How a Girl Built a Gate

How to build a gate with a decorative window by Confessions of a Serial Do-it-YourselferIt’s true! I built our gate all by myself.  I’ve been asked several questions about my gate, so I thought I would share how I made it.

My husband and I had just finished building the fence. (I give him credit for all the labor-intensive work there. I just held fence pickets.)  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the gate built before our weekend was over.

My husband is very busy with work during the summer and I was growing a bit impatient. I really wanted to get going on our gate. We were just starting our backyard landscaping and I needed to be able to contain our very busy little boy.

So…I built it myself!

Here she is:

Gate with window

Aint she perty??  It’s cedar to match our fence. I have to warn you, though that it’s not done. The posts on either side look like two goal posts. We still need to finish the top. We haven’t quite figured out what we want to do yet.  This post is just to give details about the actual gate. I’ve included affiliate links to help you find some of the products I used.

Here is it from the other side:


Do you love the window detail as much as I do??  I knew I wanted to do something different to make our gate unique.

Nuvo Iron metal gate insert

I actually considered using a metal doormat as an insert, but I decided to go searching online and found this.  It’s made by Nuvo Iron. Their site does not sell them, but you can find this one on Amazon HERE.

First I had to figure out how to work around the window.

To start, I built my rectangular frame using three pieces of 2×4 and 1 piece of 2×6 for the bottom:


Don’t worry about the diagonal pieces, yet. Cut your outer frame and the single 2 x 4 that runs across the center. These are the dimensions I used:


Your measurements may vary. These worked for our situation.

Then while they were on flat, even ground, I screwed them together using  3″ Star Drive Screws.  The star shape of the head makes them easier to drive into the wood.

I screwed them in diagonally from the top and the underside:


You could also use a Kreg jig if you happen to have one It’s an awesome tool that you use with your drill to create pocket holes in which to insert your screw, perfect for attaching wood at 90° angles.

I just screwed them in on the diagonal into the four corners and the piece across the middle.

Then I laid out my 1 x 6 pickets leaving about ¼” between each. I had to trim two of them (marked with an “X”) to make them fit the width of the opening:


You probably didn’t even notice until I pointed it out that those two pickets were narrower.

My pickets were a few inches shorter than I wanted.

I wanted to round the top of my gate, but I also wanted it to sit above the top of the fence. To do this, I had to figure out a way to add height.

I attached my pickets (using the same style screws in 1 5/8″ length) so that they sat at the height I wanted them to be before cutting the arched top. This left them short at the bottom by a few inches. This is the reason for the 2 x 6 across the bottom. It would give me a couple more inches.

To fix the front, I cut a scrap picket to fill in the gap across the bottom, then covered it with a picket, cut to fit the width of the gate. Problem solved!




After all pickets were screwed in place and I figured out how to remedy the height issue, I added my diagonal braces to the back. I measured, cut, and screwed them into place. Here are my measurements. You should measure to be accurate. **Note that the gate was built while flat on the ground. (I only have upright pics to share.)


These were a bit easier to screw in place:


Now for the arched top.

To create the perfect arch, you will need:

  • two screws
  • a piece of very thin, flexible wood such as a narrow piece of wood trim or lattice
  • pencil
  • jigsaw
  1. Attach screws on either side where you want your arch to start and end.
  2. Lay wood piece flat against the bottom of the two screws.
  3. Slowly push it up in between the screws to form an arch.
  4. Use a pencil to trace along the wood, transferring the arch shape onto the top of your gate.
  5. Cut with a jigsaw.

The perfect arch:


Then a jigsaw was used to cut the opening for the window. (The window comes with a pattern. ) It’s made up of two pieces; a piece that inserts into the opening in the front and a framed piece that attaches to the back with four screws. It measures 15″ X 24″.


It really adds so much character.  Plus I can see any activity that’s going on on the other side without opening the gate.


You can see my lovelies are all coming back to life and my azalea is starting to bloom!

To see more of what’s on the other side, click here!

My husband arrived just in time to add the hardware.


