Our backyard was completely open to the neighbors, so we wanted a way to section off the area and provide privacy. Of course, the obvious answer is to build a fence, but that would mean breaking a hole in the concrete for the posts, which we wanted to avoid. And most importantly, all the privacy fences that we could find were pretty ugly! Here's the solution we came up with. Using a combination of hedges and fence panels, all in pots for easy maintenence, we were able to create the privacy we wanted without having to break up the concrete or deal with an unsightly fence. One caveat before starting this project: we DON'T recommend you use the same style planter pots we did! The reason? This pot is tapered, with a smaller base, which makes it less stable in case of heavy winds. A better pot to use would be one that is wider at the base. To compensate, we had to fill the base with more concrete to provide stability. So learn from our mistake and choose the right pot to start. Of course, you could also adapt the fence panels for use in soil, or even just to cover an existing fence, transforming your ordinary chainlink or stockade into a fun work of art!
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials
1. 20" pot
2. 2 pcs of 12" X 6' pine board
3. 2 pcs 0f 2" X 3" X 6' wood studs and 2 pcs of 2-1/2" x 3/4" x 21" (actual size) wood plank
4. cut out template (download and print pdf)
5. jigsaw w blades for fine wood cutting (I used Bosch T101AO blades)
6. rotozip tool
7. electric finishing sander or hand sander
8. circular saw OR hand saw & wood chisel
9. concrete mix - 50lb bag for 1 pot
10. container to mix concrete (optional if using fast-setting concrete)
12. exterior stain or paint (for the man/woman panels, I went to Home Depot for Behr semi-transparent Weatherproofing Stain and Seal. The woman is color ST-136 Royal Hayden, and man is ST-126 Woodland Green. For 1 panel, the 7.5 ounce tester size is more than enough for 2 coats, front and back.
13. stain or paint brush
14. exterior grade screws / screwdriver
15. clamps (optional)
Step 2: Prep the Board
Download the pdf pattern templates. The templates are larger than standard "letter" size so you'll have to print on several sheets and assemble - make sure you follow the printing instructions inside the pdf for a quick and easy way to do this.
We made our Man panel 69" long and Woman panel 68" long. Of course, you can vary yours to your liking. If you want to match ours, then follow these measurements. With the template, position man cut out template 3" below the top of the pine board, trace and mark onto the board. Position woman cut out template about 4-1/4 " from the top of the panel. Just make sure the rim of both of their hats align so they are kind of looking at each other.
Step 3: Cut the Panels
With jigsaw, start cutting out traced area. For the center cutouts, drill a hole first so you can get the jigsaw blade in for the cut. Don't worry if the cuts aren't that clean - you'll finish and smooth the edges later. For more detailed sections, you'll have to use a Rotozip or a Dremel rotary tool. Then use a sander to shape and finish the edges. Pine boards are fairly soft, so it shouldn't be difficult to get a clean edge, even with just manual sanding.
Step 4: Coat the Panels
Wipe off all the dust from the panels. Finish with several coats of exterior stain or paint the panels with exterior primer and paint.
Step 5: Make the Frame
Cut 2 X 3 studs to 67" for the height of bracket. Set the depth on your circular saw to 3/4" and cut 2-1/2" notches into the studs. Make 2 notches - first is 9" from top and the next is 36" from top. Lay the studs 7 1/2" apart on the ground. Screw the 2-1/2" x 3/4" planks into the notches to complete your frame.
Step 6: Secure Bracket Into Concrete Mold
Now, we're going to secure the bracket into concrete to create a nice and stable base. First, line your pot with some newspaper. Position bracket in the center of the pot , try to get the bracket as straight and level as you can, but no need to be exact - after the concrete has set, you'll still have wiggle-room, because the newspaper keeps the concrete from sticking to the pot. Follow directions for mixing concrete, then pour into the pot and let set. TIP: if you use a quick-setting mix like Sakrete Fast Setting Concrete, you don't even have to pre-mix. Just pour the dry mix into the pot, then add water and let it set.
Step 7: Paint the Bracket and Install the Panels
After the bracket is painted and dry completely, position panels on the bracket with a clamp or just have somebody hold it up, one at a time, screw panels onto the bracket.
Voila, here is our finished project, a unique man/woman silhouette panel in a pot! We paired them with our dog/cat panel and some potted arbor vitae hedges to create a very special privacy fence.
For more free patterns to create your unique potted fence panels, go to http://www.gardenfencepanelsguide.com/fence-patterns/