Screening unappealing items like garbage bins and hot water systems doesn’t have to be difficult. This fast, simple and cost-effective project can turn a problem area into an attractive one. It’s also easy to scale this project to different sizes to suit any space.
Use a tape measure to determine the location and size of your screen and mark the locations of your post holes. In most cases a 2m screen will only require two posts. As you go beyond 2m add extra posts and evenly space them. For example, a 3m screen would have three posts 1.5m apart.
Dig post holes at the marked points. Keep them neat and square. They should be at least 400mm on each side and 450mm deep, but this will vary with soil type – looser soils require wider and deeper holes.
Add about 50mm of dry concrete to the bottom of one hole. Position post in hole to check height. Trim post if required. The heads of both posts should be docked to an angle of 20 to 30 degrees to allow water to run off.
Once height is correct add some water and more concrete mix, tamping down as you do so. Once the hole is about half full check that the post is correctly aligned with other structures and that it is plumb on both front and side. Finish filling hole with concrete, being careful not to add too much water.
Now you’re going to use your plastic tubing as a water level to make sure that your slats will line up evenly. Position your long stake about 500mm on the outside of the second hole and in line with the post you’ve already concreted in. Check alignment with post and, if applicable, distance from adjoining structures before hammering in. Wrap string line firmly around post and bring to stake, tying loosely around it.
Hold both ends of the tubing at the same height and fill with water, ensuring there are no trapped air bubbles. Bring the filled tube to the post. Hold one end against the string line on the post and have someone walk the other end to the stake. Hold the other end against the stake and adjust the tube against the post to get the “lens” of the water level with the string line. The water will naturally settle on the stake end. Adjust the stringline on the stake end to align with the lens. Pull taut and tie off to stake.
Tip: When adjusting or moving a water level around hold your thumb over the ends to prevent water surging out of the tube.
Measure from the top of the concreted-in post down to the string line. On the second post measure from the top and use square to mark this distance on to the post.
Add about 50mm of dry concrete to the base of the second post hole. Position the post and ensure it is parallel with string line and that the line marked on the post aligns with the string line. Adjust or trim as required and then repeat Step 3 to finish concreting in place.
Measure to outside of posts at both top and bottom to check length of slats. Top and bottom width measurements should be within a few millimetres of each other. Calculate the number of slats required for your height – decking width plus gap (in our case 90mm + 22mm = 112mm). Divide your height by this figure to get number of slats. Cut required slats.
Fix off the first slat with nails or screws, using the level on top as you do so. Lay one slat flat on top as a spacer, then position the next slat above and fix off to the post. Repeat until you reach the top.
Behind your screen measure from the top edge of the top slat to the bottom edge of the bottom slat. Cut a piece of decking to match. This piece will work as a batten to prevent the slats from bowing or twisting. Position the batten in the centre at the rear of the slats and then fix off using the 40mm screws or nails.
Give your new screen a quick clean down to remove any dirt and then apply one coat of paint. This will make nail holes easier to see. Use filler where needed, let dry and lightly sand before applying a second coat, and your screen is complete.
90mm x 22mm treated Pine decking in lengths to suit
90mm x 90mm H4 treated Pine posts in lengths to suit
A long stake (hardwood or steel) at least 1.4m long
Quick-set concrete in 20kg bags, two to three bags per post hole (we used high-strength 32MPa mix)
Nails or screws (exterior grade) with minimum length 45mm
Nails or screws 35mm to 40mm for battens
Exterior-grade filler for nail holes
Exterior paint if painting.
Measuring and leveling tools – tape measure, square, level and 10mm clear vinyl tubing (about 5m in length) for a water level
Driver drill or nail gun
Eye and ear protection, plus gloves and dust mask for using concrete
Paint rollers, brushes and roller tray if painting.