Small Patio Solutions: How to Build a Privacy Trellis

So, turns out I’m still alive! Were you wondering? I know it’s been pretty quiet around here. This post has been “in development” for a few weeks because we’ve been doing a lot of traveling and pool hanging this Summer. It seems like we come home from one little adventure and before I know it, I’m packing for the next one. School starts early here (the end of July), and the little one starts all day school this year (queue simultaneous celebration/fetal position bawling–and pass the champagne), so we’re trying to squeeze all we can out of summer in a short period of time. But today I’ve finally got the rundown on how we built the privacy trellis for our small patio that I shared a couple of weeks months ago.

Farmhouse Patio Budget Backyard Ideas

So, this whole patio makeover was made up of a lot of real life solutions to fix or disguise parts of our yard that just weren’t our favorite. I mentioned in the reveal post that the BIGGEST game changer in taking everything in the direction that I was really envisioning was this little privacy trellis. Like, seriously, I can’t even tell you what a difference it made. A simple little wall, made of basically a bunch of 1 x 2’s was what this patio had been waiting for for years. Funnily enough, it was sort of one of those, “if you give a mouse a cookie,” situations. Or, as I like to call them around here, “if you give a girl a paintbrush.” The idea all started when Kelly asked me to participate in the Hanging Gutter DIH workshop with Home Depot. We get pretty crazy wind where we live, and I loved the hanging gutter planter idea, but when I started thinking about where to hang it, I just had visions of it doing backflips in the wind. Then the wheels started turning, which Chandler is never really a fan of. So combine a need for privacy in our yard, with my longing to have somewhere to hang pretty little twinkle lights (to which Chandler responds “this is our yard, not a cafe”) and the need to hang the gutter planter, and suddenly, one hanging gutter planter had turned into a Hanging Gutter Planter and a privacy trellis to hang it on. That’s how I roll.

DIY Privacy Trellis


To build your own, you’ll need: (contains affiliate links for your convenience)

1 x 2’s (we used 80 of them–you can buy them bundled in packs of 20)
4 x 4 posts (we used 3)
quick dry concrete (we used 2 bags for 3 posts)
wood stain (I used Minwax Provencial)
staining rags
saw for cutting down the lumber

*A little tip about the 1 x 2’s. This is the cheap pine lumber that can tend to be a little bowed and crooked, so we found that by buying them in the bundles, most of them were very straight (because they have to be bundled in a nice little cube), and we didn’t have to spend forever searching the lumber section for 80 pieces that were straight.

We started by measuring how long we wanted the trellis to be (11 ft.) and spaced our posts evenly so that there were two on each end and one down the middle. Then we purchased all of the lumber and cut our 1 x 2’s down to the lengths we needed. Rather than have them run from one end to the other, we decided to do it in two sections, and while I would like to say that it was creative genius, it was actually just an easier way to fit all of the lumber into our little car–picture me with a pile of wood running from my trunk to my dash, rolling through the coffee shop, it was a good laugh.  Then, we turned on some good music, grabbed some beers and spent the next few hours staining–the longest part of this whole project. (Also, yes, that’s gold spray paint on the garage walls–it’s a touchy subject with the husband ;)…and a random Santa Claus…and, well, I’m working on the garage hoard. )

How To Build A Privacy Trellis

I found as I went along that if I squished a bunch of the 1 x 2’s together, I could stain A LOT at once and things started going faster. There was a bit of drippiness, but wiped it as I worked and I intended on letting the wood sit in the weather a bit before sealing, so any drips worked themselves out. If you’re a perfectionist like, ahem, my husband, you can work with the wood one at a time ;) I’m impatient.

How to Build a Privacy Trellis Budget Patio Ideas

Once the stain on the posts had dried sufficiently, we dug holes about three feet deep for each post, mixed the concrete, stuck the post in, leveled it, and then poured the concrete in the hole. Given the wind situation at our house, we were still a little worried about the stability of this thing, but I’m telling you, it’s the one thing in our yard that DOES. NOT. MOVE. Not even a waiver. And let me apologize here for the lack of process pictures. 1. I get going on a project and the camera tends to get left behind, and 2. My camera battery died (story of my life) right as we got going, so I started snapping pictures with my phone when I remembered :( Basically, just to review: mix the concrete according to the package directions, set your post down in the hole, make sure it’s level, and pour the concrete in and let it dry. You’ll probably have to hold the post for a few minutes while the concrete sets a little, but it’s a pretty fast process. Then we just filled the hole back in with dirt.

Simple DIY Privacy Trellis

We let the concrete dry for a few hours and then got to work on adding all of the little slats. We lined up the first 1×2 with the top of the posts and nailed them in at each end. We went the old school hammer and nails route here simply because I don’t own a nail gun, and I’m a fan of the rustic look it gives everything (they’ve even weathered a bit already and look awesome), but if you have a nail gun, you can use that too and it will go SO much faster. You’ll also notice that it doesn’t go to the end of the post. That’s because our original plan was to run all of them in a straight line, so we cut them to a length where they would meet in the middle. You’ll see in a minute that we changed our plan a little, but it ended up working out pretty well. We did line them up flush with each end post (you can see what I mean in the last pictures).

small patio how to build a privacy trellis

We used a scrap piece of 1 x 2 to space the slats, and nailed 20 of them on each side. And this is where the plan started to change a little: We decided to alternate them on each section, so there’s a little bit of an, I don’t really know what to call it, puzzle look? It was Chandler’s idea and I love how it ended up looking.

Small Patio Ideas How to Build A Privacy Trellis

You can see the shadow of the pattern on the fence back there ;) On the next section, we staggered the rows so that they sort of interlocked (I feel like I’m so bad at these directions, hopefully the pictures give you a good idea).

DIY Patio Trellis

On the back side, we went in the opposite pattern from the front so that the back slats sat between the front slats and still let in light, but provided privacy.

Small Patio On a Budget | How to make the most of a small backyard patio.

Rather than going all the way to the ground, we left some room at the bottom for the rose bushes to fill in (which they’re doing nicely this year) and the dog appreciates that she still has a quick shortcut to the side yard ;)

Small Patio Ideas | How to Build a Privacy Trellis |

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  1. says

    Nice result! I don’t know what it is about that design, but something about it screams out ‘swimming pool’ , maybe because of the whole privacy thing. Maybe a project for another year… perhaps even decade!

    • says

      Thanks! I have been OBSESSED with the thoughts of a swimming pool this year and maybe that’s why! I had one as a kid and it was such great memories, it’s definitely in the long-term plans :D

  2. says

    The privacy screen looks great Jenn! I feel like almost every home project turns into an “if you give a mouse” scenario. ;) I want to do this BUT first I have to do this and this and this.

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