Introduction

How to Build a Garden Gate
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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The white picket fence may be what we all dream of, but who says you need the whole thing? A crisp white garden gate provides the same feel. Install it at the head of a path, leading to a garden or your front door, and flank the posts with tall plantings. Though there are more styles than we care to count, choosing one could be as easy as researching historic designs. In fact, it may be necessary; some localities enforce historical accuracy, which is how we landed on this design in Bellport, New York. Luckily, This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers's approach applies to a variety of styles. Follow along to see how to build a gate that won't get you pilloried by the locals.

Shown: Devonshire Twisted Ring Gate Latch, about $49, and 16-inch Old Fashioned Heavy Reversible strap hinges, about $110 a pair; Walpole Woodworkers
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    Tools List

    • garden stakes
      stakes
    • mason's line
      mason line
    • post hole digger
      posthole digger
    • tarp
      tarp to hold backfill
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • 2-and-a-half-inch paintbrush
      paintbrush
    • circular saw
      circular saw
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • combination square
      combination square
    • hammer
      hammer
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun

    Shopping List

    6×6 treated posts Get two.

    self-adhesive flashing

    ¾-inch drainage stone

    fast-setting concrete

    sandpaper

    primer

    5/4×6-inch deck boards to make the frame including the crosspiece, brace, and apron; 2×4s are cheaper but give you a thicker, heavier gate.

    3-inch stainless-steel screws to assemble the frame

    1×6 cedar for the brace1 5/8-inch stainless-steel trim-head screws to attach the pales to the frame

    1×3 cedar for the pales

    1 5/8-inch stainless-steel siding nails to attach the brace paint

    6×6 post caps Get two.

    adhesive caulk to attach the post caps

    reversible strap hinges Choose a size approximately one-third the width of your gate.

    latch hardware and stop