How to Build a Gate

A garden gate or side gate marks the boundary between private and public areas of a home. It keeps pets or kids in the backyard where they belong and strangers outside to maintain your privacy and safety. Although elbow grease is required to assemble one, learning how to build a gate is actually quite straightforward.

A gate installed at the side of your house or as an entrance to your garden is usually 6 feet high. It must be constructed of weather-resistant lumber and corrosion-resistant hardware in order to endure the vagaries that weather presents. Using the correct lumber will also prevent gate posts from weakening and sagging.

Build a Gate How to Build a Gate

Posts for a 6-feet tall gate are usually 5″ x 5″ lumber and cut to the appropriate height. Additions such as bolting posts to another fixed structure, or holding them up at the top with a beam or header can be used to stabilize them. Posts can also be part of walk-through structures like an arbor or a pergola. The holes into which the posts are concreted should be 2 feet deep and 1 foot squared. Extra support can be provided by running a concrete or timber bridge below ground level between the two posts to keep them straight.

To determine the width of the gate proper and grant enough clearance on either side of the gate, deduct 1 inch from the width between the two posts you’ve set up. This allows a half-inch of clearance. The gate frame (2 long sides and 2 short sides) has to be constructed on level ground from 2″ x 3″ pieces of lumber. A fifth piece of lumber that is cut to fit between the 2 long sides is used in order to know how to build a gate with a sturdy frame.

Build a Gate Diagram How to Build a Gate

The gate frame must be squared by adjusting the frame until the two opposite diagonal measurements are identical. This ensures the corners of the frame are at right angles and the frame is square. The frame is braced with a piece of 2″ x 3″ lumber laid diagonally from corner to corner and fastened with galvanized nails. The vertical boards of the gate comprise of 1″ x 6″ fence boards that should be nailed to the frame with 2.5-inch flat-headed galvanized nails for durability. These should overhang the top and bottom of the frame equally while lying flush with its edges. Cut the width of the last board so that the flush-fit is maintained.The gate is hung between its posts so it sits 2 inches of the ground. “Jam” the gate in place with packers or wedges while the hinges are installed. Hinges should be installed on the inside of the gate if you want it to open inwards, and vice versa. The wedges can be removed once the hinges are installed, and the gate latch fitted.

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