×
×

Build a Sun-Themed Garden Gate

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

You may already have a fairly robust and critter-proof gate for your garden fence. That’s great for protecting the garden, but utility gates aren’t necessarily decorative. Happily, you can add an accent gate inside the garden that’s a little more attractive and unique. This sun-themed gate is designed with this purpose in mind. It won’t keep critters out of the garden, but it’ll be a fun way to dress up your plot’s interior.

Although it looks complex, the sun gate isn’t difficult to construct. Some careful work and a few slightly advanced carpentry skills are all that’s required to build this for your own outdoor space.

Tools and Materials

  • Pencil
  • Compass (for marking rounded lines)
  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Power sander
  • Wood glue
  • Pipe clamp
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bit with countersink
  • Tape measure
  • Triangle square
  • Framing square
  • 11⁄2-inch exterior screws
  • 3-inch exterior screws
  • 5-inch exterior screws
  • 3-inch hinges (2)
  • 3-inch gate handle
  • Hook-and-eye latch
  • Gate spring, optional
  • Scrap plywood
  • 1x8s, see Cut List
  • 2x4s, see Cut List
  • Paint, optional

Cut List

  • 1x8s, 14-1/2 inches long  (2)
  • 2x4s, 36 inches long  (4)
  • 1-1/2x2s ripped from 2x4s,  7 1/8-inches long (4)
  • 1-1/2x2s ripped from 2x4s,  13 inches long (4)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

1. Mark the sun outline. The round sun in the center of the gate is made up of two arches screwed together. Each arch is made from a curved 2-inch-wide section that’s been cut from a 14 1/2-inch 1×8. Using a compass, draw two identical 2-inch-wide arches on the 1×8, as shown in the photo.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

2. Cut out the sun. Using a jigsaw, slowly and carefully cut out the two arches. Set these pieces aside. They’ll be joined together in Step 5 to form the circular portion of the sun design on the finished gate.

 

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

3. Prepare the lumber. Miter the ends of each of the four 36-inch 2x4s. Rip the sunbeams: These are made from 2x4s that have been ripped to 2 inches, giving a final dimension of 1 1/2 x 2 inches; note that the wider, 2-inch face will be used as the front.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

4. Sand the edges. Use a power sander to sand down the edges on all of your cut lumber pieces to give the finished project a professional feel.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

5. Glue and clamp the sun circle. Next, you’ll combine the two arches into a single sun circle. Apply some wood glue to the ends of the 2 arches, and connect them to form the circle. Use a pipe clamp to hold the two pieces tightly in place.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

6. Fasten the sun circle. With the clamp firmly holding the two arches together, use an electric drill and a drill bit with a countersink to pre-drill holes for the screws; this will help prevent the screws from twisting the lumber as they tighten. Fasten the pair of arches into a circle with
1-1/2-inch screws.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

7. Build the gate frame. The frame of the sun gate is formed by combining the four 36-inch 2x4s with mitered edges into a square. Using a framing square to help you achieve precise corner angles, use wood glue and 5-inch screws to construct the frame. Sand the joints as needed for a better fit.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

8. Mark the gate’s outline. To aid in construction, mark out the gate’s components — particularly the location of the sun circle — onto a large piece of scrap plywood.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

9. Miter the edges of the sunbeams. Using a miter saw, miter one end of each of the four 13-inch sunbeam pieces so they’ll fit into the corners of the frame properly. (The shorter 7 1/8-inch pieces don’t need to be mitered).

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

10. Lay out the gate. Take up all of the sunbeam pieces and lay them out on top of the marked-up scrap plywood. Note that the sunbeam pieces are a little bit longer than they should be.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

11. Mark and cut the rounded edges. Place the sun circle above its intended location and on top of all the sunbeams. In this way, you can use a pencil to mark exactly the curve required on the ends of each sunbeam to make them fit properly.

 

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

12. Cut and fit sunbeams. Use a jigsaw to cut all of the rounded ends of the sunbeam pieces. These are the ends that fit against the sun circle.

 

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

13: Fasten the sunbeams and sun circle. Use your drill bit with countersink to pre-drill the needed holes, and then use wood glue and 3- or 5-inch screws to fasten the sun circle, the sunbeams, and the gate frame to each other.

Photo by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo

14. Attach gate hardware. Paint your gate if you’d like, or leave it natural. Attach the 3-inch hinges to the gate, set in about 6 inches from the edge. Attach the handle, spring (if used), and hook-and-eye latch. Install the finished gate in your preferred location and enjoy its beauty.


Samantha Johnson and Daniel Johnson are a sister-and-brother team of farmers and poultry enthusiasts. This DIY project is excerpted from their book Garden DIY(Fox Chapel Publishing).

Published on May 27, 2020

Mother Earth Gardener

Expert advice on all aspects of growing.