How to build a wooden gate for your yard

How to build a wooden gate for your yard

A wooden gate can spruce up and refresh a yard. It provides functionality and rustic style, and can be a fun DIY project for a holiday or weekend. It might sound like a tricky undertaking, but it can be fun and simple if you follow these tips and tricks.

Ask the timber suppliers in Cape Town for help in deciding on what wood would best suit your gate and be sure to get some building advice too. Read on below for information on how to build a wooden gate for your yard. Have your hammers at the ready for a fun DIY project.

Getting started

Before you head off to look for wood from timber suppliers in Cape Town, you will need to gather the right tools for the job. Ensure that your tools are not rusted or old. And if they are, find new ones for the job. The tools you will need include the following:


  • A screwdriver
  • A power drill
  • An electric mitre saw
  • A carpenter’s level
  • A jigsaw for decorative elements
  • Screws
  • Hinges


Having these tools ready before you go looking for wood is essential as it will save you the time and effort of having to scramble to find them when the times comes to use them.

Measure the space for the gate

The next most important step you need to take when building a wooden gate is to measure the space for the gate. Whether you will be building it in a gap between two walls or you have built a wooden fence specifically for a gate, you need to know the exact measurements of the space it will be placed in.

You need to measure the height and width of the space. If you are going to have a more elaborate gate, then you will need to account for all the extra details, such as a rounded arch on top of the gate or extra hinges for a barn-door style gate. Make a detailed list of all the measurements and take this with you when you go to the timber suppliers so they can show you the right cuts of wood or give ideas on how to fit these dimensions.

Sketch it out

Now you have the measurements, you can start to sketch out your dream garden gate. You do not need to be an artist to do this, but you will need to be sure that the idea is clear to understand and that you have included all design aspects that you need to, such as decorative patterns in the wood and where the hinges will be placed.

You will need to note all the measurements on the design so that you can see the full picture of how your gate will look. Your design might change from what you had in mind once you know the measurements of your fence or wall, so prepare to be flexible. Sketching out the design will also help make shopping easier as you will know exactly how you want your gate to look and what wood to choose.

Create the frame

Start building the wooden gate by cutting the top and bottom pieces to the exact sizes that you measured. You will need to draw markings on the wood first with a pen so you know exactly where and how to cut. Cut the upright side planks about 7cm shorter than the height of the gate.

Next, you will need to screw in the top and bottom planks, so drill a hole before inserting the screws so that they do not split the wood. Fasten the pieces with deck screws before drilling and measure the distance of the holes from the top bend to the opposite bottom corner. Both sides should have the same measurements. Attach the top and bottom planks to the side planks, making sure it is square-shaped. Next, cut an angled cross-brace and attach it to these planks.

Cut and install the planks

Once you have created the frame of your gate, you can move on to installing the rest of the planks to complete your design. Be sure that you have measured the planks correctly, then cut them using your mitre saw.

Once you have cut the planks, you can install them using the same drill bit you used for the frame, and remember to use deck screws to prevent splitting the wood. After installing the planks, you can work on adding the little extras, such as shaping the gate into an arch or using your woodworking skills to add filigree designs. You can add an extra layer of varnish, once the first has dried, to give your gate extra shine and weather-resistance.

Embrace the wonder of wood

A wooden gate can make any garden look welcoming and rustic. It also provides protection and an easy way in and out of your veggie garden, play area or cat’s section of the garden. To build your own, you simply have to buy the right tools, take measurements and sketch out a plan before you start cutting and drilling. Soon you will have your own stunning wooden gate to take pride of place in your yard.

Authored by: mjones

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