In order to hide the electrical boxes, I want to put a vertical divider between my grill & my house, and because of the grill it needs to be heat-tolerant, so I'm building a wall out of metal studs and plan on attaching one of these laser-cut panels on the grill side:

tree panel

The question is, what to do on the "back side" of the vertical wall. I could leave it open, but for aesthetic reasons I'm considering trying to close that side as well. The problem is, I'm now creating a beautifully safe and out-of-the-weather place for wasps and other wee beasties to set up camp.

Any suggestions for ways to prevent bugs from getting through the laser-cut panel, while still keeping the look of the cut metal?


Here's a picture of the area, showing the grill (under the ugly tarp) and the metal wall on which I plan to mount the panel:

picture of grill and metal wall

  • Can you share the details of your plan and perhaps a photo of the area in question?
    – gnicko
    Oct 14, 2021 at 15:43
  • Why do the screens need to be fully framed? I see you're framing all around the bbq. Is that for countertop and storage? If so, those screens could be attached to the back of the bbq station and free standing above the top of it. Use metal screens, strong enough to support themselves, which is all they need to do. Nice idea and design btw!
    – jay613
    Oct 14, 2021 at 15:53
  • 2
    I would use screen door mesh, give it a coat of white paint, and glue it to the backside of your panels. Oct 14, 2021 at 16:02
  • 1
    Code has specific access and clearance requirements for electrical panels and meters. Make sure you know exactly what they are before you do all this work and find out you're an inch or two too close.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 14, 2021 at 16:13
  • 1
    That Colorado clearance would be a width of 2.5 feet, with a depth of 3 feet, just like the NEC. OSHA also requires a minimum depth of 3 feet, so even if there was a code exception, if anyone had to get back there to work or check the meters you would run into that. I would definitely have the AHJ take a look, maybe even get something in writing.
    – red_menace
    Oct 15, 2021 at 3:46

2 Answers 2


Every panel needs a working space of 78" tall x 36" deep from the face of the panel. And the width of the equipment but at least 30" if the equipment is narrower than 30".

A row of equipment like this can be broken up into 2 working spaces.

Panel areas are allowed to have doors

As long as the doors don't foul the required working space of 30" x 36" x 72".

And that won't be a problem if the openings are >30", or open on one side, respectively here.

enter image description here

Mind you, if you do this, you can't also have a wall behind the electrician. The electrician needs to have an easy flight route if something starts to arc-flash, so can't have to close a door to escape.

You can have your doors be simple frames that hold those beautiful laser cut elements. Size the edges of the frames to suit the needed dimensions, since you will have limited choice as to where that "middle" hinge can go.

The doors need to fold up tight so they don't block any covers of equipment.

FYI the working space looks like this, note how it is from the face of the equipment.

enter image description here (imagine that working space sliding back and forth so it 100% overlaps every box. The middle hinge would need to be carefully placed to be between boxes.)

Or you can make a roofless room

enter image description here

However, the entry and working space would need to be clear from floor to 78" (6'6").

Also, there would be strong temptation for people to store things there, which would violate the working space, which must be kept clear at all times. That's usually not a good design.


Just use much lighter framing, or no framing, above the top of the countertop so the back and front sides will be identical.

Something like this:

enter image description here

that is able to support itself at a height of 36 inches. You won't use legs like my photo, you'll attach it to your bbq station, and your panels are prettier ... but the general idea is, you don't need studs to hold the top 30 or so inches of panel as shown in your photo. Also, space seems to be tight behind the panels so this way you get a few inches back.

Make sure you leave the space required by code around your electric panels.

Everything needs to be three feet back from the electrical equipment. I am not knowledgeable on this point but please see the comment from @Harper above for details: "They need to be 36” back of the panels. Working space must be from floor to 78” above floor, and width of all that equipment."

  • I emphasized the last sentence. It's critically important!
    – FreeMan
    Oct 14, 2021 at 19:27
  • @FreeMan - eyeballing that picture... does not look code.
    – DMoore
    Oct 14, 2021 at 19:45
  • @jay613 - what's code for outside panel like this? I have never set up anything like a wall even remotely close to a panel so have never looked it up.
    – DMoore
    Oct 14, 2021 at 19:51
  • @DMoore there is an answer to your question in a comment to the Question, from Harper.
    – jay613
    Oct 14, 2021 at 19:52
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    In Colorado you have to have 30" of clearance, and I specifically designed the deck so I've got that. Oct 14, 2021 at 20:35

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