After the cedar had time to dry out a bit, about six weeks, I sealed it with a UV blocking sealer. We wanted to enjoy the natural beauty for a long time.  I would recommend sealing both sides as you may have warping if you don’t.

You may also have noticed that a black stain from the hardware has bled on the front of the gate. I believe this is from the sealer. So you may want to go easy around your hardware.


And that’s the story of how a girl built a gate! How did I do? I’d say, not too shabby 🙂

Still looking great two years later:

DIY Gate with Window from Nuvo Iron. Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer






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  1. Christy, I am totally impressed! That gate looks absolutely fantastic and the window detail is gorgeous!! Definitely pinning this and thanks for sharing – have a wonderful week!

    • I’m so glad you like it, Cindy! I have a crush on the window myself:)

      • Kristina says

        Where on earth did you find this adroable iron window. I am absolutely doing this in my back yard this weekend if i can find a window like this. I am obssesed with this look! So talented 🙂

  2. that is one perty gate! I love the window detail- take that men!

  3. That is gorgeous! You did an outstanding job!

  4. you did great! I love to build…but I am not a professional either

  5. I LOVE it and I’m hugely impressed! You go! 😉 and that little “window” detail is fabulous. I absolutely LOVE it. I’m so glad you shared it on the Project Inspire{d} party!:)

  6. You did a spectacular job on this and it looks amazing with the pretty decorative window! I bet your hubby is proud of you. 😉

    • Thanks, Beth! Honestly, I don’t think I surprise him anymore…he’s more like, “why didn’t you wait for me, I would have done that!” He really is a great help to me when I need him:)

  7. What a charming gate! I love the detail you put into it, this is beautiful.

  8. Bravo! You go, Girl! Love it, pinned it.

    Thanks so much for linking up at the party,
    <3 Christina @ I Gotta Create!

  9. That is amazing! People are always shocked at what I accomplish but I don’t even think I’d attempt something like this. You are a legit DIY’er!


  10. I am beyond impressed that you built this! It is just beautiful, too! Hope you are enjoying it! Thanks for sharing at Monday Funday!

    Take care,


  11. Christy, I LOVE this so much I’ve picked you as my feature tonight from last week’s Project Inspire{d} link party! Thanks so much for sharing it!! It’s fabulous!

  12. Love the insert! I AM a professional and I think you did a great job!

  13. What a beautiful gate! So glad I saw this featured over at Artsy Chicks Rule.

  14. Such a beautiful gate – thanks so much for sharing at Monday Funday – I will be sharing on my Facebook page this week! Take care, Laura

  15. That is totally gorgeous! I’d say you did a fabulous job. 🙂
    Love the insert!

  16. How awesome are YOU? This looks fabulous, Christy. Inspires me to tackle these kind of projects on my own!

    • Thanks, Kristi! Projects like this are usually left up to the men because of the weight and size. Actually though, it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined it would be! I think I surprised myself!! Thanks for stopping by to check it out:)

  17. Visiting from Monday Funday. I’d like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend at And who knows, you may just get featured next week.


  18. I NEED to do something like this! Thanks for the how-to. I’m not a professional either, which makes your tutorial perfect for me!

  19. Wow! You did an awesome job! I really like your design. I’m pinning to share, and I hope to make one similar to it too! Little Bit

  20. This gate is fantastic- will be doing something similar. Thanks for the inspiration. Love the site!!!!!

  21. I LOVE your gate! Thank you for the detailed how-to photos and board measurements! I already have the perfect iron window to put into my future gate ~ I just needed the inspiration and most important – Measurements already figured out for me!
    We all ready have all our fence materials but hubby hasn’t had time to put up our fence yet. I’m going to build the gate and the Fence Can Be Built To Fit My Gate!! =o)
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!


  23. Ok I will break down, I do not swear on comments FB but …Damn girl you rocked this,seriously,great job. Your hug had to say thanks hun and great work…now I need to look around more…see I don’t post a lot about my house…a lil here and their but not much….the old private me comes out…but what I do to sell yes…I love looking at what others are doing. Your sweet comment…plus now I have another email that will say yippee!a new post…happy Blogging

  24. Awesome work. How can you say you are not a professional? Girl you got skills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Love the window. I am a DIY girl too. Love to travel and experience others work. Came across this- fell in love.

