How to build a timber outdoor screen

Making a timber screen is a perfect way to create different zones in your garden, for entertaining or alfresco dining; or to give you some more privacy.

Bunnings magazine, June 2020

This screen was made by installing a channel to a solid structure on either side. The timber, was cut to width and each slat slipped down into each channel from the top, with spacers to keep the gaps even.

Choose your channel kit to install against a wall as a ‘rear fix’ or between two supports as a ‘side fix’ (as shown here). Check the channel kit matches the thickness of your timber (16mm or 19mm) and is the correct height for your space.

When building any structure outside, choose treated timber or hardwood and always use galvanised or stainless steel fasteners.

Tools and materials

30mm galvanised button head screws (plus wall plugs for masonry)

Drill driver

Lengths of 42mm x 18mm merbau screening

Lengths of 90mm x 19mm merbau decking

Measuring tape and pencil

Mitre saw

Safety equipment

Screen-up channel kit (we used Whites ‘Screen Up’ slat 19mm x 2m side fix screening system)

Spacers (we used Whites ‘Screen Up’ 10mm spacers)

Spirit level

1. Install the first channel

Place the first channel against the structure, ensuring the L-shaped lug that supports the screen is at the base. Hold a spirit level vertically to ensure the channel is perfectly straight to mark the holes, then secure with appropriate fixings for your surface.

Tip: We chose button head screws for a flat profile, first installing wall plugs for securing to brick.

2. Measure your space

Measure between the rear of the fitted channel and the opposite surface, subtracting 4mm to allow for the width of the channel and the screw heads.

3. Fit the second channel

Transfer the measurement to a length of decking and cut a slat with a mitre saw as a template. Position the remaining channel, insert the slat to rest on the lugs at the base and use a spirit level to check the slat and channel are straight before securing.

(Note: You will need a second pair of hands for this step!)

4. Cut the slats

Remove the slat and use it as a template to cut the remaining slats. Insert the base slat into the top of both channels and slide it down to rest on the lugs.

5. Build your screen

Insert a spacer in each channel and slide the second slat into place, repeating to complete the screen, using the template for the top slat and finishing with the supplied caps at the top of the channels. Tip: The channels are supplied with 20mm spacers, but we chose 10mm ones to make a more dense screen.

Photography credit: Sue Stubbs

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 or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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