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Get Growing: make a colourful privacy screen

17 Nov 2016

Privacy is an ever-increasing issue in the modern suburban landscape. In this week’s episode of The Get Growing Roadshow, landscape designer Justin Newcombe came up with a very colourful solution to the problem for homeowners Natalie and Matt.

The couple’s existing entertaining area is flanked by three properties, which look right in on them.

To help solve the problem, the main entertaining area has been moved off an elevated deck on to a patio at ground level which is much more private. The deck still services the front door and a set of french doors accessing the main living area inside, so privacy was still a concern. The solution? A large privacy screen made from a series of stylised palisades.

The screen design includes gaps between each palisade to allow good air flow but still provide privacy. It is then painted in a range of Resene colours that reflect the planting and other landscaping materials. The overall effect is a vibrant yet delicate screen that seems to float above the garden.

Here’s how to make the screen:


1. Measure the length and height of the screen then work out the size of gap you’d like between the palisades. This screen has a 20mm gap between each 50mm palisade, which makes a unit of 70mm. To get the number of palisades required divide the length of the screen by the palisade and gap measurement. In this case that's 6500mm divided by 70mm, equals 93 palisades.

2. Dig post holes one metre apart, using a string line to make sure the posts line up. This screen is 3m high so the post holes are 1.2m deep and the posts are 4.2m long. Concrete in the posts and make sure they are independent of any existing fences.

3. Once the concrete is dry around the posts insert three sets of rails between them. In this case, the bottom rail is 700mm off the ground and will be where the palisades start. The top rail is at 3m and the middle one is in between the two.

Once the rails are in place, trim off any excess post. Stain the posts and rails the same colour as the fence, which for this project was stained with Resene Waterborne Woodsman penetrating oil stain in Resene Nutmeg.

4. For a random effect, cut the palisades to three different lengths and finish the tops with a point using a drop saw.

Matt and Natalie’s screen is stained in five colours using Resene Waterborne Woodsman penetrating oil stain: Resene Riverstone, Resene Totem Pole, Resene Natural, Resene Tamarind and Resene Jacaranda.

5. Mix up the different lengths of palisade so each length has an equal amount of the five colours. Give each palisade at least two coats of stain.

6. Next, set out the palisades against the fence then work out which order you want them to go in. Have some fun and mix up the colours and lengths to create the overall effect you want.

7. Cut two blocks 20mm thick to use as spacers between the palisades then nail each palisade in place in place, checking each one with a spirit level.

Top tip: You may need permission from the neighbours to build our screen and you will need to comply with local council regulations.

The Get Growing Roadshow screens each Friday at 9.30pm on Choice TV. 

Published: 17 Nov 2016