A DIY privacy screen made from pallets: a how-to guide

A privacy screen made of white pallets is planted with flowers in the garden.
A privacy screen made from pallets – a real head-turner.

  • Difficulty
    medium
  • Cost
    85-170 £
  • Duration
    3 - 8 h

Having nice neighbours is great – but we all want a little bit of privacy on the balcony or in the garden, too. Follow our simple step-by-step guide to build your own stylish privacy screen made from pallets. The integrated flower boxes turn it into a vertical garden – what more could you ask for?Having nice neighbours is great – but we all want a little bit of privacy on the balcony or in the garden, too. Follow our simple step-by-step guide to build your own stylish privacy screen made from pallets. The integrated flower boxes turn it into a vertical garden – what more could you ask for?

You need
Utilities
  • box knife
  • pocket rule
  • triangle
  • painting coveralls
  • g-clamps
  • protective sheet
  • face mask
  • shovel
  • work gloves
  • hammer
  • safety glasses
Materials
  • 2x euro pallets
  • 6x boards (same width as the pallets)
  • 2-in-1 paint: approx. 1 litre
  • Pond liner: 2.5 x 2 m (LxW)
  • Potting soil: approx. 20 litres
  • Pebbles: approx. 5 litres
  • Flowers and herbs of your choice: 20–25 kinds
  • 2x post anchors (same width as the pallets)
  • 8x wood screws: 6 x 100 mm
  • 36x wood screws 4 x 50 mm
  • 4x wood screws: 6 x 120 mm
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 10

Sawing the boards for the flower boxes to length

To build the privacy screen, the correct dimensions for the boards are measured.
First, transfer the correct dimensions to the boards with a pencil.
A wooden board is sawn through with a jigsaw.
Then, saw the boards for the flower boxes to length.

You need: Jigsaws, Jigsaw blade T 308 BOF, pocket rule, triangle, g-clamps, work gloves, safety glasses, 6x boards

Start building your privacy screen by first sawing the boards to the length of the bottom board of the pallets. These will form the flower boxes later. To do this, mark out the correct dimensions with a pencil and pocket rule and then draw a straight saw line with the angle measurer. Secure the board using G-clamps so that it can’t shift while you are sawing. Make sure you put on safety goggles and work gloves to protect yourself before you start sawing. Let the saw run before you put it on the wood. Make sure that the plate of the saw rests on the wood. This will make your cut cleaner. Check out our tutorial and find out how you can make straight cuts with a jigsaw.

Tip
Handy saving tip
You’ll need a few tools for this project, so we have a tip for you: using system tools, that is, tools in the same voltage class of a cordless system, allows you to save a lot of money. For example, you simply use the same 18 V battery for the jigsaw and the cordless drill/driver. This means you can buy a tool without a battery for a lower price and share the battery from another tool. Pretty smart.
Step 2 10

Pre-drilling the holes and fastening the boards with screws

The holes for the screws are pre-drilled with a cordless screwdriver.
It’s better to pre-drill the holes so that the wood doesn’t split when you screw them into the pallet.
The boards are fixed with a screw and a cordless screwdriver.
You can now screw the boards to the pallet.

You need: Cordless Drill, Cordless drill/driver, Wood Drill Bit Set, work gloves, 36x screws: 4 x 50 mm

Now it’s time to first pre-drill the holes for the screws so that they don’t fray the wood. You can then screw the sawn boards to the underside pallet. This will create the base for the flower boxes. A small cordless screwdriver will help you to get in between the spaces in the pallets.

Step 3 10

Thoroughly sanding the pallets

The privacy screen is thoroughly sanded with an orbital sander.
The privacy screen will look even better if you sand it.

You need: Multi-sander, Random orbit sander, Sanding sheet for multi-sander G120, safety glasses, work gloves, 2x euro pallets

Now, sand the DIY privacy screen all over so that there are no splinters sticking out. Using a delta or multi-sander will allow you to get right into the corners and sand them thoroughly, too. You can find out more about which sandpaper is suitable for which type of work in our DIY tip. For your privacy screen, start with an 80-grain sandpaper. You can then go over everything for a second time with the 120-grain sanding sheet.

Tip
Working faster
Using a random orbiter sander allows you to sand larger surfaces especially quickly. You can then get into the corners with the delta or multi-sander, or alternatively you can use a sanding sponge or sanding block.
Step 4 10

Time to add some colour

A paint spray system is used to spray white paint onto the pallet.
You can turn the privacy screen into a real eye-catcher by adding some colour.

