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How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

When I envisioned our square foot garden or le jardin as we sometimes call it, I would think of lush herbs growing, happy producing plants with perfect shiny vegetables growing, butterflies happily flying around our flowers, and nasty trash cans in the corner…LOL.  Ok, nasty trash cans were not part of my vision, it’s actually ruining my vision so we must hide them!

How to hide trash cans

Our trash cans ended up in our side yard because we hated keeping them in the garage.  It’s as simple as that.  We like having them outside and it’s convienent to roll them out to the curb and bring them back.

Ways to hide trash cans

So we decided we would build a screen to hide them.  We wanted something easy and considered lattice, but lattice just doesn’t seem to hold up.  Brian came up with an idea using regular fence boards.

How to build a trash can screen

He dug holes and added posts.  It’s pretty standard fence construction.  Dig hole, insert post, mix and pour concrete, and then fill the rest of the way up with the excavated soil.

We chose 6-foot 4×4 posts and set them about 18 inches in the ground.  We chose the 4×4 post instead of the landscape timber (which is like a 4×4 but has rounded corners – you see them used a lot for cheap fences) because they seem to be made of better quality wood and don’t seem to warp as bad or as frequently as the landscape timbers.

How to build a trash can screen

The above picture shows the posts immediately after setting.  When we establish the height of the fence we will trim off the extra wood.  Here I want you to notice how the ground slopes up to the house.  It’s gradual, but significant.  That will come in to play later.

How to build a trash can screen

4×4 post:  “Hey everybody!  Come and see how good I look!”

How to build a trash can screen

Be sure to use a level to make sure your posts are vertical and your fence panels are horizontal.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

Okay, next step, remember how the ground slopes up to the house?  Start with the farthest, lowest post and set one horizontal panel at the top.  Using a level, make sure its horizontal and set it to the next post.  In the above picture, the right end of the starter panel is attached to the lowest post.  The left post will be trimmed off at the top of the panel.

And one last thing, Brian recommends using screws for your fence.  In fact, he prefer screws over nails for just about everything.  They hold tighter and longer, and they are easily reversible in case you need to remove something and fix or replace it.  We tend to do that a lot to get it just right.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

Here is a picture of the left side.  We did the same thing here as we did on the right side…start with the lowest post and set a horizontal panel to the other post.  Here is a handy tip:   To get the left side and the right side to be the same height, hold a fence panel between the opening with the level sitting on top of it.  Use this fence panel to mark the height of the left (higher) side by setting it at the top of the right (lower) side.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

In the above picture we have trimmed off the top of the left post and added a few more horizontal panels.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

From here its all basic…just keep adding panels down until you can’t fit any more.  It’s okay to not go all the way to the ground because grass will grow to close the gap.  If you’re really uncomfortable with your gap, you’re more than welcome to dig out the dirt, add another panel, and then backfill.  Just be sure to stain your panels before backfilling to protect them.  The wood is not going to last as long if its exposed to dirt, water, and bugs, but at least if it’s stained it will add a little bit of protection.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

Here, after trimming off the excess, we took more fence panels and added them to the corner and top for a trimmed out look.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

Then we trimmed off the top panel where it was sticking out and added one more board for trim vertically on the right side to cover up all the screw holes.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

So here is a shot of the completed (but unstained) screen fence.  You can see that there is plenty of room inside for the trash can to sit and also for us to roll it in and out and maneuver it around.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

The last thing we did is stain it.  We love our Ready-Seal Pecan stain.

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

Ah, much better!  What ugly trash can?

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

What an easy solution to hide your trash cans, its just wood posts and regular ol’ fence boards.  Hello? Grass seed can you please sprout?  We’re waiting…

How to build a simple trash can screen out of fence boards.

That’s right, no more trash cans ruining the look of my garden!   This would be a great easy way to also hide your air conditioner, which we will probably do in the future.