Gates can be decorative or utilitarian -- or both. A simple way to improve a basic garden gate is to face it with latticework, crisscross panels you can find at any home improvement centre. Latticework is inexpensive, easy to cut, can be stained or painted and will add stability to a gate. Latticework comes in varying thicknesses, so be sure to use a sturdy one in a gate. If it goes in a wooden fence, think about decorating the fence with latticework openings using your extra material.
Design your lattice gate, including width, height, which way it will open and the direction of the lattice. If the gate goes in an existing fence or one you're building, the width and height will be easy to determine. If it is not in a fence, such as between hedges or boundary walls, you may be able to adjust dimensions. Try to keep width and height to standard sizes -- 24 or 36 inches, for instance -- to make efficient use of materials.
Set your gate posts and frame your gate. If it's an existing fence, you should have posts. Otherwise, set 4-by-4-inch posts on both sides; dig holes at least 18 inches deep (preferably one-third the height of your post) and fill with concrete. Allow 1 to 1-1/2 inches for hinges and latches. Use a level to ensure the posts are straight and plumb.
Build a rectangular frame. Use 2-by-4s, although for a lightweight gate that's not heavily used, you can use 2-by-2s; if using 2-by-2s, mitre corners and use mitred 1-by-4s for an X brace. Fasten all joints with galvanised screws and reinforce corners with metal angle braces.
Face your gate frame with latticework. Cut it to fit your frame with a table or circular saw. Cut it to fit flush on the sides. You can make it flush top and bottom or let it overhang, but be sure to allow about 4 inches of bottom clearance so the gate will open freely. Attach the lattice to the frame with galvanised screws; it will be firmer if you also screw the latticework to the interior braces. For an added touch, frame the front of your lattice with quarter-round, window moulding or other trim.
Attach your hinges and latch. Use weather-resistant types that won't rust. Some hinges come with a pin that can be easily removed while you attach the hinges; some garden-style hinges are open with a pin that fastens on the gatepost and a circular opening on the gate side that fits over the hinge pin.