Building Wooden Driveway Gates in Four Steps

A small, rural home with a wooden driveway gate.
What You'll Need
Treated lumber
Circular saw
Power drill
Masonry bit (if needed)
Lag bolts (if needed)
Post hole digger/shovel
Tape measure
Barn door hinges
Galvanized screws
Double-sided latch

Installing a driveway gate is a great way to add a little elegance to your home while protecting your privacy. How one is installed will depend on the look you want, the materials you want (wood, wrought iron, etc.) and whether or not you have a fence of some sort already.

This guide will be for those with a fence wanting a wooden gate, however, many of the principles can be applied to other fence types and gate needs as well with a little ingenuity and some Do It Yourself know-how.

Attach Posts

If you have a concrete/stone fence, start with two 2x8 beams. Since these will be the left and right posts for the gate, cut them to the same height as the posts of your fence. Drill holes through the 2x8 beams and into the fence post roughly every foot using a masonry bit and attach them with lag bolts. The 2x8 beams will be used to attach the hinges and latch of your gate to your fence.

If you have a wooden fence, check the size of your posts where you want to attach the gate. If they are 6x6 or larger, they will work, however, if they are smaller you will have to plant 6x6 gate posts against the fence posts, as anything smaller won’t be strong enough to hold up your gate. If you have no fence at all, make sure your gate posts are at least 6x6. Cut them at least 1 1/2 feet longer than the height you want; this extra will be buried. Dig your hole about two feet deep. Fill the first four to six inches with sand or gravel to allow water drainage. Then, insert your posts and fill the rest of the hole with concrete while continually checking the level. Let the concrete dry overnight.

Build the Wooden Gate Frame

Build a square frame with 2x4s to fit between your posts, leaving about half an inch on each side so it will swing freely without binding. Allow at least four to six inches of space between the ground and bottom of the frame (or more if your driveway slopes upward). Place a diagonal 2x4 from one corner to the other - this extra support will keep the frame from sagging over time.

Attach Risers

Drill vertical risers into your frame. The size is up to you, though more 2x4s will work fine. Also, the distance between them is your choice, though you’ll need at least 1/8 of an inch to account for swelling of the wood—anything less and the swelling could damage your risers. Most wooden driveway gates don’t have more than an inch of space between risers.

Hang Your Gate

Attach your hinges to one side of your gate. Then, to attach them to the post, it is best to set your gate on blocks at the height you plan to have it, screw your hinges into the posts, and remove the blocks. Similarly, attach your latch (make sure its capable of opening from both sides) to the other side of the gate first, close your gate, and secure the other latch piece to your post.