How we Built a Cute Gate for our Garden for $40!
Updated: Sep 7
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When we built our garden fence using recycled materials, we knew we would need a cute gate to go with it! Well, actually, we built 3 gates! We’ve actually built 4 of these gates total (3 for the garden and one for the chicken run), so needless to say, we’ve learned through trial and error, and absolutely LOVE the design and functionality of these gates!
This gate is easy to build, easy to install, affordable, and functional! Everything you need in a good garden gate!
A miter saw (although a circular saw or jig saw would also work)
A nail gun
A propane torch (if you're choosing to char the gate)
Here’s how we did it:
(I say we because my husband and I built ours together, but it can definitely be just a one-person job.)
We began by carefully measuring the space we had designated for the gate. This is the most important part! Measure very carefully!
Using 2x4s, we built a square frame with a diagonal support, that looks like this:
(2x3s can also be used, but we had 2x4s on hand)
Supporting the gate with a cross beam is very important as this prevents sagging over time.
After the frame was completed, we went ahead and hung the gate, testing to make sure it fit well, and opened and closed like we wanted.
I then cut in half 3 dog-eared fence pickets length-wise, giving me 6 thin pieces. I used a table saw to make these cuts. I laid the frame on the ground and began measuring and spacing my pieces. I wanted them to be evenly spread. I wanted to have a dip in the middle of my gate, so I started by just lightly drawing lines where I thought I should cut down the posts. I went back through and measured, making sure that the outside pieces were the same height, and the pieces next to those were the same height.
After I was satisfied with my measurements, I cut each board down to size. Be sure that you cut the tapered end of the board off, as we’re using fencing pickets. I like the look of the tapered tops, so I opted to taper (cut the corners off) each board. I did not set up a jig but just eyeballed it. For these cuts, I used a miter saw.
Again, with the frame lying on the ground, I laid out my boards again and then nailed them in place using this nail gun.
After the boards were all secured, we hung the gate back on the hinges, making sure the gate still hung well and opened and closed easily. There should be no change as the fencing boards do not affect the structure of the gate.
We used a method called shou sugi ban to weatherproof the wood for the gates, as we were using untreated, recycled 2x4s to build the frame. This method involves charring the wood to weatherproof it. See my post here for how to do it! The fencing posts were treated, as they are meant to go outside, but I still charred them to match the rest of the frame and fence.
After charring the gate, all we had left to do was install the hardware! We opted for this latch in matte black, to match the rest of the gate. I like it because I can swing the door close and it latches automatically.
A Few Important Considerations:
You will need to add support to the post that you hang your gate on. We simply used a 2x4 that we screwed into the top of the post that the gate hangs on, and then the bottom of the next post. This keeps the post from moving over time, with the weight of the swinging door.
Make sure the space that you’re installing the gate is level. Both posts need to be level. Otherwise, you will need to build your gate to accommodate the unevenness. Learn from our mistakes! This is what we had to do. It’s not as noticeable on the single gate at the back of the garden, but it's VERY noticeable on the front gates! It looks like the entrance to a haunted mansion!
We built our fence in the Fall of 2022, so prices may have changed since that time.
Total: $41 (if buying materials new)
Keeping the Cost Down:
We used recycled materials and a weatherproofing method called shou sugi ban. Read more about how we weather-proofed the wood here.
We were lucky enough to have saved lumber from an old shed we tore down. If you don’t have a pile of lumber sitting in your backyard, don’t despair! Here are some tips for saving:
Ask around! Maybe a neighbor or a friend of a friend has an old shed you could go tear down yourself and keep the lumber.
Check Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. I’ve often seen people either giving away used lumber for free OR for a very very good price.
Be flexible with the design. This is the BEST tip I have for building anything affordably. Adapt your design to your materials! Not the other way around.
This was a very simple build and design (which is the best kind). Even an amateur builder can build a gate like this with simple tools like a circular saw!
Want to see more budget-friendly builds?
See my post on the 150-foot wooden fence we built for only $220!