How to Build Garden Gates

How to Build Garden Gates
Photo courtesy stock.xchng, Illustration Margaret Telsch-Williams
Overview
A garden gate is one of the easiest structures to create for your garden and yard. It also pays off by keeping children or pets in your backyard while keeping pests and unwanted visitors out. To build a custom garden gate that is a seamless fit to your existing structure, take time when measuring. While the project can take a day or two, the gate will last you for years.
Step 1
Measure the opening you need to fill between your fence posts. Cut the sides of your gate frame 10 inches shorter than the height of your fence post using two 2-by-4s. Cut three horizontal gate frame boards 4 inches shorter than the width of your gate frame. Cut the fence palings 2 inches shorter than the height of the fence posts.
Step 2
Create a rectangular frame by laying the vertical sides on their 2-inch edge. Place a horizontal board at the top and bottom between the sides resting on their 2-inch edges. The ends of the horizontal boards should butt up against the sides of the vertical side boards. Attach two screws at each intersection through the side boards and into the top and bottom boards.
Step 3
Measure to find the center of your side boards and place the third horizontal board in the middle. The board ends should butt against the sides. Turn this board to be resting on its 4-inch side. Because the frame boards are rising 4 inches up from the ground, and this middle board is only coming up 2 inches, the middle board will only be flush with the frame along the ground. Secure with screws on each end, just as the top and bottom boards were attached.
Step 4
Measure both diagonal lengths from corner to corner. If the two measurements aren't the same on each diagonal, adjust the skew of the frame until you have matching measurements. When the diagonal measurements are the same, you know you have even right angles.
Step 5
Make a diagonal brace board by cutting 45-degree angles into your last 2-by-4. Attach the brace board to run along either diagonal of the frame, touching the frame at each corner, with its 4-inch width facing out. This board should fit into the frame nicely against the middle, horizontal board. Just as the middle board was flush with the frame along the ground, the diagonal brace board will be flush with the face of the frame. Screw through the frame to attach.
Step 6
Lay the palings vertically over the face of the frame. Attach as many palings as you need to cover the width of the frame with equal spacing between each one. The palings should not extend beyond the width of the frame, but should overlap the height of the frame by 4 inches on the top and bottom. Attach at least one screw into the top horizontal board, the brace board and the bottom board on each paling.
Step 7
Secure the gate to the fence post by attaching three gate hinges to the gate. Whether you want the hinges to show on the outside or inside of the gate, they should be screwed into each of the three horizontal boards.
Step 8
Align the gate with the fence post leaving a 2-inch gap at the bottom between the ground and the edge of the palings. Have someone hold the gate steady to the post. Attach the other side of the hinges to the post, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom hinge. Re-tighten the all of the hinge screws once the hinges are attached. Add a gate lock or latch as desired.
skill
2
ingredient
Tape measure

Six 2-by-4-inch boards

Table or hand saw

Fence palings (1-by-6- or 1-by-4-inch boards)

Drill

Rust-proof screws

Three gate hinges with screws

Gate latch or lock with screws

ingredients
Tape measure
ingredients
Six 2-by-4-inch boards
ingredients
Table or hand saw
ingredients
Fence palings (1-by-6- or 1-by-4-inch boards)
ingredients
Drill
ingredients
Rust-proof screws
ingredients
Three gate hinges with screws
ingredients
Gate latch or lock with screws
tip
If you want to paint or stain your gate, it is easiest to do so before adding the hinges. If possible, take the time to treat the gate before hanging it.
tips
If you want to paint or stain your gate, it is easiest to do so before adding the hinges. If possible, take the time to treat the gate before hanging it.
warning
Remember to measure twice, cut once. Double check your measurements before cutting boards and palings or you may end up wasting time and supplies.
warnings
Remember to measure twice, cut once. Double check your measurements before cutting boards and palings or you may end up wasting time and supplies.
keyword
how to build garden gates
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how
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to
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build
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garden
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gates

Resources
reference
How to build a lumber gate