Finish the Gate: Install the Pales to build a garden gate
Photo: Kolin Smith

Step 10: Install the Pales

Center the tallest pale on the frame, with the bevel at the bottom mirroring that of the apron cap but not quite touching it. Leaving a tiny gap is critical to staving off end-grain rot; a paint stick makes a perfect spacer. Using a drill/driver and 1 5/8-inch stainless-steel trim-head screws, attach the center pale to the top and bottom rails. Then take two of the shortest pales and attach them flush at either end of the frame. Evenly space the remaining pales in descending order between the center pale and the ends. Cut a block equal to the width between pales and use it as a spacer. Attach the pales. Finally, screw a filler block between the first two pales for the latch.
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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