A Single-Swing 13.5 foot Wooden Driveway Gate: Can It Be Done?

Yes, it can be done. It wasn’t even all that difficult to make. But it had me worried. I was concerned about the post, the hinges, and the gate itself. I hadn’t constructed a 13.5-foot single-swing wooden driveway gate before.IMG_2591

Our wooden driveway gate, made from redwood, most of it reclaimed from a dock that had been removed, spans 163 inches, or approximately 13 1/2 feet, or approximately 4.14 meters.

In the event that perhaps you might want to do something similar, here’s a brief rundown of how we built this gate.

Build the frame

I used 2×6 redwood boards to construct a nice sturdy frame. You have a lot of options for how you make your frame, and maybe some of those options would result in a sturdier and more lightweight frame than the one I have. Diagonal cross-bracing, for example, might be a nice choice.

One key element to my frame: Note how the top and bottom have a board running along horizontally, resulting in an L-shape. Those two boards do a lot of work to prevent the frame from sagging under its own weight, kind of like how a metal I-beam works to prevent torsion.

Dig the hole, set the post

I dug a 6 foot hole with a post hole digger. Interestingly, the first 18″ was the most difficult. Beyond that, it was fairly steady going, even when the hole was deeper than the post hole diggers.

I dropped a 10′ 6″x6″ douglas fir post down into the hole and, after making sure it was level, poured concrete around it. The concrete cured for a few days before we mounted the gate. It’s wood, and it’s in the ground, so someday the post will rot. I didn’t use pressure-treated wood because I do not like toxins, and someday even pressure-treated wood rots. A stout metal pole would be an excellent choice.

Mount frame to hinges and attach lath

We put the frame in place by sitting it on blocks. I made sure the gate was level and square. And then I installed the hinges.IMG_1810 IMG_1808

A good hinge is of obvious importance. I got the heaviest duty hinges that I could find.  The more hinges, the better. I was planning on getting five, but they only had three at the store. (I will go back later and pick up two more.) It works fine with three, but five will be far superior. When I mount the other two hinges, I will prop up the gate so that it’s in exactly the same position as when I installed these three hinges. Five hinges will result in a truly superb gate very resistant to sagging.IMG_1813

Look at that lovely gate.

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