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Transform Your Rooftop With These Doable DIYs

May 24, 2021DIY Projects0 comments

Let’s Get Summer Started Right!


If you’re like us, now that the weather is warming up, you’re trying to be outside with friends and family as much as possible – let’s make up for lost time!

For many of us in NYC, that means heading to the nearest park or (if you’re lucky enough) up to your roof! If you’ve been sitting up on your rooftop in a lawn chair feeling like it’s lacking a little… something, these tutorials are for you.

We’ve rounded up 3 easy and totally doable rooftop DIY projects you can tackle in a weekend. All three can really transform your outdoor space, big or small.

Project #1: DIY Privacy Screen


DIY privacy screenPhoto via Pinterest

Your problem: You’d love to sit out and enjoy your rooftop lounge more, but it’s hard to feel cozy when you’re staring at a humming AC unit, an adjacent building, or a random neighbor who loves to sunbathe nude.

Or maybe you are that random nude neighbor (no judgement here) and you’d like to relax without feeling like you’re in a fishbowl.

The solution to all of the above is a vertical screen. Check out these before and after pics.



DIY privacy screen2


DIY privacy screen3Photos by Crafted by The Hunts


BIG difference right?

Zoe from Crafted by The Hunts loved her porch but says it never felt totally homey with her neighbors so close by. She decided to update it with a DIY privacy screen and it totally transformed the space.

She started by deciding where she wanted the privacy wall and measuring that area. (Measure twice!) She picked up three 4x4x8 posts for the two sides and the top. And then she got boards of varying widths – some 6”, some 4”, and some 2”. We think the varying widths add a nice modern touch, don’t you?

The number of horizontal slats you’ll need will depend on the height of your screen. Zoe wrote a blog post with a step-by-step tutorial and all of the photos you see here were taken by her. If you aren’t sure (or if math isn’t your strong suit) visit your local lumberyard and describe your project so they can help. Local to the New York City and Jersey City area? We are your local lumberyard! We will cut the lumber for you and help you make this project happen.

Here’s another look at the finished project (insanely adorable Dalmatian not included):


DIY privacy screen4Photo by Crafted by The Hunts

Project #2: DIY Rooftop Planters


DIY Rooftop ProjectsPhoto by Fran Parents via Curbed

NYC rooftops can feel visually cold and very…concrete-ey. Adding in some plants can help you achieve the lush vacation vibes you’re trying to channel when you’re up there.

But here’s the thing: scattered potted plants don’t really pack the punch you are likely looking for. (Big roof + small potted plants = meh). And the price of large pots can really add up.

Solution: a large rectangular wooden planter (or planters). Building one home for your plants can create a streamlined, purposeful look. And you won’t have to lug 30 huge ceramic pots up there.


DIY wood planterPhoto by Timmerage Bouwbedrijf via Pinterest

DIY wood planter2Photo via IndiaGardening

We love the look of this modern wood planter box by Georgia Pellegrini:


DIY planter boxPhoto by Georgia Pellegrini


She was able to make her outdoor space feel instantly more lush by adding in this horizontal-slatted planter. She made her 7’ long planter out of pine that she stained herself. We might also recommend poplar, or red oak for this. (See our blog post that breaks down different types of wood and how to choose the best one for your project.)

She gives a clear step-by-step in her blog post, which you should check out if you’d like to make something similar. Excited and ready to do it? Bring your measurements over to Midtown Lumber or your local lumberyard and let’s chat about your project. We make it easy by cutting the lumber for you so you can be sure you have precise, clean cuts.

Project #3: Add In Some String Lights


DIY string light polesPhoto by iynstands.com


Here’s a secret to making any outdoor space feel more intimate and cozy: add a “ceiling.”

Anything that goes over your head can give you a “ceiling” feeling. String lights check all of the boxes: affordable, easy, transformative. Draped above you, they help make the space feel more enclosed.

But what the heck do you hang them on? A random pipe that’s sticking off your building? Well, you could. But a much better idea is to create light poles.

Here’s a simple-to-follow tutorial we found:


DIY string light poles2Photo by thishomemadeheaven

Amy of This Homemade Heaven knew she wanted to add string lights to give her outdoor space a warm, inviting feel. Problem is, she didn’t have anything to attach the lights to as they spread out away from her house.

Rather than buying a pre-made stand or a cemented barrel, she was able to create chic wooden planters that double as light pole stands. Amy created her poles out of 2×2’s and she used 1×4 boards to construct her planter box.

Head over to her blog post for all of the steps on how you can create this for your own rooftop. And once you’re ready to build something like this yourself, get in touch. We can help you make sure you have the right tools you need for the project and we can cut the wood for you so you can get started right away.


You Can Do These DIY Rooftop Projects!

There you have it – three DIY projects you can tackle in a weekend. Each one is totally doable – we promise! And each one will transform your rooftop.

Once you’re ready to start, contact us and we’ll help you out. Be sure to include the type of material and exact measurements for your custom-cut lumber pieces.

You can find details on how to choose the best materials and sizes to use for your next DIY project in our blog post “How To Order Custom Cut Lumber In 5 Easy Steps”!

It also outlines how to write custom cut lumber orders using inches and fractions (for less confusion), for example:

  • 5 pcs of 1⁄2” Canadian Birch 4 1⁄2″ x 18 1⁄4”

Get started now and happy outdoor lounging!


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Request A Custom Cutting Quote for Your DIY Project

Here’s how you order custom cut wood:



Decide which type of lumber you would like to use for your project. Our most popular options are:

a. Ultra-Lite MDF – Medium Density Fiberboard, is compressed sawdust & glue. It’s flat & smooth and is a good option if you are not concerned with strength and plan on painting.

b. Chinese Birch Plywood – Also flat & smooth, and has a very thin veneer that sometimes peels when staining, but works well for things like closet shelves.

c. Canadian Birch Plywood – The good stuff! We recommend for kitchen cabinets, bookshelves, furniture. Great for staining.

d. Baltic Birch Multiply – Even nicer! It is known for it’s even layers and voidless core. Usually, clients like the exposed ply look of Baltic Birch and choose not to edge tape it. 

e. Prefinished Maple – Already finished! Prefinished Maple has a semi-gloss UV cured finish.


Decide on thickness, below are the thicknesses that we carry:

a. Ultra-Lite MDF – ¼” ½” ¾” 1”
b. Chinese Birch – ¼” ½” ¾”
c. Canadian Birch – ½” ¾” 1”
d. Baltic Birch – ¾”
e. Prefinished Maple – ½” ¾”


Determine how many pieces you need, and the dimensions of each piece.

All measurements must be in inches and fractions, for example: i. 5 pcs of ½” Canadian Birch 4 ½” x 18 ¼”


Decide if you have a preference for the direction of the grain on your pieces: long (most popular), short, or no preference.

a. Long indicates that the grain is parallel to the larger side of your piece.
b. Short indicates that the grain is parallel to the shorter side of your piece.

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