Some Hacks That I Learned Building a Picket Garden Gate Fence
The very first step in building a gate is to know exactly how big it has to be and this means that you need to get your gateposts set properly first so that you can measure and have the opening size for the gate. It’s much easier to make the gate fit the opening than to make the opening fit the gate. The first thing to do is to install the hinge side gate post. This one is by far the most important because it takes all of the stress from the weight of the hanging gate therefore, it must be perfectly vertical and solid. For this I’m going to use a pressure treated 4×4 and I’m going to use a post hole digger to make an 8 inch diameter hole 3 feet deep. In the bottom, 6 inches the hole I’m going to put pea gravel. This will allow drainage in the bottom and will help keep the wood from rotting. Then I’m going to use a typical Sacrete mix, follow the instructions, and then pour that into the hole and this will provide a very solid base. The most important consideration here is to make sure that the post is perfectly vertical. This means vertical upon on both adjacent faces. For this plumb bobs would be absolutely perfect, but you can also use a level. I also think they have a corner style level that is used specifically for making sure posts are vertical. Once the post is set and you have perfect vertical, you need to put a couple of reinforcements on to hold it that way until the concrete sets up. You, of course, can use the exact same procedure to make the latch side gatepost.
Once the concrete that’s setting the posts has had a chance to get solid, typically 24 to 48 hours, you can begin the process of making your gate. First, you want to make sure that the dimensions across the bottom and the top of the opening are exactly the same. Once you know this, you can move forward to make the gate. If you go to YouTube or you do a Hey Siri, Hey Alexa or Hey Google search, you will find that there are numerous ways to make a picket fence style garden gate. My choice was to make a gate with a perimeter frame and then fix the pickets to the gate frame. I came to the conclusion that there are three ways to make the corner joints of a frame. You can make butt joints, which of course would require extensive cross bracing, or you could make a lap joint, which requires skill and tools that are usually beyond those of the typical homeowner or you could make a miter joint with perfect 45 degree angles. If you ever tried to make a perfect 45 degree angle, you would know that that can be extremely challenging. As it turns out, there are other ways to build a gate that require less skill, fewer tools, and at the end of the day, make an absolutely perfect, beautiful gate. There are lots of ways you can make a gate. Typically, somebody lays up 4 2×4’s, nails or screws them together with a cross brace and puts the pickets on it, and then you have a gate. The more expedient way is to take a piece of stockade fencing, cut it to the size of the gate, put a cross brace on it, and call it a gate. Although both of these techniques work and create a gate, generally speaking, it is very difficult to achieve, and then after installation, maintain nice tight 90° corners. Square corners are critical to having the gate swing in and out of its opening freely without binding. The quickest and most efficient solution to this is to use a gate maker kit. These are made by several companies such as: Adjust-A-Gate, National Hardware, True Latch, Homax, Pylex, Stanley, Shepherd, Gate Products, Yardlock, and Tech Team https://www.techteamproducts.com/. We happen to like Tech Team’s 738 https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Exclusive-Heavy-Duty-Included/dp/B07JLY516K/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=tech+team+gate&qid=1566332424&s=gateway&sr=8-6 the best because not only does it incorporate all the features of everybody else’s, but this particular set of gate corner brackets includes a socket that the 2×4 frame extends into, thereby ensuring an absolutely rock solid, secure, and long lasting gate with perfect 90° corners. I use the Tech Team kit to make my gate, and it is absolutely perfect, it looks great and most important, I know that it’s not going to sag and cause problems 2 or 3 years down the road. It was simply a matter of having simple tools, in this case, a drill driver, a handful of screws and a cross-cut saw and I was able to make an absolutely outstanding gate. Once I put it together, I put a coat of paint on it and I have a first class professional looking job.