All things Gates! How to Fit Gates

How to Fit a Back Gate or Garden Gate

Need to know how to fit a back gate in wood? Follow this guide to show you how. It’s a relatively simple job that most competent DIY enthusiasts can do themselves.

To start, ensure the post or pillar you are mounting the gate on is up to the job. If the post is suffering from rot then it’s best to replace it. The gate should be treated or painted prior to fitting. If you would like to learn how to professionally paint a gate, see our “How to Guide“.

Gate Bracing Position

On the rear of the gate you will see structural bracing. This supports the weight of the gate and is crucial (on diagonal braced gates) that the hinges are placed on the correct side. For gates with “V” or upside down “V” bracing, either side is fine.

Showing bracing to ensure correct hinge placement.

This image is showing the structural bracing on a wood back gate. It is important to hang the gate with the bracing starting at the corner and running up towards the top. If you were fitting a garden gate, generally you would only have one diagonal brace but the same direction of the brace applies.


We recommend heavy duty tee hinges for your gate. For side and back gates (over 5ft in height) 18″ tee hinges, for garden gates, 14″ tee hinges. Some will use standard door hinges you find inside the home. This is OK as long as it with-holds the gate weight. Usually this way 3 hinges would be needed whereas with tee hinges two are suitable.


  • Pencil
  • Spacers or timber (approx 25mm or 1″ in height)
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level or plumb line
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver/ cordless screwdriver
  • Hacksaw (if adjustment needs doing on closing latch)

Instructions on how to fit a back gate or garden gate

  • To start, ensure the wooden gate structure is sound. Check that the mounting post/ pillar is level (by using a spirit level or plumb line).
  • Position the tee hinges on the gate and mark the holes. This should be on the top and bottom horizontal brace. Remove hinge and drill pilot holes. Place the hinge back on the gate and screw in.
Gate showing position of tee hinges on mounting post
Tee hinges fitted to a back gate prior to fitting on mounting post.
  • Place the gate between the opening to ensure it fits. Ideally you should have a gap of 10mm each side to allow the gate to open and close. This can be up to 20mm but shouldn’t be any lower than 10mm.
  • The gap between ground level and base of gate should be approx 25mm or 1 ” ( increased if ground inclines). Using timber (or spacers) place the gate on top of timber/ spacer and level.
Example of gate sat on timber or spacer
Place gate on timber or spacers to achieve required level ground clearance.
  • Next, mark the position where the tee hinge will sit on the mounting post (both top and bottom). Ensure the edge of the gate is vertically level with the post either by measuring the gap clearance (top and bottom) or using a spirit level.
Fit tee hinge on gate post
Mark the position of the hinge on post.
  • Remove gate from opening and drill pilot holes. With two people, re position the gate and screw to mounting post. At this stage, two screws per hinge is fine so that you can check the clearance and ensure the gate swings open and closed freely. Once you are pleased with the gate position, fix the remaining screws in place and tighten.
  • Opening latch or ring latch. Generally speaking a garden gate will have an opening latch where a back or side gate will have a ring latch.
Gate opening latch and gate ring latch.
Opening Latch for Garden Gates (left) | Ring Latch for Back Gates (right)
  • Position of the latch is really up to the individual but we would advise a back gate to be placed on the central brace and a garden gate to be placed on the top brace.
Position of opening latch on wooden gates.
Garden Gate compared to Back Gate
  • Opening Latch: (Garden gates). Comes in two pieces. One bar and a finger latch. The bar is to be placed on the gate with the latch on the post/ pillar. Position bar on gate, mark holes, remove and drill pilot holes. Screw bar to gate. (For a better looking finish, centralise the bar to the centre of where the brace would be.)
Opening latch bar position.
  • With the gate in the closed position, put the latch to where the bar catches. Mark holes, remove and drill pilot holes. Screw in and check it secures when closed and opens easily. If catching, adjust latch.

  • Ring Latch: (Back gates). Comes in five pieces. Ring latch with rectangle bar goes, single ring latch, two bar catches and the stainless steel bar joining in between. When looking at the rear of the gate, if the gate open inwards the ring latch with the rectangle bar will be inside. If looking from the front of the gate, the gate opens towards you, the ring latch with bar will be on the front.

Black gate ring latch

  • Position ring latch on centre brace allowing the rectangle bar to protrude approx 50mm from gate edge (as shown below).

Ring latch on wooden gate

  • Mark holes, remove and drill pilot holes. Calculate the position for the stainless steel bar and mark (centre of marked screws). This is to connect the two ring latches together (so each side of the gate). Carefully drill a pilot hole through the gate. Measure the thickness of the stainless steel bar and pick a wood drill bit slightly larger so that the bar can turn fully.
  • Place stainless steel bar through the whole and screw ring latch in. Put rectangle bar catch on, mark then drill pilot holes and fix. For looks, centre the catch to the centre of the horizontal gate leg.
Ring latch on wood gate.
Showing position of rectangle bar catch.
  • Other side of gate, place ring latch on bar and mark holes, remove, pilot drill and fix. Check that the latch now opens from both sides.
  • Close the gate. Position the catch (to hold the rectangle bar) on the post. Mark holes, remove, drill pilot holes and fix. Check that the gate opens and holds closed.
Closing latch on gate post.
Closing catch on post.

That’s it! Your new back gate or garden gate should be fitted!

See examples of our Garden Gates or Back Gates.

Want to learn how to paint or stain your new fitted gate? See our “How to Paint a Gate Guide

By Gates and Fences UK



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