Before and After: A $200 Project Makes This Bare Patio Feel Like a Cozy, Private Escape

published May 16, 2023
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Patio before renovation and adding privacy screen. Large concrete patio with some brown outdoor chairs.
Credit: Greg Navage

Outdoor space is a precious commodity in the warm spring and summer months, especially if you live in an urban area where it’s hard to find. Even more precious? Outdoor space that feels tucked away. If you have a patio that is exposed to neighbors and passers-by and you’re looking for a solution, this project from DIYer Greg Navage (@thenavagepatch) might just be your answer.

Credit: Greg Navage

Greg and his wife Handan expanded their patio in 2022, turning it from what Greg calls “a tiny patch of concrete” into “1,200 square feet of potential.” They planned and built a pergola and a gazebo for the new outdoor space, but it still felt like it was missing something. While they already had hedges that provided them with privacy, what the patio lacked was a finished feeling.

 “We felt a privacy screen would not only help define the space but would also add a nice level of coziness,” Greg says.

Credit: Greg Navage

To make the new privacy screen, Greg modified a project that he’d previously completed to hide his HVAC unit. First, he dug holes for four 4x4s to be used as posts, and then poured cement into the holes to secure the posts in place. (After this first screen was installed, Greg says he “discovered the wonder of digging holes with a powered auger instead of by hand. What a time and back saver!”) Once the cement cured, Greg primed and painted the posts black. Then it was time to install the screens.

Credit: Greg Navage

Greg created the screens by cutting channels into 2×6 cedar boards and then feeding reed partitions through those channels — there’s one board at each end of the screen. Greg attached those cedar boards to the posts he’d already installed so that a reed screen was positioned between each post.

Credit: Greg Navage

Finally, Greg topped his screens with solar-powered lights for an extra special touch. “The privacy screen looks rich and luxurious while still being cozy and inviting,” Greg says. “I love the colors — black and cedar go so well together!” And shockingly, this fancy-looking enclave only cost him about $200 to pull together.

That said, Greg knows that the natural material of the screens won’t last forever — and he worked that into the planning. “The beauty of this privacy screen is that the cedar boards are easy to remove, and it’s a cinch to replace the reed screen,” he says. “Honestly, with an auger for the holes, this is actually a very easy DIY that anyone should be able to tackle.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.