DIY Ideas: Privacy Screens

  • 5 minutes
  • 25 June 2020

Sometimes, replacing a fence is simply not possible…which is where a privacy screen steps in. We’ve detailed some insider tips on installing a modular privacy screen and negating the cost and hassle of a total fence replacement!

Three Birds Renovations, House 11, Pool Wall | ModularWalls Privacy Screen

VogueWall creates dramatic privacy screen for Three Birds Renovations’ House 11

Common challenges that privacy screens solve

First thing’s first; what can a privacy screen do for you and your home?

The most common challenge we come across is the hassle of replacing a dividing fence. These challenges could include:

  • The neighbour does not want to split the cost of your fencing choice
  • The existing fence is quite new, but you would prefer a more premium solution
  • The existing fence is technically not malfunctioning, but it is not providing adequate visual or acoustic privacy
  • You only need a privacy solution for a short distance
  • The budget is too limited to cover an entire boundary replacement

Whilst we do have guides on site-specific Dividing Fencing Acts and how to handle neighbourly fencing disputes, sometimes you’d prefer to side-step the issue completely…which is where privacy screens provide the perfect, peaceful solution.

Privacy screens can be installed directly in front of the existing fence (on your side), totally negating the need to negotiate with your neighbours. Whilst there may still be some height regulations for your local council, it can provide a lot more freedom for you.

VogueWall TerraFirm Retaining DIY

VogueWall creates the perfect pool backdrop and hides the existing fence

Benefits of a privacy screen over a fence replacement

Whilst a total fence replacement is recommended in the first instance, a screen does offer unique benefits, including:

  • More affordable than a full fence replacement
  • Negates the need for neighbourly negotiations
  • Total creative control (within the limits of local council regulations)
  • Can act as an aesthetic feature wall or focal point
Using a dark paint colour on the SlimWall fence makes the plants the feature

SlimWall provides easy pool privacy screen for unusual block with 4 shared boundaries!

Unique perks of a modular privacy screen

1. Heightened privacy

Ultimately, the main reason you’re looking for a privacy screen is to increase your privacy. You’re looking to create a safe, secure, private backyard oasis…who wouldn’t? To achieve true privacy, however, you need to consider both visual privacy and acoustic privacy. ModularWalls’ products can reach up to 3m and have been acoustically tested by the National Laboratory of Australia, to prove that they achieve a typical noise reduction of around 20-25dB.

2. Sleek systems to maximum usable land space

Another factor to consider is the width of the privacy screen; since it’s being installed inside of your boundary, you want it to take up the least amount of land space possible. ModularWalls’ products are actually post-and-rail systems, offering solutions as thin as 50mm panels, with 75mm x 75mm posts!

3. Premium aesthetics

Furthermore, you’re probably looking for something that can also act as a bit of a feature wall or aesthetically-pleasing backdrop. With smooth, cementitious panels, a variety of post options and a bunch of customisation capabilities, you can design a screen that’s worthy of being a striking focal point for your outdoor area!

Three Birds Renovations House 13 - Privacy Screen with premium aesthetics

EstateWall creates privacy from the neighbours and provides a premium aesthetic to match Three Birds Renovations House 13

4. Very DIY friendly

Finally, for such a short run of fencing, you may want to tackle the installation yourself. A modular wall or fence is extremely east to DIY; in fact, it was invented with the DIYer in mind. All you need to do is dig post holes, concrete the posts in, slide in the panels and finish as desired!

SlimWall Feature Fencing and Privacy Screen - Big Impact, Small Spaces | ModularWalls

SlimWall provides cost-effective, acoustically-rated pool privacy screen

Tips for installing a privacy screen in front of an existing fence

So, you’ve decided to install a screen; you’ve figured out your Why, so let’s dive into the How! For the most part, it’s quite similar to how you would normally install a DIY modular wall; however, there are a few unique considerations when installing in front of an existing fence.

Local council regulations for privacy screens

Every council will have their own regulations when it comes to privacy screens, i.e. a separate screen within the boundaries of your property. These regulations are different from fencing regulations, and may include details around including maximum heights or length, or offsets from your boundaries.

Or, some may have no specific requirements, as long as you are ‘sensible’; as long as you receive consent from any neighbour it may affect, and you’ve done a bit of research via your local council website, you may be good to go!

Three Birds VogueWall House 11

Three Birds Renovations House 11

Offset your privacy screen posts against your existing fence post foundations

This factor is important from the get-go, as soon as you’re measuring your site. You should not install your screen posts directly in front of your existing fence posts, unless they are offset enough to not clash with the concrete foundations of the existing fence.

There maybe also be stability considerations of the existing fence, if you are excavating around these foundations. Ideally, if you can offset them so they don’t clash, this is the safest option.

There are many variable site conditions between every application; for more detailed advice about how to install your screen against your boundary, you can always submit a Quick Question to our friendly customer service team, who will be able to provide a personalised consultation.

Pre-paint the back of your posts and panels

For warranty reasons, you must paint or finish your modular privacy screen within 30 days of installation. Usually, painting can be done post-installation; however, when you’re installing against an existing fence, you may be cutting off access to the back of the screen.

For this reason, we recommend pre-painting the back of the posts and panels. If you’ll never see it, two coats of a clear concrete or paving sealer is also suitable.