How to Build a Simple Wooden Gate

Written by larry simmons
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How to Build a Simple Wooden Gate
With the right planning you can build a simple wooden gate with latch. (metal gate latch image by Kathy Burns from

A simple wooden gate is a basic addition to any property that can add both security and privacy to a fenced-in area. It doesn't take much carpentry experience or skill to build and install a simple wooden gate. You will need to handle a hammer and saw for successful completion; mixing and pouring concrete will be required as well. With the proper planning, however, you can build a simple garden gate over the course of a single afternoon that will last for years.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Lawn flags
  • Gravel
  • 2 posts, 8 feet long, 6-by-6-inch
  • Asphalt emulsion
  • Paintbrush
  • Wooden stakes
  • Two-by-four boards
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Carpenter's level
  • Quick-setting concrete mix
  • Water
  • Wheelbarrow
  • 2x3 boards
  • Hammer
  • 2 1/2-inch flat head Galvanized nails
  • 6-foot, 1-by-6-inch fence boards
  • T-hinges
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Gate latch
  • Handsaw

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  1. 1

    Mark the location for your gate using lawn flags. Measure a space 3 feet wide for your gate, which will allow the transit of most lawn and garden implements. Place a lawn flag at both sides of the proposed gate width.

  2. 2

    Measure one foot from each lawn flag along the line of the gate to set the width for the fencepost holes. Mark the width, and then measure the length of the post hole, one foot as well, perpendicular to the width measurement, but with the gate line as the centerline of the measurement. Mark the edges of the new measurement to get a 1-foot-square space centred on the gate line for your fencepost holes.

  3. 3

    Dig the fencepost holes on either side of the proposed gate with a spade, 1 foot square and 2 feet deep. Dig a trench in between the postholes running along the gate line 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide.

  4. 4

    Pour six inches of gravel into the fencepost holes to aid in drainage.

  5. 5

    Paint the bottom 19 inches of the 6-by-6-inch fence posts with asphalt emulsion, a waterproofing agent, and allow the emulsion to dry for an hour.

  6. 6

    Place the fence posts into the holes and, with a hammer, plant two 2-by-4-inch wooden stakes three feet from each post in the front and rear of the gate line. Cut four two-by-fours so that they extend from the stakes to the posts when the posts are centred in the holes. Check the posts' positions with a carpenter's level to make sure they're plumb, pointed upwards at a 90-degree angle. Nail the two-by-fours to the stakes and then nail them to the posts, holding the posts upright.

  7. 7

    Mix the quick-setting concrete with water until you have the consistency of peanut butter. Use a wheelbarrow to mix the concrete with your spade and transport the mixture. Fill the post holes and the 8-inch trench between with the concrete. Allow the concrete to set as you build the gate.

  8. 8

    Build the gate frame using two 2-by-3 boards, 35 inches long, at the top and bottom of the gate and two 2-by-3 boards, 5 feet long, as the sides. Lay a 35-inch board on its 2-inch side onto a flat surface. Place the two 5-foot boards perpendicular to the 35-inch board, also on the 2-inch side, on the edges of the board so that the gate is only 35 inches wide. Place the final 35-inch board on the bottom of the now rectangular frame. Place a 31-inch board in the centre of the rectangle between the two long boards as added support. Make sure that the frame is squared with all angles forming right angles. Cut the boards using a table saw.

  9. 9

    Nail the boards in place using 2 1/2-inch flat head Galvanized nails. Place a final 2-by-3-inch board diagonally across the frame extending from the upper left corner to the lower right. Mark and cut the diagonal board to fit and then nail it in to place to provide additional support to the gate.

  10. 10

    Nail the 1-by-6-inch boards vertically to the frame so they overhang at the top and bottom of the frame evenly and sit flush with the frame sides.

  11. 11

    Place 2-by-3-inch scrap pieces between the fence posts so they sit 2 inches high. Place the gate onto the scrap, positioned between the posts so that the flat boards face outside the fenced area. Place a T-hinge on each of the horizontal 2-by-3-inch boards in the gate frame. Screw the hinges to the horizontal boards and then screw the other end of the hinge to the post so that the gate swings inward from inside the enclosed area. Remove the scrap wood.

  12. 12

    Screw a gate latch onto the gate at the midway point marked by the centre horizontal bar. Cut a hole with a handsaw above the latch large enough to stick a hand through, to access the latch from either side of the gate. Allow the quick-setting concrete to complete its curing according to the time suggested by the concrete manufacturer.

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