How to Build a Lightwight Wooden Gate

It seems as though gates are always in need of repair or replacement due to overuse or misuse. Who has not slammed a gate or two? This simple article will give you the basic steps to build a light weight wooden gate using standard sized Cedar fence pickets and standard hardware. The dimensions for this gate can be modified to fit your specific opening by adding or subtracting one or two pickets. These building instructions are for a 40 inch wide opening. This gate can be built using the most basic tools because of the standard materials. Like any building instructions, these can be modified to meet your own specific desires.

Build your light weight wooden gate

  1. Lay eight of the 4 foot long cedar pickets side by side on a flat working surface (preferable a large workbench). These pickets will be the vertical pickets on your gate. Measure 10 inches from the bottom and make a light horizontal line using your carpenter pencil and your level across all of the pickets.
  2. Repeat the measure and pencil mark from the top edge across all pickets.
  3. Lay two more of the pickets across the other eight. These will be horizontal when you install the gate. Cut them for length to match the width of your gate. The pencil marks that where made previously on the vertical pickets define the attachment location.
  4. Attach the last picket out of the 11 that you purchased to create a "Z" support between the two horizontal pieces. Simply lay the last picket at an angle that covers all of the vertical pickets and mark a line to cut the last piece. Cut it to fit and attach with the 1 inch wood screws at each vertical picket.
  5. Attach the hinges at each one of the horizontal pickets using the screws that are supplied with the hardware. The other side of the hinges are attached to a fixed post installed in the ground or possibly to the side of your house.
  6. The gate latch is installed on the top horizontal piece. The gate latch has two separate parts to it, the pin is installed on the gate while pin eyelet is installed on the post opposite the hinges.

Things You Will Need

  • Hammer
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit set
  • Screw driver tips
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Screw drivers
  • Circular Saw or Hand Saw
  • Speed Square
  • Carpenter's Pencil
  • Cedar Pickets, 4 foot long 5 inches wide
  • Wood Screws, exterior grade 1 inch long
  • Gate Hinges
  • Gate Latch


  • Build this gate using standard size materials. It will make the project much easier and require less cutting.
  • Use your level to properly install your new gate in the opening to make sure it is plumb and level.
  • Attach the hardware using manufacture's recommended and supplied fasteners. The hardware choices are endless so choose what suits the project.


  • Always wear safety glasses when using power tools.

About the Author

Dan Aragon began writing in 2008 and has over 15 years of manufacturing engineering and development experience. He is able to develop concise "how-to" instructions and offers a simple insight to complex scenarios. Dan Aragon earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Colorado State University with certifications in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.