  25. I love it! It is so pretty! I never thought of putting an insert like that into it. I am going to show my husband that. It would be a way of connecting the backyard with the front yard. Make the backyard less isolated.

    • Yes, Teresa…it really does connect the spaces! My little one makes a beeline for the gate anytime I open it, so it’s nice that I can look through without having to open it!

  26. That is gorgeous! Thank you for including the link for the window as well. They have some really good prices for stuff on there. I’ll have to keep them in mind when we do our fence. We’re still 9 panels short of being able to put ours up. My husband is getting the ones that the home improvement stores deem unsellable and we’re just buying whatever slats we need to repair them ourselves. We got 11 panels for $75. These were originally $49 a panel!! The slats are around $1 each so super affordable.

  27. Looks amazing! I would cut those posts down just above the door and put in Solar lights on the top of the post to accentuate that door all night!

  28. Kathy Grassley says

    Beautifully done! My two suggestions would be: 1) to avoid the extra pieces at the bottom to add the height, could you make your first cut for the window before and gain the extra height by just moving the top part of the boards up? 2) I would recommend sealing the wood before adding the hardware so that no moisture is drawn in behind it. When we built a deck and fence a number of years ago, we stained and sealed all our wood before a single screw was driven…and don’t forget to seal the ends of the boards when you make cuts.

  29. Vonda Wininger says

    Absolutely beautiful, wish I had a place for a gate! And great directions!

  30. Christy, you ARE an inspiration! Thanks. I’m gonna adapt your method to work around a victorian door that I found for our gate. It’s just not wide enough for the lawn equipment to go through, so you’ve provide the means to put the door in the middle & surround with the rest of the gate. THANK YOU!!!

  31. Very nice job and well explained !!!. I know this is a gate discussion but I have a question on the posts …. since u were using 6 foot slats, what size posts did u use ?? Looks like 10 footers (6 by 6s) ? Six feet for the slats, maybe 24 inches buried and then another 24 above the top of the slats ?? tx .. dennis

  32. Robert V says

    Why didn’t you show photo’s of the process? Let me guess. I’m pretty skeptical that you did this yourself or as recently as this weekend. The discoloration and streaking from your rusting hinge screws and horizontal top screws take months to develop and if I can’t trust you about that I can’t trust your blog. No I think you took photos of a nice gate you and are taking credit so you can link back to things your representing like grates, screws and blog hits. I’m more surprised buy the fact that no one called you out on the discrepancy, it’s so obvious people. Be a little less willing to buy into peoples stories because they have pretty Pinteresting photos. Wake up she did not build this gate.

    • Robert, this post was written April 23, 2013, as in LAST year! I didn’t take photos of the process because I built my gate in the Spring of 2012, and didn’t start blogging until November 2012. It’s very poor judgement on your part to accuse people of things unless you are sure you have your facts straight. I author a DIY blog to help others feel empowered to tackle things they might have thought they could never do and yes, I DO ALL MY OWN PROJECTS!! AND for your information, I only started placing ads on my site to earn a small revenue ONE MONTH AGO, so up until then I shared all my fun tips and DIY projects with pleasure for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Okay, now I’m ticked off. And Robert V, I’ll bet my being ticked off is about as important to you as your churlish and unnecessary post is to me. Christy, I completely support your answer and I can’t wait to do my gate. Please ignore unnecessary comments – he clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about & there are people in the world like that. Keep postin’ & doin’!!!

        • You are awesome, Saja! I think he just didn’t realize the post was a year old. I don’t receive many negative comments and I probably should have just deleted it and moved on, but I thought I would leave his nastiness for everyone to see 🙂 My gate is still holding up fabulously and thanks so much for your support! XO XO

          • I love the gate Christy. I have been getting estimates from various contractors for a gate between my front and backyard… you would think I wanted to build the Eiffel tower all over again. lol…. You go!!! Continue to post your awesome projects. I am a believer, I know women are capable of doing the unimaginable….mostly to men though.

