A garden gate made from tree branches provides a simple and inexpensive means of adding rustic charm to your yard while increasing security. The practical and low-maintenance gate cordons off the area, creates a point of entry, enhances the appearance of the landscape and blends well with the natural setting. It also withstands natural elements such as excessive sunlight or rain for many years without showing signs of decay. Although different types of gates are commercially available, creating one yourself saves on costs and allows you to customise it to your needs.
Measure the distance of the opening where you'll hang the gate to determine its width. Subtract 8 inches from that figure to account for the space taken up by hardware, including latches and hinges.
Sketch the gate on graph paper to determine its final design. Consider a simple gate composed of two horizontal crosspieces and two tall vertical support branches with the excess arched over the top.
Cut the tree branches to size with a saw. Keep the length of the upper and lower horizontal crosspieces identical to the desired width of the gate, and the two vertical support branches tall enough to reach the top of the adjacent walls or fence, along with the excess arched across to reach the opposite support branch. Remove any leaves from the branches, and sand splinters or sharp edges to make them smooth. The final length of the support branches depends on the amount of arch you want at the top of the gate.
Lay the two vertical support branches parallel to one another on the ground, with their bottom ends even and spaced as wide as the gate. Measure 8 inches from the lower end of a branch and mark the spot. Lay a horizontal crosspiece over the spot and nail it to the vertical branch. Repeat with the other vertical branch.
Nail the second horizontal crosspiece farther up the support branches, 1 inch below the point where you will bend the excess length to form the arch. You can also wrap a 7-inch-long wire around each joint to secure the vertical support branches to the horizontal crosspieces for added stability. Use pliers around each joint to ensure the wire is taut and in place. Cut excess off with wire cutters. The outside frame of your gate is complete.
To form the gate's arch, start by bending the top of the left support branch over to the right branch. Nail or wind wire around it several times so it remains in place. Bend the top of the right branch over to the left branch, aligning it with the previous arch, and nail or wind it in place with wire. Wind wire every 4 inches to join the branches together.
Add any horizontal or vertical crosspieces inside the gate's frame, nailing them to the edges. Adding a few vertical pieces along the side where the hinges will be placed provides a surface for attaching the hardware.
Hold the gate slightly above the ground (so it opens and closes freely without its base brushing against the ground) and determine where to attach the latch and hinges. Mark the spots on the gate for the hinges, spaced evenly apart from each end, and fasten them in place with small nails or screws. Align and attach the latch kit on the side of the gate opposite to the hinges, using small nails or screws.