DIY: How to Add a Backyard or Side Yard Gate Using Inexpensive Materials

When we purchased a newly built triplex rental property, we have noticed that the builders did not even put up a side or perimeter fence to separate our property from the neighbors. Within a week’s time after we took possession of the said property we have hired a carpenter to install the said fence. We did not bother to have a side gate installed because we were intending the fence to only to provide privacy and not to be used for anything else.

A year and a half has passed by when we have received a notification from the South San Francisco Fire Department that the garbage and recycle bins that are located along the side yard are in code violation. We have found out the all recycle and garbage bins should be hidden from the public’s view unless during pick up days. We were not familiar with this law, having lived in South San Francisco for a few years now, this is the first time we have heard of it. So we were given a warning and a week’s deadline to make sure that the garbage cans are either moved or covered otherwise we will be cited and fined for code violation. This then became a weekend project for my husband and brother in law as we chose to add a side yard gate to cover the garbage and recycle bins.

I give this project 3 hammer out of 5 for degree of difficulty.

Materials needed:

7 pieces of 4 �½ inches wide lumber cut to length (redwood is chosen for this project)

4 pieces of 2×4 lumber for frame

2 hinges

Nuts and bolts

A set of door latch

Drill/Screw driver

Screws (galvanized preferably)

Hammer (optional in case the screws won’t go in easily)

Allen wrench

Circular saw

Work gloves

Eye goggles

Installation Steps:

Measure the width from the fence to the side wall of the exterior of the house.

Then purchase and gather the materials needed (see above list).

Cut 2 pieces of 2×4 woods in 6 feet length to be used as support.

Drill the side wall and fence and, using galvanized 3-inch screws, attach the 2x4s one on each side (see figure 1).

Then cut 5 pieces of 2×4 woods to be used as frame. Assemble these pieces by making a square and connecting the 5th piece diagonally in the center. You can use the electric drill/screw driver to connect these pieces together. Once built, these pieces will be used as a foundation support and to frame the gate.

Once you have connected all 5 pieces, screw on hinges, and use Allen wrench to tighten the nuts and bolts on one side to the 2×4 that is connected to the concrete or exterior wall of the house. Leave one side un-screwed, this will be the one that would swing open (see figure 2). Make sure that the gate swings on the inside of the side yard for easier access.

You can now connect the door latch, make sure that they fit well and lock.

Then cut the 4 Ã?½ inch width lumbers to size; check your city’s code in regards to the height of the gate. In this project my husband and brother in law had decided to go for a 6 feet high gate.

Put a solid block around 1 inch high at the bottom. This will serve as the alignment gauge for the lumbers as you attach each one to the frame , it also helps in leaving enough space at the bottom so that the gate will open smoothly without getting stuck to the ground or concrete pavement.

Screw the lumbers to the frame; in this project 7 pieces of lumber were used to cover the frame. Make sure to allow enough gaps in between the lumbers to allow for wood expansion. Trim the sides for a smooth edge finish. (see figures 3 & 4)

Test the gate swings for stability and ease of opening and closing. Then close the gate (see figure 5).Tips: Use wok gloves and eye goggles for protection. When connecting the frames, it is always helpful to have a second pair of hands to help out. This way you will be certain that the assembly is well aligned or not crooked, plus it helps when the woods are heavy one person can hold while the other one screws the pieces together.

The project only took my brother in law and husband a good 4 hours including the measurement, shopping for materials, and the actual assembly. The materials used summed up to $88 and some change. We still have more than a week before our deadline, but we are happy that this project was taken care of before we incur penalties and well before the autumn rain starts to fall.

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