We've been in this rental here in Colorado Springs for a year-and-a-half now and one of the biggest challenges was figuring out a way to create more privacy in our backyard. We're next to an alley and all of our immediate neighbors also have chain link fences. We can see through about six different backyards in the winter when all the plants and trees are bare, which is fine since it's usually too cold to spend much time out there. However, once the weather warms up, we spend a good portion of our time outside and the kids sometimes forget to put their shorts on first!
Not only was I wanting to create a little privacy, I wanted a place for my eyes to land so I wasn't always seeing everyone's parked cars (including ours), trash cans, and overgrown yards. I'd seen full horizontal cedar fences on Pinterest and then checked out the supplies available at Lowe's and realized I could make something temporary that wouldn't alter the existing fence and wouldn't cost a fortune. I ended up making four panels - one for the gate in the alley way and three to span the back of the yard. Each of the panels is 6'x6'.
1. Supplies: Per panel - Two 1"x3"x6' boards, twelve cedar planks at 6' each, 50+ 1.5" finish nails, two 2" IPS Galvinized Pipe Straps (simpler than the ones I used), four 2" bolts with nuts, four flat washers, drill and 1/4" drill bit, hammer, square ruler, pencil, twine or bungee cords. 2. Place your top cedar panel on the ground horizontally. Place your two 1"x3"x6' boards vertically about 4" in from each edge so that the top is flush with the cedar plank. Be sure to square them up and nail one nail in on each side. Repeat with your bottom plank making sure it's like 1/4" above the bottom of your 1"x3"x6" board. Nail it in. 3. Make sure it's square with your fence. If it's not, make adjustments before adding two more nails at each corner. 4. Space the rest of your panels evenly, making sure they're consistently even all the way down at the edges. You may want to measure and mark as you go. 5. Tie your panel to your fence with rope or bungee cords where you'd like it to rest. Place your pipe straps over the chain link fence and measure where you'll need to drill along the vertical boards. Remove ropes or cords, place fence panel on the ground and drill all your holes before attaching it back to the fence. The bolts go in from the front. Once through the straps, add your washer and nut. Screw tight. Repeat.
I suggest double-checking that each of your panels is straight when you're putting them in your cart at the store! I ended up with one that was slightly bent (see above) and I am seriously considering taking the whole thing down to replace that one. Also, this is only cost effective to a point. It was only practical to add these in two sections of our yard. I also lucked out in not having to cut any boards to fit my fence.
The gate on the alley is just under 6' x 6' and each of my boards is 6' so I just had to move the two vertical boards in a few inches each to be able to attach to the top of the chain link fence. If you were to make them for a standard chain fence in a yard you'd just need to cut your vertical boards down and decide how many horizontal cedar planks it would take to fit just above the top of your fence rail.
I have toyed with the idea of adding plant hangers to the fence or maybe just solar-powered lights to dress it up even more. We've had the panels up for about three months now and they're still looking great. It's incredible how they've helped transform our yard and I think they're a great option for other renters looking for a way to spruce up their chain.
P.S. Someone brought to my attention that some city codes may not allow for this kind of fencing. Colorado Springs doesn't consider it a structure since it's less than 6' and isn't blocking the view of an intersection but there may be other restrictions in your city or depending on your neighbors' preferences. I suggest doing some checking before spending any money.