Stuart Price
Last Updated

If your garden gate is past its best, or you have an alleyway next to your house that you’d like to make more secure, then why not save yourself some money and put your DIY skills to good use by making yourself a simple wooden gate?

This quick guide will show you how to make a simple tongue and groove wooden gate that you can use for any small space and doesn’t involve any complicated techniques to deal with.

Start With Your Measurements

The first thing you need to know is the size of the space you want the gate to fit into so that you can make it to the required size.

You need to measure the width of the space, which might not be the same width all the way up. Measure the top, bottom, and middle of the space, and make sure you keep the smallest of these to hand.

Next, you need to:

  • Measure the depth of the gate posts you will be using
  • Subtract that from the width of the space
  • Take off an extra 5mm and 10mm for gate clearance
  • You also need to leave a space under the gate, of at least 60mm so it’s off the ground and won’t rot
  • Note if the posts have beveled edges as well
Move Onto Fitting Your Garden Gate Posts

Before you build your gate, you need to know what you are going to attach it to. Are you fitting gate posts or are you going to attach it to existing structures such as the end of a fence post? Either way, you need to make sure everything is level.

You need to use your spirit level before you start to drill or screw your gate posts to any kind of surface, so here’s what to look out for:

  • You might need another person to help you
  • Use something that is as wide as the gate gap and has a straight edge, which you can place on the floor.
  • Hold the gate posts at the right height and use your spirit level
  • You can prop the posts up with a wooden wedge
  • Draw a mark so you know if the post slips

You are then ready to mount your gate posts to the wall or whichever surface you are mounting them too.

It’s important to have the right kind of drill with a masonry bit if you are screwing into the brickwork and you need the right type of screws that will be strong enough to hold your posts in place, and long enough to reach through the posts and into the masonry.

Watch this video tutorial on how to build a garden gate:

Next You Can Start To Build Your Gate

With your tongue and groove would, you need to make sure you cut the groove section first but make sure there is enough. Cut all the pieces you require and then you are all set to start putting it together.

You need to measure six inches from the top and make a mark and do the same again at six inches from the other end. Then you will know where the exact middle of your plank is. You will need these marks to line up your gate spars.

Lie the spars down in line with your pencil marks and add wood glue along the edge of each one, making sure to wipe off excess.

Make sure the glued spars are in line with the pencil marks but also that the ends line up with your tongue and groove each, before fixing together with one screw each.

If you want your gate to be sturdy and it’s a wide gate then you will need to make a Z-brace to give it added strength, but this is not required for a small side gate.

Next, you need to layout all the tongue and groove boards down. You need to repeat your six-inch and center marks and line up the spars, then screw the final board down with one screw per spar.

Make Sure Your Gate is Square

Check if your gate is square by measuring from corner to corner, and then doing the same on the opposite corners to see if the measurements match. If they don’t you might need to tap the larger side with a hammer a few times.

Once it is all square and straight, you can add another screw to each of the tongue and groove sections to hold them in place.

Now You Can Add Your Hinges

When buying hinges make sure they are strong enough to take the weight of the gate and then you need to line them up where the spars are for added strength and robustness.

You Might Want To Add A Bolt To Your Gate

You can buy a bolt fairly cheaply and screw it to the top of your gate, which means you can reach over to undo it if need be, although if you want the gate for security you will need to add another kind of lock, perhaps a combination padlock.

The only thing that is left to do is hang your gate by attaching it to the hinges. Again, you might need someone to help you do this and hold the gate up while you screw in the hinges to the gate posts. Now you have the perfect small wooden hanging gate for your garden.

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