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How to Build a Yard Fence Gate

Updated on July 2, 2013

Tools and Materials

You can buy all the materials needed at your local home improvement store. Be sure to use wood that is meant for outdoors. There are pros and cons of using pressure-treated materials.

Below are the tools and materials you will need:

  • skill saw or chop saw
  • jig saw
  • drill or screw gun
  • tape measure
  • outdoor waterproof glue
  • cedar or treated 2x4's
  • cedar fence pickets
  • hinges and gate latch
  • deck screws

Photos Showing Installed Gates

Step by Step Instructions

1. Cut the 2x4's to fit the gate opening

2. Decide how high you want your gate and cut the vertical pieces

3. Build the frame using glue and screws

4. Square up the frame by measuring corner to corner

5. Cut the diagonal crosspiece and glue and screw into place

6. Cut the horizontal (or vertical) support cross pieces and glue and screw

7. Layout the cedar pickets across the frame and select a spacing that works

8. Glue and screw the pickets in place

9. Cut the pickets at the top of the gate (curved or straight to your preference)

10. Hang the gate using sturdy hinges and install the latch.

The gate design can be varied by size and shape as desired. Just leave the pickets long and cut them to the design shape at the top. You can also vary the spacing between pickets for a different look. I used a spacing of about 1/2 inch and cut the top in an arch. To create the arch, I bent a plastic pole (one of those green tomato plant supports) in an arch and temporarily secured with screws at several locations. Then I traced along the arch with a pencil and cut along the line with a jigsaw.

You may want to ask for help when installing the gate. Set the gate on temporary blocks at least 2 inches above the ground. Install the hinges and check the swing of the gate before installing the latch.

Safety First

There are some safety precautions you need to follow when working with pressure-treated wood. The sawdust from pressure-treated wood can be an irritant to the nose, eyes, and skin. Use of a dust mask and eye protection is highly recommended. Prevent contact with the skin as much as possible. Try to collect as much of the sawdust as possible for disposal. Do not burn pressure-treated wood.

Other safety precautions for this project include use of protective eyewear and gloves. Also hanging the gate is really a two person job. Once completed the gate will be heavy and difficult to handle and line up correctly in the opening.


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