overview diagram of how to build a garden gate
Illustration: Gregory Nemec


Day-to-day timeline

PREP DAY: Install the posts (Steps 1 & 2).
SATURDAY: Cut the parts and build the gate (Steps 3-11).
SUNDAY: Attach the hardware and install the gate and post caps (Steps 12-16).

Size your gate to the width of your path, allowing room for the postholes on either side. Our gate is unusually wide, at four feet, but you can easily adapt the cut list to a narrower size by adjusting the width of the horizontal pieces.

Garden Gate Cut List

Stiles: 2 @ 35 inches
Top rail: 1 @ 47½ inches
Bottom rail: 1 @ 42½ inches
Crosspiece: 1; trace to fit
Filler block: Rip 1x3 to fit between pales; ours was 2 inches
Rip 2 ½-inch-wide stiles from 5/4 decking.

1x5 cedar brace: 1 @ rip to 4 inches wide, length cut to fit
Using a circular saw, rip edges at opposing 30-degree angles.

1x3 cedar pale: 4 @ 38 inches
1x3 cedar pale: 4 @ 39 inches
1x3 cedar pale: 2 @ 40 inches
1x3 cedar pale: 1 @ 41 inches
Shape the tips of the pales, then cut them to length.

Apron board: Rip one to 4 inches wide by 47½ inches long.
Apron strip: Rip one to 1½ inches wide by 47½ inches long.
Using a circular saw set to a 5-degree bevel, rip a 5/4 deck board into two pieces to create both the apron board and strip.

6x6 treated post: Cut two to the desired height while maintaining a portion that's at least one-third the total height of the post that will be buried. For our design, we used 6-foot posts and left 4 feet above ground.
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    Tools List

    • garden 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
    • circular saw
      circular saw
    • drill
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • combination square
      combination square
    • hammer
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun

    Shopping List

    6×6 treated posts Get two.

    self-adhesive flashing

    ¾-inch drainage stone

    fast-setting concrete



    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