How to build a garden gate from scratch DIY

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If you have already read about our garden fence extension project, then you may have noticed the new gate we have had to put in.

We decided not to buy a ready made gate but build one from scratch, partly for fun but mainly so that we can design the gate the way we want and not be limited by the sizes available in the shops. We wanted a gate that could stand the test of time, was sturdy and secure.

DIY garden gate built from scratch featheredge_band and hook hinge
Our finished garden gate built from scratch

Deciding on the structure of the garden gate:

We knew that we wanted a gate that was at least 900mm (3ft) wide to give us enough room to access the alleyway at the back with tools or wheelbarrows if needed. We also decided that we will build the gate frame out of 3″ x 2″ (75mm x 47mm) treated timber as anything less than that may be too flimsy and 4″ x 2″ timber may be a bit on the heavy side.

Deciding on the design of our garden gate:

We wanted a gate with the feather edge boards sitting flush (flat) inside the main outer frames of the gate. This was mainly for aesthetic reasons but also meant that the overall thickness of the gate would be 2 inches, the same as the main frame of the gate built out of 3″ x 2″ timber.

DIY garden gate build diagram
The gate would have 3 horizontal beams so that we can fit 3 hinges on the gate for additional strength.

Gate post topper/bar/arch for our garden gate:

We also wanted an arch/post top bar going across the top of the two gate posts mainly for structural reasons but also thought it would be a nice feature too. The idea was that this bar will hold the posts in place completely parallel to each other for many years working against the heavy gate constantly opening and closing.

TechLifeDiy Garden Gate Topper Arch 002
Finished straight gate arch/top bar

Deciding on the type of hinge to use for our garden gate:

We decided to go for band and hook type hinges as it seemed from our research that they are much stronger than standard tee hinges. We also made sure that the hinges cover at least half the width of the gate (in our case 450mm) to offer maximum support. One of the key advantages of the band and hook hinges is that you put a coach bolt through the entire frame for each hinge which surely adds strength to the usual screw attachments.

TechLifeDiy Garden Gate Band and Hook hinge
450mm band and hook hinge with M12 100mm coach bolt

List of materials for our garden gate build project:

It may be easier to order the timber/feather edge from one store and preferably have them delivered, especially if you have a small car.

3″x 2″ (47mm x 75 mm) treated timber (C16) 3.6m x 1 piece
3″ x 2″ (47mm x 75 mm) treated timber (C16) 2.4m x 1 piece
22mm x 47mm treated timber x 5 pieces
22mm x 100mm feather edge 1.8m x 12 pieces
4″ x 4″ treated timber 1.2m x 1 piece (for gate post arch – more on that later)

3 x M12 100mm coach bolts
30mm stainless galvanised panel pins 
5 x 100 mm corrosion resistant screws
5 x 80 mm corrosion resistant screws

Band and Hook hinges x 3 (more on that later too)

Wood glue
Wood treatment (we used Rustins)

A list of tools will be at the end of this post.

Video of the step by step garden gate build

This video covers the whole build step by step, so feel free to watch it or save for later.

Building the garden gate:

Our gate posts were 4″ x 4″ (100mm x 100mm) and the spacing between the posts was exactly 910mm so this meant that we needed the gate to be exactly 900mm with roughly 5mm space on each side.

I started off by creating the outer frame with the 3 x 2 timber and attached the 2 cross braces using 47mm x 22mm timber. I was conscious that the cross braces were not sturdy enough to provide adequate support to the gate to stop it from sagging. However, we were limited by the depth as we wanted the feather edge to sit flush with the main gate frame.

I had also seen some feather edge gates manufactured by some well known providers with no braces, so went ahead with the assumption that slightly smaller braces are better than no cross braces at all. If it deteriorates in the future, I can always replace the brace with something with the same thickness but perhaps wider than 47mm.

Garden gate main frame with cross braces fitted
Gate frame ready with cross braces attached

At this point, we decided to apply 2 coats of “Rustins Quick Dry Shed and Fence Clear Protector 1 litre” (£8 from Toolstation) for extra protection for the newly cut timber edges.

Building the inner frame:

The next step was to build the inner frame inside the main frame around the cross brace so that the featheredge could be attached to it.

Builder inner frame inside the main gate frame for featheredge
The inner frame was also built from 47mm x 22mm treated timber.

By placing the timber underneath the main gate frame, I used a sharp pencil to mark the edges. I then used a mitre saw to make cuts just outside the pencil mark to ensure a snug fit.

It was then time for a quick fit test to ensure the frame fits nicely within the gate posts with the right gap on each side.

