How to Build a Garden Gate: Step by Step Instructions

The garden gate is the personal entrance into the magical world of growing things. In today’s home centers, there is such a wide variety of building products for you to choose from. Building your garden gate yourself allows you to personalize the style of your garden.

Step One:
Measure the distance between the inside faces of the gate posts on either side of the gateway. Subtract 1 1/2 inch from this measurement to determine the actual width of the gate (which leaves3/4 inch of clear space on either side of the gate) The gate opening should be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate lawn and garden equipment or two people passing through at once. The width between the posts should not vary by more than 1/4 inch, top to bottom. Gate height will differ, depending upon the height of the fence, but plan for the gate to hang at least 2 inches above the ground.

Step Two:
Cut the gate frame rails and fence boar siding to length and lay the gate framing members on a flat surface, fence board facing up. Typically the top and bottom rails of the gate frame will align with the fence stringers. Screw the fence boards to the rails with 1 1/2 inch galvanized deck screws, keeping each fence board perpendicular to the gate rails. Use two screws per joint.

Step Three:
Flip the gate over so the gate rails face up, and check the gate for square by measuring the diagonals. Select a length of stock for a gate cross brace that is longer than the diagonal distance between the gate rails. Lay it on top of the rails so it intersects the inside opposite corners of the rails. Mark the cutting angles so the cross brace will fit between the rails. Cut the cross brace to length and screw the fence board sidling to it with 1 1/2 inch deck screws.

Step Four:
Mark and cut any decorative profiles in the top of the gate with a jig saw. I like a scallop top that begins and ends one fence board in from either edge of the gate. Then stain or paint the gate to match the fence.

Step Five:
Measure and attach tee-hinge leaves to the gate, screwing them through the fence board siding and into the gate rails.

Step Six:
Prop the gate in the gateway with wood support blocks placed under the bottom rail. Provide at least 2 inch clearance between the bottom of the gate and the ground. Measure and attach hinge hardware to the hinge-side gatepost and hang the gate. Test to make sure the gate swings freely and make any necessary adjustments before installing the latch.

Step Seven:
Install the strike plate on the gatepost. Position the latch assembly on the upper gate rail, align it with the strike plate and mark pilot and latch-bore hole locations on the gate rail.

Step Eight:
Bore holes for the thumb latch hardware with a spade bit, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Attach the latch to the gate.

Step Nine:
Install the handle and thumb latch assembly to the outside of the gate. Test the operation of the latch mechanism and adjust as needed.

You can decorate your gate by adding an arch above it and planting roses or flowering climbing vines. Make your garden gate part of your garden theme.

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