This suburban home had a large underhouse area that was ideal for storage but open to the weather and visible from the garden.
The solution was to install a screen to hide the area from view, protect it from the elements and provide security for the items being stored.
For this home, the screen was mounted between brick piers but the same techniques can be used for a freestanding screen or to create a wall trellis for climbers and espalier.
Measure the space
To build it you’ll need 90 x 20mm ACQ decking, $2 a metre, and 90 x 45mm H3 treated pine, about $5 a metre.
The timber for this screen cost about $150.
The only other costs are hardware, paint and aluminium core flashing, which can be bought in rolls, such as Sureform Lead Free Roof Flashing, $96 for 140mm x 5m, from Bunnings.
Measure the space, dividing the finished height by the slat width plus gap to calculate the number needed.
The decking boards used for this project were 90mm wide and 20mm thick.
A board was used as a spacer, so 110mm was allowed for each slat.
TIP: At 1.8 x 2m high, this timber screen needed 19 slats.
Building with timber
Use H3 treated pine above ground but for in-ground structures like posts, use H4 grade treated pine.
CHOOSE ACQ treated pine over CCA treated pine. It’s often sold as ‘safe pine’ and is arsenic-free.
ORDER the timber in lengths that will minimise offcuts and wastage.
BUY longer lengths to save money. If you need three 1.8m lengths, buy a 5.4m piece of timber.
USE stainless steel fittings or screws and bolts classed ACQ-safe.
SELECT the timber yourself, being careful not to choose any warped, bowed or damaged pieces.
PAINT or treat timber as soon as possible after installing, sealing all cut ends before applying the finish.
TIP: You may find it easier to paint the slats for the screen after cutting, then touching-up after installation.
Whether they are part of another structure or freestanding, screens are extremely useful and very DIY-friendly to build. Here are a few ways to modify this project to suit your needs.
WALL SCREEN Secure 90 x 45mm exterior grade H3 timber battens to a wall and attach decking slats.
FREESTANDING SCREEN Sink 90 x 90mm H4 treated pine posts in the ground, then secure 90 x 45mm top and base plates. Add vertical studs spaced every 1000mm and attach horizontal slats.
PRIVACY SCREEN Extend the posts of balcony handrails, add a top plate then secure slats