Techlifediy garden gate frame fit test
A quick fit test to ensure the frame is the right size before attaching the feather edge.

Attaching the feather edge boards to the garden gate frame:

Feather-edge-board-spacer-jig

I first laid the feather edge boards out using a spacer jig that I made out of feather edge off cuts. This is to ensure that there was exactly 40mm overlap for each board.

It’s a good idea to lay all the boards out first on the frame to ensure the spacing works. I then attached the feather edge using 40mm panel pins from the hardware store, Wickes, which was fairly straightforward.

TechlifeDiy Fence gate feather edge fitting

I used 22mm feather edge boards which were 100mm wide.

feather-edge-board-thickness-measurement-diagram

22mm thickness refers to the actual thickness of the piece of timber the boards were cut from as per the diagram above.

Fitting Band and Hook hinges:

We decided to go for 3 hinges instead of 2, which meant that the gate frame had to have 3 horizontal pieces of timber. Most gates we saw at timber merchants/DIY stores didn’t have a frame joint in the mid section of the door, this means that you are limited to only 2 hinges.

I started by laying the hinges in the exact position I would need them on the gate making sure that there was about 1 inch plus 5mm gap as per the image below:

fitting-hook-and-band-type-hinges-diagram

I then attached all 3 hinges on the gate with 40mm wood screws making sure the hinge plate is horizontally parallel to the gate frame.

Fitting the gate on the posts:

Once all the hinges were on, the gate was ready to be hung onto the post! 

I started off by putting a few pieces of thinner than usual paving bricks underneath the gate and used a spirit level to level the bricks and subsequently the gate. Using thin pieces of wood shavings as 5mm spacers, I wedged them on each side of the gate to make sure there were uniform gaps on both sides of the door. 

Then it was only a matter of screwing the hinge plate onto the fence post. The final step was to drill through the gate to attach the coach bolts.

It is usually a good idea to rotate one of the hooks upside down to prevent the gate being lifted. We weren’t particularly concerned about that as we were planning to attach gate bolts from the inside. We also wanted to be able to lift the gate off easily if needed from the inside without having to take the plates off the post.

Band and hook hinges attached to gate post

How I made the top arch/gate topper from leftover scrap wood:

As mentioned earlier, we wanted this bar to sit on top of the gate to ensure it offers some type of support to the gate posts. We had some 4″ x 4″ fence posts lying around from old fencing so I decided to carve a piece out of that.

Techlifediy how we made the gate topper out of scrap wood
Making the gate arch from old fence post

Firstly, I took a 1 inch slice off the 4 inch piece with an Evolution circular saw. I then took a 45 degree bevelled cut on all four edges off one side so that rainwater can run off easily. 

After that, using the circular saw, I made a 4″ x 4″ x 1″ depth cut exactly the same distance apart as our fence post so that it can slot in nicely on top.

Techlifediy how we made the gate topper arch

I then made a DIY wood filler mix using the saw dust from the cuts and wood glue. By adding a small amount of water to the mix, I ensured the mix had a paste like texture. I then went ahead and filled any old cracks in the wood. Lastly, I applied 2 coats of Rustins clear fence treatment to protect the newly sawn sides.

Video of the garden gate topper / arch build

How much it cost me to build my garden gate

If you are interested in finding out how much the garden gate cost me to build then here’s a list below. Please note for some screws, glues and wood treatment etc., I simply put a pro-rata cost rather than the actual price of a 100 pack screw for example as I have lots of leftovers from other projects.

MaterialApprox. cost
3″ x 2″ (47mm x 75 mm) treated timber (C16) 3.6m x 1 piece£5.00
3″ x 2″ (47mm x 75 mm) treated timber (C16) 2.4m x 1 piece£4.00
22mm x 47 mm treated timber x 5 pieces£12.00
22mm x 100mm Feather edge 1.8m x 12 pieces£24.00
M12 100mm coach bolts x 3£0.50
30mm stainless steel panel pins£1.00
5 x 100mm corrosion resistant screws£1.00
5 x 80mm corrosion resistant screws£1.00
Band and Hook hinges x 3£18.00
4″ x 4″ treated timber x 1.2m£0.00 (this was ours already)
Wood glue£1.00
Rustins wood treatment£2.00
Total cost£69.50
Techlifediy finished garden gate from outside
This is what the gate looks like from the outside

Tools I used for my Garden Gate build project

Makita LXT combi drill
Makita impact driver
Evolution circular saw
Mitre saw
Hammer
Irwin quick grip
DIY feather edge spacer

I hope you find this post useful. I will be uploading a video on YouTube with some more details and a step by step time lapse. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks and speak soon!

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