What you need to know about Timber Screens for privacy


Occasionally you might find yourself thinking that you’ve really had enough of looking at your ugly iron fence, or maybe your neighbours have a perfect view into your yard, or vice versa. Maybe you feel like your yard is a bit of a fishbowl?

These days, larger homes are occupying ever-smaller lots, and as the demand for outdoor living areas grows, privacy is at a premium. It’s only natural to make the most of the space we have available and that’s where timber screening can give you the privacy you need without looking like an iron curtain.

The best solution is to put up a screen to take care of the problem, but where to begin? Firstly, you should think about the character of your house, what will look best and compliment the area your screen will be in well. There’s no real rule book to what you can do in terms of design, so we’ll start by telling you what is typically used.

We suggest you measure the area’s length and height, ideally keeping a maximum spacing of 2.4m between posts. Some local councils have restrictions on to how high you can make your fence, so it’s best to consult with them before you work on your design (alternatively, we know the limits and can help you with your design)

Horizontal slats are a brilliant, modern way to improve an area. Supported and screwed to a set out frame, you can set the gaps to the level of privacy you wish to attain. In order to achieve the correct look for your screen, you can use a nice looking hardwood kapur, merbau or premium clear treated pine. Your choice of timber screening will be best augmented with stainless steel fixings and finished off properly with a nice clear natures oil or natural-stain to finish it off. The design process is simple, putting it together as a DIY project is easy, and any of Softwoods team members are all too happy to run through it with you.

Vertical Slats are another idea, though not as common on their own as horizontal, you can always add them in to your horizontal project to break up the look and create a parquet style pattern, for a slightly different look. Realistically you can customize your screen any which way you want, even staggering your slats over the uprights, or using alternative sized slats to create a rustic look.

Lattice / trellis is another option too, they are easy to frame up in channels and fix to posts. They very easy to install as pre made panels. These days lattice its more suited to older dwellings where it maintains a heritage look. Softwoods have many sizes and can help you work out how much you need to cover your area. Painting lattice will help further preserve the timber, but using a brush is very difficult to get good coverage. It’s best to go to your local hire shop and hire an airless spray gun.

Lastly, don’t forget to complement your screen with some timber bench seats, some nice plants, garden lights, and the odd water feature. If you’d like to talk to us about your screening project don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Chain of Custody of Timber

One of the most remarkable things about timber, other than its ability to be great building material, is that it’s an organic and sustainable product that provides net benefits to the environment. Not only does timber store carbon through its life cycle but it is recyclable. The production and processing of timber products also use less energy than most other building materials, which in turn results in fewer emissions and less pollution. There is no question about timbers benefit to the environment, and Softwoods along with environmentalists worldwide greatly value it as a resource.

In harnessing the wonders of timber for use in building comes a certain responsibility to ensure that timber as a resource is not misused. Illegal logging and forestry practices seek to undermine the great benefits that timber use provides to the environment by degrading the planet’s stocks of old growth timber and precious wilderness areas.

Softwoods work closely with our suppliers, ensuring they meet Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (AFS Ltd) Softwoods recognise that we have a responsibility to the environment, customers, suppliers and staff to base our commercial activities on legally harvested forests.

We are committed to purchasing all timber from legally harvested sources and seek evidence of compliance, where needed, from suppliers by operating a due diligence system.

We are committed to complying with the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and, where applicable, the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulations.

We recognise that credible independent certification, 3rd party verification of forest management and chain of custody documentation significantly reduces the risk that timber is illegally harvested when purchasing timber from sources that are anything other than a low risk. Where the Department of Agriculture has issued country specific guidelines, we follow all systems and processes recommended.

Illegal logging is a significant problem in many countries. It degrades forest environments, reduces biodiversity, undermines government regimes and revenues, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deprives local communities of opportunities to improve their quality of life.

The Australian government recently introduced legislation to combat these destructive activities while also supporting the trade in legally harvested timber and timber products.

Why is Australia taking action?

Its estimated that Australia imports AUD $4.4 billion of timber and wood products annually (excluding furniture) $400 million of these imports come from sources with some risk of being illegally logged. As a responsible member of the global community, it is in Australia’s interests to protect plants and animals and the environment, promote sustainable forest management and reduce the depletion of exhaustible natural resources that are threatened by illegal logging.

Australia is not alone in taking action against illegal logging. Our illegal logging laws complement legislation that has been introduced by the European Union and the United States.