            • Thanks, Margo!! I had never undertaken a project like this previously and was so proud that I was able to do it myself lol! I just went for it!! XO

  33. Can you explain that trick for making an arch. Not getting it.

    • Sure, Vicky…I wish I had photos, but I built my gate prior to blogging so I’ll try to explain it a little better. Imagine your gate assembled and lying flat on the ground face up. Mark with a pencil on either side where you want your arch to start. Just above the marks on either side, insert at least a 1 1/2″ screw, but leave 1″ sticking out. Using a flexible piece of wood, like a very thin trim piece or a piece of lattice, line it up under the screws so that when you push it up between the screws, it flexes. It will flex into the shape of an arc. Trace the line of the arc onto your gate. Cut with a jigsaw. Does that make sense? I hope this was more helpful. I’d be glad to answer any more questions!

  34. Robert V says

    I’ve fact checked your other work on Facebook Chrisy and I’m fairly sure you’re for real. Your flower pot and other home photos match the surroundings of the gate (the trees and style of the fence, color of your neighbors house etc) and I’m willing to bet your not good enough to fake the images so the only logical conclusion is that you’re being honest with the maker and pinner community. You also didn’t delete my harsh critique or alter your original post and that says a lot too me.

    Keep this in mind however a lot of “DIY’ers” are posting work they’ve either claimed is there own (easily verified with some photos of yourself doing the project) or implying that they just did it the other day when they’re just recycling old work for their blog (that’s what you did). Skeptics like me are looking and exposing the frauds. Most in the “Skepty community” are not willing to do what I am doing here and confess that I was too quick to judge and you most likely did build that gate yourself.

    Well done, and I do like the work your doing so forgive what I have to say next.

    As an aside I’d like to say that I expect women to be able to do what you did, it shouldn’t be something special that women are empowered to do these things without a mans help. I hope it’s just obvious that while your stenciling piano benches, chalk painting end tables and doing project that make you feel good that women can and should mow the lawn, edge the grass, rake up the clipping take out the trash, organize the shed, clean the pool, blow the leaves and do a hundred other things that they leave to the men. You know the man who works 50 hours a week to pay for your hobbies.

  35. NICE WORK! I absolutely love this gate!!! From the arched top to the iron window to the accent piece on the bottom! You have truly inspired me now! I have a gate that needs some serious help!!! Might just have to make me one of these…

  36. It’s adorable

  37. Betty819 says

    “NEVER ESTIMATE THE POWER OF A WOMAN!” I’m impressed at your building skills and especially your figuring out how to do it all. Love the iron window..that really adds to it plus if somebody comes to your gate, you can look and see who’s there first. I admire both you and your husband for all the landscaping you did plus installing the fence. My DH used to be able to do all of this but now he is not due to health issues. We downsized 9 years ago; it definately was the right thing to do for us. We Thank God for making that decision. No stairs to climb, no lawn to mow in Spring, Summer and Fall,, no snow to shovel in the winter. I wished our Sr. Citizen’s community would allow fences. A fence surrounding the property sure helps making landscape designing easier. Do you all really use the hammock much? Where do all the rocks lead to? What if you had laid down payers instead of those rocks? I’d be afraid somebody would fall on them, turn an ankle walking on them. I think you mentioned that path leads to your hose? Beautiful execution of the entire project. Pat yourselves on the back. Job well done! And think of all the money you saved by doing it yourself. We used to do that. Our next door neighbor and my DH was always doing home improvement projects together. Although there was a 15 yr. age gap, they got along so well together and what one didn’t know how to do, the other did or if neither knew exactly the best way to do something, they both had enough knowledge and skills to figure it out.

    • Thanks for your sweet words. We use the hammock all the time and the rocks do lead to the hose. Our entire back yard was once covered in them, and this was one way we could reuse some of them. 🙂

  38. *Cuckoo, not coo coo.

  39. I think you did an amazing job. And for the posts, you can always get a couple of those solar light post tops to put up there….that would be a nice touch. Keep up the good work!

