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How to build a driveway wood gate

Updated April 12, 2019

There are many reasons why you might want to build a wooden driveway gate. Driveway gates prevent unauthorised parking if you live in a heavy traffic area where parking is an issue during sporting events, exhibitions or community festivals. They add ornamental vlaue to your property as well. A well-constructed gate made of quality hardwood, especially if it is carved or turned on a lathe to add additional aesthetic appeal, can add hundreds of dollars worth of curb appeal to your landscape plan.

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This fence assembly uses mortise and tenon joints, reinforced with wood screws. Please read the resource at the end of this article about mortise and tenon joints if you have not cut them before.

  1. The photo shows a single gate, which is fine for a driveway that is 6 feet wide or narrower. For a wider driveway, however, you will need a two piece gate or it will sag. Measure driveway width. Most driveways are 12 feet across or less, so your gate halves can be 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide. If your driveway is wider, adjust the length of your gate halves accordingly. This article assumes that each gate half will be 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide.

  2. Cut two 1 inch wide, 2 inch deep, 3 inch long mortises in each four feet long board, 1/2 inch from each end, into the 2 inch side. Make sure there is 1/2 inch of wood or more in every direction from each mortise.

  3. Cut a tenon 3 inches long and one inch wide, two inches deep at each end of each 6 feet long board. Apply carpenter's glue inside each mortise and all over each tenon. Insert tenons into mortises and clamp each 4 feet by 6 feet gate half until glue dries in all joints overnight.

  4. Drill two pilot holes 1 1/2 inches from the edge of each board making up each gate half, into the 4 feet long sides, and insert wood screws. This assures that even if the glue in the joints does not hold, the gate will not come apart easily. Be sure to countersink screw holes so that screws are flush in the wood.

  5. Use post hole digger to make a hole two feet deep, on each side of your driveway. Check post hole placement to assure that your gate halves will not overlap when closed. Set posts in holes. Fill empty space around post with gravel. Mix concrete according to package directions. You can mix in a wheelbarrow, mixing trough or plastic bin. It will be easier to move concrete from post to post using a wheelbarrow, however.

  6. Fill each hole around each post with concrete. Use a plumb bob to find the vertical, and brace the posts so that they will stay vertical until the concrete sets.

  7. Attach gate halves to posts using gate hinge kits. Secure gate with a chain and padlock when not open.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 bags instant concrete mix
  • Large clamps
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Two 6 feet long 6 inch by 6 inch redwood posts
  • Four 4 feet long, 2 inch by 4 inch redwood boards
  • Four 6 feet long, 2 inch by 4 inch redwood boards
  • Six 2-inch by 2-inch, 3-feet by 4-inch long redwood pieces
  • Four 1 inch by 2 inch, 3-feet long pieces of redwood
  • Router
  • Plumb bob
  • 30-gallon plastic bin, concrete mixing tub or wheelbarrow
  • Hoe
  • Post hole digger
  • Box of 6-inch long wood screws
  • Power drill, 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Countersink bit
  • Braces
  • Gate hinge kits

About the Author

Jane Smith

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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