Introduction: Backyard Gate

I made this gate because our other one was falling apart. I wanted one that was sturdy, had a certain medieval look and matched our privacy screens I made earlier this spring. I also wanted to bring the gate up to match the height of the fence. Most gates I have seen on the internet were merely made out of fence boards. I wanted something a little more unique.


1. 2, 2x4’s 8ft (gate)

2. 4, 2x6’s cut to 5 ft. (gate)

3. 2, 1x4 8 ft. (gate cross boards) true 1 x 4 measurements

4. 3, 1x3’s 8 ft. (Screen)
5. 1, 1 x 2, 8 ft. cheap furring (screen)

6. Bondo

7. Dark Walnut stain

8. 3 x hinges (rated at 60 lbs each)

9. New black latch

10. Wood screws (2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws, 1 1/4 inch exterior wood screw)

11. Liquid nails

12.1/2 inch dowling (I think I bought around 3 ft)

14. 12 black carriage bolts, 3 inches long, 12 washers, 12 nuts


1. Cordless drill w/ various bits

2. Cordless skills saw

3. Kreg tool pocket hole jig

4. Doweling jig (diy)

5. Drill bits (especially 1/2 inch)

6. Wooden mallet

7. Cordless sander with 100 grit sandpaper

8. Clamps of different sizes (definitely needed for the Kreg tool)

9. Putty knife

Step 1: Gathering Your Tools

I started by having a staging area where I gathered my tools (pictured). The Kreg tool was an experiment. I could have built the gate panel with just dowels, but I really wanted to try my new tool. Home Depot has Kreg tool kits available for about $100. I went the cheap route and bought the single jig for about $20 without the clamps. You will also need the drill bit made for the jig. It has an adjustable collar on it so you get the depth correct for the thickness of board you are using. There are a lot of good videos out there on using a Kreg tool. I probably watched them all! Lol. I also bought a box of the 2 1/2 inch Kreg pocket screws. I can’t say enough about the pocket hole jig. This method works great and really hold the boards tightly.

I also built a small jig for doweling from scraps. It is just a 2 x 4 piece with a 1/2 inch hole drilled through it with a piece of acrylic on top (glued down with gorilla glue). I drew a line down the middle of the acrylic with a sharpie as a guide for the center of the hole. There are a few youtube videos on how to make and use a doweling jig so I won’t repeat that info here.

Step 2: Gate Panel

The gate panel was constructed out of inexpensive pine, four 2x6 boards, and two 2X4 boards to give an overall width of about 29 inches (which is what I needed for the size of my gate. Using the doweling jig I made, I drilled 3 holes in each board, about an inch deep with 1/2 drill bit. I also made my pocket holes before doweling. For some reason I don’t have pics of the doweling process. I inserted 1/2 inch doweling (2 inches long) with some liquid nails on them...then tapped the boards together with a wooden mallet. Using my 2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws, I screwed the panels together for a tight fit. Between the dowels and the pocket hole jig, the panel was super solid (probably a bit of overkill, but I didn’t want it to be loose over the years). I filled the pocket holes with bondo using a small drywalling spatula. This also was probably unnecessary, but I thought it might be a good way to keep the rain water out. Using pocket holes was a new experience and there are 3 ways to fill the holes if they are going to show. One, is obviously to use bondo. It fills the holes really nicely but you will have to sand it. It doesn’t stain well or match the wood once stained. If you are going to use paint, then this is a great option. If you are using stain,though, it would be better to use the second or third option. That is, to buy pocket hole plugs, or to make your own plugs with doweling then cutting the dowels flush. I placed my pocket holes where I knew I was going to have 1 x 4 cross boards to cover them. I then stained the entire panel with a Dark Walnut stain.

Step 3: Horizontal Cross Braces and Hinges

Typically, gates have a diagonal cross brace to help secure the fence boards. Since mine was one solid panel, and my gate is pretty narrow, I didn’t feel I needed one. The horizontal cross boards served 3 purposes: To cover the pocket holes, to give my gate the thickness I wanted for my “screen” to fit on top, and to serve as a good spot for the hinges. I secured the 1 x 4 horizontal cross boards with black 3 inch carriage bolts. These were true 1 inch by 4 inch boards. A little more expensive but I needed the thickness for my screen topper. I cut the boards to length and stained them. Then I drilled where I wanted the bolts to go, just fastening them down with a socket wrench. The hinges were easy. Just drill pilot holes and screw them down. I used a few screws that didn’t come with the hinge that were a little longer for more support. Attaching the gate to the posts required some help. My wife stabilized the gate while I screwed the hinges in. Again, I used a couple 2 inch screws to attach the gate to the posts instead of the screws that came with it. It looks like a gap there, but there really isn’t. The gate is just opened a little backwards.

Step 4: Building the Screen Topper

This is merely for looks, to bring the gate up to the level of the fence, and to match our privacy screens you can see in my garden in the introduction. This was constructed out of 1 X 3’s and 1 x 2 furring. The thickness of the screen is actually about 2 1/2 inches and why I put the cross board at the very top. That crossing board gives the gate an additional inch for my screen to look seamless. I cut everything to length then stained everything before construction. I tried to drill pilot holes for all of my screws to prevent splitting. I think I only split one board. First I built a box to the length and height I wanted. I didn’t use the pocket hole jig for this. I just used 1 1/4 inch wood screws on top and underneath to construct a box. Then I attached the furring pieces as shown in pic #2. I laid out the 1 x 3 screen boards to get the distance between them I wanted then screwed them to the furring. I then attached a another furring board on top so that the screen boards were sandwiched in between.. Using the same screws, I attached the screen to the top of the fence from both sides.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

I attached my new latch with a few screws. A nice upgrade. The only downside of this latch is you can’t open it from the other side. You can see my before and after shot. It really came out nice and ready to repel any Viking hoard! The hinges are stout, so I haven’t noticed any sagging, which was my only concern with a gate of this weight. Overall, it made my wife happy....which is the husband’s main goal in life!!!

I submitted this to the Backyard contest so please give me a vote if you like it!

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