  40. jacy park says

    I built these!! I couldn’t afford the picture window so I framed a hole and hung a wrought – iron trivet in the window. I get a lot of compliments! Thank you!

    • What a smart idea!! I was originally going to use a metal door mat until I found the inserts I used, but your idea is fabulous! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  41. i loved reading about your gate as much as looking at it!
    You have a wonderful sense of “flow” when you write. The gate and the story are freakin Awesome !

  42. Carol Loucks says

    I am so very impressed with your skill! Looks so great!

  43. I like it.
    But can I ask what you used to saw your 2×4’s ?
    When I’ve tried things like this before, I’ve used a handsaw which doesn’t make the straightest of cuts, and then my whole frame becomes twisted 🙁

  44. Absolutely love your gate. I’ve seen it many times pop up on my Pinterest feed and I have to click on it every time. i really want to make this but had a question. How is the gate doing so far? Did it warp at all? I’d love to try this but am so worried about it warping.

  45. Having done this professionally for a few summers I will say that that is as good of a job as any Ive seen or done. Normally your conventional fence companies will not even consider the finer details of the decorations. I would say that if you understand the why then you can do anything! Happy DIYing!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment, Kaelin! I really appreciate your feedback! When I was planning the build for this, I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted it to be pretty. I’m so glad it came out so well…and sturdy! 🙂

  46. This gate is so beautiful. We just bought or first home and this is exactly the gate I would love to have in my yard. About how much do you think it cost in rough material to make this?

    • Thanks so much, Brittni! It’s been a few years now so the cost is not fresh in my mind. I don’t think it could have been more than a couple hundred dollars. I can tell you that it has held up perfectly! 🙂

  47. Love Love Love this gate and you did such an amazing job !! We are building a fence & 2 gates in our yard right now and spotted this post. One gate is already built but after seeing your gate I have told my hubby he has to start over and follow your design !

    Thanks as well for the source link for the iron insert – placed my order tonight 🙂 Can’t wait to see this in my yard – thanks for the inspiration.

  48. That is awesome! Thanks girlfriend for the inspiration..I was looking for a gate for our new’s perfect!

  49. Looks good, and I do like the window also. How long did it take to start sagging? Is there anything you would do different now?

  50. BillAtkinson says

    Hello Christy. I took your gate and made one for our new fence. The rain and wind had taken out 2 large sections of our fence along with our gate. My neighbor and I rebuilt the fence better than it was before it fell. not sure what the installer was thinking on the prior fence!!!!!
    But anyways, I took your fence pictures and ideas and built us an awesome gate along with the arch like you have. The frame is basically the same, but I used the 2×4’s the long way. Not sure if it matters. Our opening is 46″ wide and the gate stand 6′ at the center of the arch. not sure how to attach picture of it here.

  51. thank you

  52. It shows that you know your way around a saw and a great idea. I would just like to comment on 2 things. I am not trying to take anything away from you on a job well done. I would think about using another piece of wood to top off the curve. They have a tendency to warp when not supported. Could use a 2 by 6 and match the curve. One last observance…really would have considered reversing your diagonal 45’s up top for the bottom. Again, not trying to take anything away from the great job you did.

    • Thanks Mickey, and I appreciate your thoughts on how the design could be improved! Luckily after four years, nothing has warped, but definitely something to consider!

  53. Man, the gate you built here is really stunning. I love the black window thing that you found. That really completes the look of the gate. I don’t know if I would be able to build one myself, but we do need a gate on the side of our house, so thanks for the inspiration!

  54. OMG can I just hire you to come to my house and do this for me. I absolutely love this. I am not a very outdoorsy type person but this, this I am certain would change that. My back yard and side yard are so lacking that I can’t even stand going out there.

    Thank you for sharing and I will be certainly printing this out as an inspiration on getting my yard looking better.

    • I’m so glad you like it, Trina! It’s a amazing what a pretty gate will do for an outdoor space! XO

  55. Christy, your instructions and illustrations are great, I feel like I could do this!

    • Awesome, Sandy thank you! Although this was a large project, it wasn’t too difficult at all! XO


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