We’ve just fitted a new garden gate at home and I love it. There’s something very satisfying about leaning on it like an old farmer, looking out across the fields beyond. I’ve never really considered the relative size of garden gates before – but as you guys are asking I thought we should try to help.
Garden gates come in different sizes, although the most common size for a pedestrian one is between 32 and 36 inches across. For driveway vehicle gates, the typical measurement is between 10 to 12 feet wide, with some extending up to 18 feet in width.
Let’s look at the different sizes and types of garden gates in more detail, and outline some instructions for fitting both a wooden and metal garden gate.
What is a Garden Gate? (How Are They Defined?)
The garden gate is like the doorway into your home, except it leads in and out of your yard. Shutting the gate allows your outdoor space to become a safe, enclosed environment. If you have kids and pets who like being outdoors, it’s essential to be able to keep them safely inside the yard.
A locked garden gate can also act as a deterrent to would-be thieves, giving them another obstacle to get through. This also provides more security for anything kept outside, from patio lanterns to your car.
They also look really nice! A gate finishes off your home’s boundary beautifully. Imagine how strange a simple gap in the fence would look. Gates can also look really welcoming (OK, maybe less so if you have ten feet tall metal gates with an intercom).
It’s another way of adding personality to your yard and home, whether you go for an antique cast iron design or paint a wooden gate your favorite color.
Are Garden Gates All The Same Size?
Garden gates aren’t all the same size, and there’s a greater variation than there is with house doors. When it comes to pedestrian gates (the standard front or back gates that lead to your home), most are between 32 and 36 inches across.
This seems pretty small; however garden gates are mostly for letting people in and out, and we don’t really need much space. Just make sure you can fit everyday things like strollers, wheelchairs, trash cans, and wheelbarrows through the gateway.
What about height? Again, there isn’t a standard size, but broadly speaking, pedestrian gates are about four feet high. This depends on the height of the garden fence, wall or hedge, as it looks better if they match up. For security and privacy reasons, you may want your gate and fence to go up to 6 feet high.
Driveway gates are wider, as they have to accommodate vehicles. The typical driveway gate is 10 or 12 feet wide, although some go up to 18 feet. However, we’re focusing on the smaller garden gate in this article.
How Do You Measure a Garden Gate?
If you need a new garden gate, you’ll have to find one that’s the right size: you don’t want to have to cut down your new gate or have to move the gate posts. There’s a special way to measure a garden gate, and it’s not quite as simple as laying a tape measure on the ground between the two gate posts (sorry).
You’ll need a tape measure and a pen and paper to record your measurements (you’ll be taking a few).
- You’ll need three width measurements. Start by measuring the width of the gap towards the top of the space (aligned with the top of the fence). Record the measurement.
- Then, take the same measurement but lower down, close to the middle of the space. Record this.
- Repeat at ground level and record this measurement too.
- No doubt, all three measurements are slightly different (which is why we do it like this). Which is the shortest measure? We’ll use this.
- Subtract four inches from the shortest measurement. This allows space for hinges and for the gate to actually open and close. This is your width measurement. (Example: top 59 inches, middle 58’5 inches, bottom 58 inches. Your final measure is 54 inches.)
- For height, measure up to the fence or wall level for the most aesthetic look.
- Subtract two inches from this measurement to allow for ground clearance.
Still have your old gate? Measure that!
You can now shop for your new garden gate. They’re not difficult to buy, and you can even order them from Amazon, or pick one up from Home Depot or Lowe’s. You might also choose to have a gate made specifically for your garden: a good idea if your gate is unusually tall, or maybe wider than average.
How Do You Fit a Wooden Garden Gate?
If you enjoy a bit of yard DIY, it’s straightforward to fit your own wooden garden gate. It’s a two-stage process: first fit the hinges and then fit the gate.
We’re talking standard, T-strap hinges here, which are easy to buy and instal. You’ll need a utility table or saw horses, a cordless drill, a level, measuring tape, and blocks of wood that are 2 inches deep.
- First, the hinges. Lay the gate on the table. Which way do you want your gate to open? The hinges go on the right if the left side swings open and on the left if the right side swings open.
- Measure the gate and mark where you want the hinges to go. Put the hinges in position then pre-drill pilot holes.
- Screw in the screws for both top and bottom hinges.
- Now it’s time to hang the gate. Take it to the gap, and raise it off the ground by standing it on the two wedges, one at either side. Make sure it’s level or your gate won’t hang straight.
- You’ll also need to wedge the gate at its sides. We allowed about two inches each side when we were measuring the gate earlier, so again, 2 inch wedges at either side of the gate (top and bottom) will hold it in the right position. Again, check the gate is level.
- Happy with this? Now it’s time to slide the hinge plate into position on the gate posts. Start with the bottom hinge. Pre-drill the holes, then screw in the screws.
- Repeat for the top hinge.
- Remove all the wedges, check that the gate is still level, then test it by opening and closing it.
You’ll also need to choose and instal any latches, locks or handles, but that’s a job that can be done once the gate is fitted.
How Do You Fit a Metal Garden Gate?
Fitting a metal gate is a slightly different process to fitting a wooden gate, but can still be done by the experienced DIYer. You’ll need a cordless drill, a level, measuring tape, a pencil, and a ratchet.
We’re using J bolt gate hinges for this guide, and you can easily buy J bolt kits at hardware stores. Unlike the wooden gate, hanging a metal gate is all done on location in your gateway.
We’re assuming that you have a wooden gate post. If it hasn’t supported a metal gate before, you will have to make sure that it will take the extra weight. If you have very slim, elderly, or lightweight gate posts, you may need to pause and rethink before hanging a metal garden gate.
- Do you want your gate to swing inwards or outwards? We’re going for outwards, so the J bolt needs to be facing down (vice versa for an inwards swing).
- As with a wooden gate, make sure it stays in position by standing it on 2 inch deep blocks.
- Measure and mark where you want the hinges. Then measure an inch in from the front edge of the gate post and make a mark. (It might be easier to remove the gate for this stage.)
- Using a half inch wood bit, drill the holes in the gateposts for the hinges.
- Screw the J bolts into the holes. Start with the bottom.
- Attach the frame collar section of the bolt to the gate, lining them up with the J bolts.
- Tighten them, first by hand and then with a ratchet.
- Take away the wooden support block and check the gate is level. If it isn’t, you can adjust the fittings until it is. Give it a swing to make sure it’s opening and closing correctly.
You can now choose a latch and fit that in situ. This short film shows you how to hang a gate and fit the latch.
Although garden gates come in all shapes and sizes, the most common size for a pedestrian one is between 32 and 36 inches across.
For driveway vehicle gates, the most common measurement is between 10 to 12 feet wide, with some extending up to 18 feet in width.
As you can see from the instructions above, fitting your wood or metal pedestrian garden gate is relatively straightforward provided you have the right tools and a bit of spare time.
It also makes a good project if you want to get some time away from your husband/wife/partner and/or the kids!