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How to Build Your Own Backyard Gate

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As a new homeowner and single mom, there are many projects around the house that need to be done, but some of them will have to wait due to the expense of hiring a professional. One project that needed to be done quickly was installing two separate gates to close off my back yard so my dog could have free reign and I could put the leash away for trips away from home.

Just to get an idea of what a pro would charge for my project, I went online and typed the measurements for the fences and gates that I needed into a website that would give me an automated estimate. A project that I thought would cost about $300 – $400 actually was more than $700. My 17-year-old son and I talked it over and decided we could do it ourselves. After all, we’ve tiled floors, landscaped our yard, and worked on our cars together.

Before getting started, we wanted to do some research online. There are several websites that give great instructions and hints about constructing the type of gates I wanted. Since Home Depot carries prefabricated sections of 6′ x 8′ stockade privacy fence, this is what I decided to use. After making a list of the supplies we would need, we drove to our local Home Depot to purchase everything. According to the information we gathered on several websites and my own measurements in my back yard we would need: two sections of 6′ x 8′ stockade fence, a bag of concrete mix (to set the posts), four 4″ x 4″ x 8′ posts, a saw (I chose to use a hand saw), post-hole diggers, and gate hardware (hinges and latches.) Total: $178.22. Not bad!

We also rented a pickup truck to carry it all home since we don’t own a vehicle large enough to haul the fence sections. Home Depot has a great deal on rentals – only $19 for the first 75 minutes and $19 per hour after that. I only live about 10 minutes away, so after the guys at Home Depot loaded up the truck, I took the supplies home, unloaded them in the yard, and returned the truck within half an hour. (They also require that you replace the gas that you use, so I put in one gallon before dropping it back off.)

At home, we used the post-hole diggers to dig holes two feet deep. (If you want the posts to be taller than the gates, don’t dig the holes quite so deep.) We placed the posts in the holes, measured the distance between them and then measured the fence to see how wide we would need to cut it. We wanted to make sure the space between the posts was about two inches wider than the width of the fence to allow for easier opening and closing. We adjusted the posts in the holes to allow for this space, then mixed the concrete according to the directions on the bag and poured it into the holes around the posts. I was putting a gate on each side of my house, so I repeated this process on the other side.

Since the concrete needed 24 hours to set, I decided to quit for the night right after I cut the sections of fence to the proper width. Just to make sure, I re-measured the spaces between the posts and cut the sections by sawing the three support boards that hold the stockade fence together. Now I would be ready to hang the gates as soon as I could get started the next day.

After 24 hours, the concrete was set, so all that was left to do was to install the hardware and hang the gates. Following the directions on the package of gate hardware, I marked where the hinges should attach to the gate, drilled holes, and bolted the hinges onto the stockade fence sections. Next I would need to put the gate in place to mark the area where the hinges should attach to the post. Since the gates are heavy and need to be lifted three to four inches off the ground for easy opening and closing, I placed phone books on the ground to hold the gate at the required height, checked to make sure it was level, and marked where I needed to drill to attach the hinges to the post. Next, I drilled the holes, bolted the back side of the hinges to the posts, lifted the gate back in place and set the hinge pins to attach the gate to the post. The gate was hung!

Now I needed to attach the latches so the gate would stay closed. Again following the directions on the package, I marked and drilled holes for the latches and attached those with the screws that were included within minutes.

I was done with the construction of the gates, but there were still some spaces along the sides of the gate posts where I was concerned my dog could squeeze through. To remedy this, I removed some individual planks left over from the remnants of the stockade fence sections, placed them into the spaces, and attached them with L-brackets.

Now I have my own private back yard where my dog can roam free without worry that she will escape into traffic or in the path of an aggressive animal. So you see that building a stockade fence gate is a relatively easy weekend project that anyone can do with a little bit of planning!

I was done with the construction of the gates, but there were still some spaces along the sides of the gate posts where I was concerned my dog could squeeze through. To remedy this, I removed some individual planks left over from the remnants of the stockade fence sections, placed them into the spaces, and attached them with L-brackets.

Now I have my own private back yard where my dog can roam free without worry that she will escape into traffic or in the path of an aggressive animal. So you see that building a stockade fence gate is a relatively easy weekend project that anyone can do with a little bit of planning!

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