas – Trellis For Clematis
The best trellis for clematis is one that isn’t skimpy! Like I always advise when doing something new, start small first! Get all your frustration – I mean trial and error of course – out on something that’s manageable in terms of time, effort, money and scale. A case in point is the following DIY trellis for your clematis! THEN, you can reach for the sky and go BIG!
The original trellis for the clematis that came with the house was skimpy and too small.
The new trellis is taller and wider; our clematis is much happier to have space to spread!
Doing it yourself has many advantages: you can design whatever your heart desires, build it to the size you want, in the wood you want and pick your own finishes!
For our projects, we use cedar for its beauty and durability in the great outdoors.
Our first trellis project is by the little pond near our front door. This is what the entry to our house looked like when the clematis was just starting to grow:
The clematis took it it’s new support system right away and is flourishing now! Check out our tips on how to train clematis now for beautiful bloom by summer! Although we still have to ‘train’ it, once it starts to sprout up, it’s on its own. Here’s what it looks like in late spring:
And here it is when the clematis is in full bloom in the summer:
Hiding an Ugly View
Another problem area is right by our front door with a less than pleasant view of our neighbour’s garbage bins – ugh.
That view went from this…
To this once the trellis was in place:
This is how it looks when the vines start to take hold in early summer:
My husband built the planter box that sits behind the trellis so the vines can grow through the lattice. It also adds to the curb appeal and can be viewed from the street (see more creative planter ideas).
Before long, the trellis is covered.
In the winter, we store our ‘summer’ trellis in the garage on hooks…..
… so we can swap it out for another screen with outdoor fabric in the centre so it completely blocks our view – and acts as a wind screen too!
We used L-brackets to support the screen by our front door. Even galvanized metal can rust, so spray paint it to protect it from the elements (it will help slow down the damage from harsh winter weather!). Here’s a better look at the L-bracket supporting the screen at the bottom:
Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas – Backyard
Once your get your feet wet with a few smaller projects, you’re ready for the big time. The big Kahuna of all trellises!
After finishing landscaping in our backyard, we wanted a HUGE trellis on which to grow silver lace vines. Vines provide us with a sense of privacy from surrounding neighbours. As you can see from this overview of the lot, we back on to many yards and privacy is at a premium!
Our requirements? The trellis had to be extremely large to give us privacy and be able to support a fast-growing vine.
Our trellis was built to about 10 feet wide and 8 feet long and perfectly supports and frames our Silver Lace Vine. Not only does it look gorgeous when the vines are fully grown in the summer (when you can’t even see the trellis), but it gives us something interesting to look at in the spring too.
Since the screen was so big and you’ll needed a flat surface to arrange and build on. We put a sheet of plastic down in the garage so we could build away from the elements.
We keep the construction simple. Using a pin nailer with dabs of PL construction adhesive, which we have on-hand, we secure everything together.
For the X’s, we mitre the ends so they’ll fit nicely into the square shapes. They’re glued and pinned on all sides. Decide which pieces you want to lay ‘in front’ and which pieces can fall to the back. There’s no right or wrong because it’s just a matter of deciding how you want it to look.
By laying it all out on the floor first you can finalize the order of how you want to put it all together. Some sections we built like ladders, and longer pieces ended up bridging the width of the whole screen to make it more secure. My best advice would be to continue to learn through trial and error (building on what you learned on your smaller practice piece).
Securing it to the fence
We could have gone two routes with a trellis this size – attach the whole thing to large posts by digging out holes and securing it in the ground with concrete (like a fence post) or have it ‘floating’ on the fence and propped up on top of a few rectangular stones. We went with the latter choice.
We placed the three large stones in the garden bed. Then we attached some u-shaped struts to the back of the trellis in several places. The struts we used were deep enough that we could easily get a screw into the middle of the bracket and permanently fasten it to the fence.
We attached it this manner so we could remove it at some point in the future if we ever wanted to. Now that the garden below the trellis is all grown in with various ground cover, you can’t even see the stone it’s sitting on. And you don’t notice the brackets either – especially when the vines have matured in the summer.
Here are some pictures of how our Silver Lace has evolved over time. It makes a fantastic lush green privacy screen.
Birdz on the Fly
If you’re interested in building your own, to obtain a sketch of the Silver Lace Trellis, you’ll find it in our members-only craft room, Birdz on the Fly (just look for the picture below). If you’re not already an e-mail subscriber, you need to become one by filling out the form below. When you confirm your e-mail, you’ll receive a welcome message with the password (sorry but Bloglovin’ subscribers won’t have access to the password unless subscribed by e-mail). We change the password periodically, so check the newsletter often. You’ll find our new freebie library at Birdz on the Fly.
Our next project was building a privacy screen for my husband so he wouldn’t be staring into our neighbour’s yard between the gaps in the fence every time he barbecued. We used the same principles to build the privacy screen as we did for the winter screen by our front door, except we used bamboo instead of fabric on the majority of it. We built our frame, then staple gunned a roll of bamboo onto the middle section of the frame and used fabric in the top section. This particular screen slips in between the fence and the retaining wall. ‘L’ brackets support it at the top of the fence.
Because the BBQ screen is smaller than the trellis (and our Canadian winters can be brutal!), we remove it every winter and store it on hooks on a wall in our garage. It keeps the fabric, bamboo and wood from aging faster than they normally would outside.
Fabric Privacy Screen
Another fabric screen we built was one for my mother-in-law to cover up the fencing around her deck. As you can see in the shot below, the fence is quite open. She has a corner lot and the screen provides a barrier from the traffic and passersby:
Here’s how it looks now with the privacy screens in place:
In this particular instance, we used magnets to secure the screen to the structure. By attaching wooden knobs as handles, it’s easy for my MIL to install and remove since there’s no screws to deal with!
Subscribe and Pin
I hope we’ve given you a few ideas to inspire you to think about trellises and privacy screens as your next DIY project … now go build one for yourself!
If these projects have inspired you, please pin and share on Facebook!
Check out some of our other garden ideas and inspiration:
- Build a zen water feature
- Build a rock garden
- Build a dry creek bed
- Train clematis on a trellis
- Landscape a backyard into an oasis
- Add curb appeal with a front pond
- Build trellises and privacy screens
- Make a soda bottle vertical garden
- Creative planter ideas for the garden; and
- DIY mirror and shelf to expand a small outdoor space.
And don’t forget to spring forward for daylight saving time!
At Birdz of a Feather, we’re feathering the nest… one room at a time. Follow our blog here to see upcoming DIY projects, in and around the home. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Sara, I’m your latest follower. Your post was featured in my morning Hometalk roundup. These trellises, and the thought and effort you put in to the design and build, is inspiring. I’m looking forward to following along.
I’m originally from Ontario, Canada, but my family moved to the states when I was still a girl.
Thanks for the shout-out and complement!
fantastic! there’s nothing like privacy! you did a great job….
Love all your ideas. We live in California where lot lines are close together and privacy can be tough so we will definitely be copying some of your designs!
Thanks Kelly; I’m flattered 🙂 If you didn’t see our latest privacy screen, check it out here: http://birdzofafeather.ca/diy/solid-fence-screen/
These are all fabulous. I love that you created such interesting designs on each one instead of just the plain ones you see every day. That big one in the back garden is my favourite.
The trellises turned out gorgeous! You really outdid yourself! My husband is the big gardener and he would love this!
Thanks so much! We have a tiny lot and those trellises are SO great for privacy as well as looking gorgeous with plant material.