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Outdoor timber screen going from the corner of a brick house to a side fence

Overview

If you have something in your garden that you want to hide away from sight, like a water tank or hot water system, a timber screen might be the solution for you. We'll show you the steps you need to build your screen, evenly space your pickets and how to cap it.

Steps

1Attach a plinth board for the base

You'll need to start with a level base to support your timber screen. To make one, attach a plinth board to your frame using a nail gun. Just make sure the board is level when you attach it. You can also pack some dirt underneath the board to help you get it level.


DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

2Dig your post holes

Dig 2 post holes for your timber screen. If you plan to concrete in your posts, you'll need to make the holes about 600mm deep.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

3Make a check-out in your vertical post

You'll need to measure and cut a check-out in your load-bearing vertical post. This is so it can sit in your hole directly above your frame. Place your post in the hole and mark it at the top of the plinth. You'll also need to measure the thickness of the frame you're making the cut-out for – in this case it's 50mm. Use a circular saw to make cuts down to your required thickness and then knock these out with a hammer and chisel. Then use a chisel to clean up your checkout.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

4Measure and mark out the post height

With a fence paling, measure out how high you want your screen to be and then transfer that measurement onto your post.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

5Mark out notches in post for horizontal rails

You need to use horizontal rails to support your pickets. That means you'll need to make notches in your post for these rails. After deciding the heights your rails will be, mark out the notches on your post. Use an offcut from your rails to make your marks.

6Cut out notches in post

Use a circular saw to make the cuts where you have marked for your rail notches. Then use a hammer and chisel to knock out the notches for your post rails at 45-degrees.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

7Cut your post to height

Now you're ready to cut your post to the height you have measured out. This should be above the notch you have made for the top rail.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

8Concrete your posts in the holes

First mix your concrete, using a ratio of 5L of water per bag of quick-set concrete. Fill your hole up with the concrete making sure your posts are level and straight in their holes with a spirit level. Give the concrete 24 hours to set before you do any more work with the posts.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

9Drill holes in your post

Mark your post about a third of the way up and a third of the way down for your bolts. Drill a hole through your post with a spade bit. Then with a 11mm drill bit, drill through the hole you've made for the bolt to go into.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

10Drill into the brickwork

Then, using a 10mm masonry drill bit and a hammer drill, make your holes in the brickwork for your bolts to go into.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

11Insert and tighten your bolts

Hammer your bolts into the holes you have made. Then use a 1/2inch socket set to tighten the bolts to the wall.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

12Mark out your second post

Using the same paling that you used before, make your railing markings on your second post. You can also use the same offcut to mark your notches in the same spots as your first post.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

13Nail railings to your posts

Using a nail gun, attach your railings to your posts. Make sure that the nails go in at a slight angle so they don't pull straight out. You need to put in up to four nails at each notch to make sure the railing is secure enough to hold the pickets. 

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

14Mark and drill holes in your pickets

Hold your first picket in place on the framework. Then mark two holes on the picket in the middle of each railing. Now with a countersink bit, drill holes where you marked so your screws can sit flush in the picket. Do this for all the pickets you use on the screen.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

15Attach your pickets

Attach the pickets to the frame using the 50mm galvanised timber screws. After screwing in your first screw on each picket, make sure you use a spirit level to keep your pickets straight before screwing in the second screw.

DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

16Use a spacer between pickets

For an even space between your pickets, use an 8mm drill bit as a spacer between the pickets when you attach the screws. This will ensure that every picket has the same gap between them.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

17Attach your screen capping

To finish your timber screen, you need to cap the top. Screw 50mm timber screws with a drill driver into the top railing to attach the capping. Do this every 400500mm along your screen.
DIY Step Image - How to build a timber screen . Blob storage upload.

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.