Our house is built on a slope which gives us a front entrance at street level, but a totally daylight lower level. We spend most of our time on our upper deck, but occasionally entertain on the patio below. When we do spend time on the patio, we have the houses across the street looking down on us from their decks. I feel so exposed! Even though we don’t spend a lot of time on the downstairs patio, when we do, I want privacy!
I’ve seen several DIY projects for privacy fences, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money or put a ton of effort into this project. Paul (the hubs), was going to be doing most of the work, and I would be the job foreman. I’m happy to report that we’re still married, considering our…”lively” discussion during which he informed me he couldn’t make my champagne vision work on my beer budget. Why can’t we have full growth ivy winding it’s way through the lattice panels, while we sit in cushy new patio chairs sipping Mojitos listening to the gentle gurgle of a three-tier water feature? Asshole!
He patiently waited while I threw a small fit and allowed a sufficient amount of time for pouting before we got to work. The week before, we had picked up three lattice panels at an estate sale for like $5 total. Cheeeaap! I wanted to keep the lattice it’s natural wood color, but I wanted to paint the frame white. We had some 1×3 boards left over from a previous project, and a half can of white paint in the basement, so all we needed to buy was a bit of hardware and we were good to go.
Our lattice panels measured about 32 x 48, so Paul cut enough 1 x 3’s to create frames for each. Instead of mitering the corners, we decided to straight cut the boards and just butt the corners together.
Paul took a break while I painted all the boards with a couple coats of white exterior paint. I made sure to paint the ends of the boards since some of the ends would be exposed. I wanted to sandwich the lattice between two frames, but we were out of lumber, so I agreed to seeing how it looked with the frame on just one side. If it looked tacky like that, we’d add a frame to the back.
We did a final check to make sure everything was square, then air stapled the end of each lattice slat to the frame. It turned out a lot sturdier than I thought it would be. We quickly finished the other two panels, and the construction phase was done. (At this point we had begun speaking again).
I wanted the panels to be placed at a height that provided privacy both when we were sitting or standing. Paul held up a panel while I eyeballed the height (very high-tech precise measuring system, yes?). Then we measured and marked to be sure the three panels were evenly spaced across. Starting at one end, Paul slipped the drill bit through the chain , attached a screw to the drill bit (I love that they’re magnetic), and drilled the screw at his first mark. We used 10 lb capacity chain (that I was certain wasn’t strong enough to hold the panels).
He measured the chain from the drilled screw to the length we needed to attach it to the panel for the height we had decided on. Using two needle-nosed pliers, he opened the last link on the chain and slipped off the excess chain. He then attached an S-hook into the bottom link, and squeezed the link back together with his pliers.
Finally, we hooked the S-hooks that were attached to the end of the chains, into the eyescrews on the top of the frames, and hung the panels. We stood back to take a look, and I’ll be damned! After only a little bit of adjusting, which we did by moving the screws holding the chains a hair up or down, the panels were level and evenly spaced. Not bad for a couple hours work!
Turns out, all my kicking and screaming was a waste of energy, because the end result looked almost exactly what I had envisioned (minus the furniture and waterfall). I had originally wanted the bottom of the panels to be anchored, but was talked out of it. I ended up loving the airy feeling it has by just letting them hang free. I had also originally wanted to use heavier chain, but by using the lighter-weight, the chain is barely visible and gives the panels the appearance of being suspended in mid-air. I really need to work on this control issue a teeny bit, and put a little more faith in my man. Obvs he knows what he’s doing.