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Make a Grill Screen

A 6x9 ft lattice grill screen serves as a backdrop to the grill and creates a comfortable, room-like feeling. Combine with 4x4-foot posts to serve as an outdoor wall, define patio space and help hide plastic storage bins.

Watch and Work Outdoor Kitchen Island

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Tape measure
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protectors/ear plugs
  • Sharpie marker
  • Angle square or combination square
  • Nylon mason's line
  • Hammer
  • Posthole digger
  • Builder's level
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Mortar hoe
  • Trowel or wide putty knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Assorted clamps
  • Portable circular saw with straightedge guide
  • Power miter saw
  • Corded or cordless electric drill
  • Drill bit: 3/16-inch with countersink
  • #2 Phillips driver bit
  • #2 Robertson/square drive bit, 3-inches long (Lowe's #205301)

Materials (for one 72"h x 115"w x 4"d screen)

  • 4 - 8ft long (or longer) Top Choice Treated 4x4s (#201596)
  • 4 - 72-inch vinyl 4x4 post sleeves (#24992)
  • 4 - Vinyl post caps (#100437)
  • 2 - 4x8-foot white privacy lattice (#1212)
  • 7 - White classic vinyl molding cap, 8-foot (#94468)
  • 1 - box stainless-steel trim screws, 2-inch (#225779)
  • 2 - bags crushed rock or pea gravel (#10439)
  • 8 - 60-lb. bag concrete mix (#10387)
  • Miscellaneous 1x2 wood stakes and braces
  • White latex/silicone caulk

    Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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    Project Resources


    Unlike most freestanding projects, a built-in landscape structure such as this lattice privacy screen involves more than just using the right tools and techniques. For starters, it must comply with local building codes or ordinances, including any restrictions on the height of fences. In many municipalities, fence height limits vary according to the fence's location. Front and side-yard fences typically must be a lower overall height (3 to 4 feet) than backyard fences, which might range from 5 to 8 feet tall. Check with your local building officials to see what the guidelines are and if a building permit is necessary for your project.

    Also, you need to have a utility locator mark any underground pipes, cables, or electrical wires before you dig holes for concrete footings. This service is typically free and can be arranged by calling your local utility providers. This isn't just good sense, it's almost always a legal requirement. If you don't take this precaution, you may be liable for legal penalties or fines in addition to any damage you do during construction.

    Getting started

    Step 1

    If you determine that your project complies with local building codes and won't interfere with any underground utilities, you can get to work. Measure the layout for your post spacing and pop a small divot out of the ground with your hammer claw for each post location. The spacing for our project (see Project Diagram) allowed us to use the center lattice panel at its full 48-inch width, and the two side panels at 24 inches, requiring a minimum of cutting.
    Good to Know
    : Grills need to be kept at least 2 feet away from any flammable surface.

    Step 2

    Use a posthole digger to dig footing holes at the post locations. The holes should be a minimum of 8 inches in diameter at the top and should flare slightly outward toward the bottom; this keeps the footing more stable and helps prevent uplift if the soil freezes. You'll want enough depth for just shy of 2 feet of post length below grade plus a few inches for crushed rock at the bottom; this helps drain water away from the ends of the posts. This depth is fine for warmer locations like our site, but for colder regions you may have to dig the footing depth down to the frost line (as much as 4 feet in most northern states) and use 10-foot posts and longer vinyl post sleeves.

    Step 3

    Dry-fit the two outermost posts first and adjust their length as necessary, making sure their tops are level with each other. Drive a few stakes and attach wood braces to hold the posts plumb and in place. Mix enough concrete to fill the two footings and pour it around each post. Check with a level as you place the concrete and, if necessary, make final adjustments to the post position when the hole is full; to match our project, you'll want 111 inches for the center-to-center spacing of these outermost posts. Trowel a little extra concrete on top so you can crown each footing (as shown in the Post Hole Detail in Project Diagram PDF). This will help drain water away from the post.

    Step 4

    When the concrete in these two footings has set up for a few hours, stretch a mason's line between the post tops so you have a benchmark for the height of the two center posts, and install them the same way. (Center-to-center spacing should be 53 inches.) Let all the concrete footings cure for at least 3 days before proceeding with the rest of the installation.

    Fitting the vinyl

    Step 1

    If your work has been careful enough so far, you can likely use the post sleeves in their standard 72-inch length; if not, cut them to the required length using a power miter saw. (TIP: Insert a scrap 4x4 block inside to support the sleeve during cutting.) Slide a sleeve over each post, then attach the matching vinyl post caps (using a bead of caulking inside each cap).

    Step 2

    Cut the U-channel vertical molding to length (66 inches as shown, or adapt length to your project requirements). Drill and countersink screw holes in the bottom of each molding channel and drive trim screws to attach them (centered) to the six post/sleeve faces that will abut the lattice edges; position the upper end 2 inches below the post cap (as shown in Project Diagram PDF).

    Step 3

    Next, cut the lower channel rails to length and attach them with trim screws; drive the screws at an angle through the rail end and into the post face.

    Step 4

    Add 1/2 inch to the vertical channel length and use that dimension for the length of your lattice panels. Use a portable circular saw and straightedge guide to cut the panels, being sure to support the panel securely as you work.  Clip each corner lightly at 45 degrees to provide clearance for the trim screws, then slide each lattice panel into the molding channels as shown. Cut the upper channel rails and attach them the same way you did the lower rails. (If the rails aren't seating snugly on the panels' top and bottom edges, press them in place and drive one or more 1/2 inch by #8 sheet-metal screws to hold them in place.)