You need: paint spray system, protective sheet, face mask, work gloves, safety glasses, painting coveralls, 2-in-1 paint

Coloured paint allows you to give your privacy screen a unique look. Before you start, lay out a protective sheet to protect nearby objects from being covered with the spray. You can now fill the paint spray system with the colour of your choice and apply it in even strips at a distance of around 20 cm. Make sure you wear a mask to avoid breathing in any of the paint. Protect yourself against paint dust by wearing protective goggles and work gloves.

Step 5 10

Covering the underside of the privacy screen

Pond liner is tacked to the bottom of the privacy screen.
You can easily attach the pond liner by using a tacker.

You need: cordless tacker, box knife, work gloves, safety glasses, Pond liner

Cover the pallet from below with pond liner to protect it against the weather. To do this, cut the liner to match the dimensions of the underside of the pallet and tack it so it’s sufficiently tight.

By the way, one pallet is more than enough for a privacy screen for a balcony. If you want more privacy, use two pallets – one on top of the other and then screw them together. That’s why you only need to do this step for one of the pallets. The second one remains uncovered on the underside.

Step 6 10

Screwing the post anchors in place

Two post supports are screwed to the bottom of the privacy screen.
Your privacy screen needs post anchors if it’s to be firmly fixed into the ground.

You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit: 6 mm, hammer, 2x post anchors, 8x wood screws: 6 x 100 mm

To make sure that your privacy screen remains in place whatever the weather, screw post anchors to the underside of the pallet. Of course, you’ll only need to do this if you’re planning to countersink the pallet into the ground. If you’re going to use the privacy screen on your terrace or balcony, you should attach to a wall. To ensure the screen holds firmly in the ground, the post anchors need to be the same width as the pallet is deep.

Once you’ve screwed the anchors on, stand the privacy screen up and knock it into the ground with a sledgehammer. You can place a board between the hammer and the pallet to act as a buffer so that your new privacy screen doesn’t get damaged.

Tip
Screwing – the easier way
Pre-drilling the holes makes it easier for you to turn the screws into the wood.
Step 7 10

Fitting out the flower boxes

The cut-to-size pond liner is placed in the flower boxes.
The future flower boxes are covered with pond liner.
The pond liner is attached to the wood with a tacker.
Now, simply tack the liner on.

You need: cordless tacker, box knife, pocket rule, Pond liner

It’s now time to turn your attention to the flower boxes. First, line them with pond liner. Cut them to the correct dimensions – about 40 x 40 cm (LxW) – with a box knife and place them in the boxes on the pallet. To stop the liner from tearing under the ‘weight’ of the flowers, you should make sure that the liner is as smooth as possible and that no waves are formed. You now simply need to tack the liner on.

Step 8 10

Planting the flower boxes

A shovel is used to put potting soil into the flower boxes.
The flower boxes are filled with pebbles and potting soil.

You need: shovel, work gloves, Potting soil, Pebbles, Flowers and herbs of your choice

The privacy screen is almost done. You now just need to add the plants to decorate it. First, fill stones into the flower boxes. These will act as drainage. Next, add the potting soil into which you’re going to put your plants. If you need help creating a herb garden, then check out our guide.

Step 9 10

Screwing the pallets together

The pallets are joined together with long screws.
To screw the pallets together, use long screws that you drill into the wood in the shape of an X.

You need: Cordless Drill, work gloves, 4x wood screws: 6 x 120 mm

To make sure your screen gives you maximum privacy, you should place two pallets on top of one another and screw them together. Find yourself a hard-working helper to help you hold it, or do this step before step 8 and screw the pallets together while they’re lying down. Place one pallet on top of the other. The flower box on the bottom pallet of course remains free at this point. Now, screw the two pallets together by placing two long nails side by side. Screw one in diagonally from top to bottom and screw the second one the other way round so that an X shape is created. Start by screwing straight into the wood for one or two turns before then screwing at an angle.

Step 10 10

Balcony alternative

A vertical garden of a white pallet stands in front of a grey wall.
It’s easy to turn a privacy screen into a vertical garden.

Congratulations! Your finished DIY privacy screen complete with plants can now bring a touch of beauty to your garden or balcony. On that note: if you’re planning to use the privacy screen on your balcony, you can just skip steps 6 and 9. As in the picture, the pallet with the planted flower boxes will be all the decoration your balcony needs. We’ve put together this article to share our four most eye-catching ideas for vertical gardens with you.