How to hang a garden gate

There are three main ways in which a gate can be hung from timber gateposts. The method depends on the types of fitting used.

Ways to hang a gate


Flush between posts

gate posts

The gate is hung between the posts, with the back of the gate flush with the back of the posts. The gate opens one way only.

The clearance for fittings on each side of the gate needs to be about 5mm.


Centred on posts

gate posts

The gate is hung between posts, with the width centred on the gatepost. This method is common with wrought-iron gates, which usually hook onto a pin, and with double-strap hinges on timber gates.

The gate will swing both ways unless there is a stop on the fastener. Depending on the type of catch, the clearance on the hinge side may need to be as much as 100mm, and on the catch side about 55mm.


Hung behind posts

gate posts

The gate is hung on the back of the posts with an overlap of 15-25mm on each side. This method can be used for a pair of gates, or a wide single gate, hung with a standard hanging set.

The gates can swing inwards only, and slam shut against a post. The types of fastener that can be used are limited.


Checking the design

wooden gate

Although some gates look the same from both sides, many have a supporting framework at the back. These types of gate should always be hung with their back on the inside. Gates are often also designed for either right or left hanging. The hanging stile may be wider than the slam or swinging stile, to give a strong fixing for the hinges.

Wooden gates should be braced—by fixing a diagonal strut between the top and bottom rails of the frame—or they will sag over time. Where there is only one diagonal brace, the gate must be hung with the top of the brace on the closing side and the bottom of the brace on the hanging side.

You can follow this convention when working out whether a gate is designed to be hung on the right or left. Double gates must be a matched pair, designed for left and right hanging.

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Fitting the gate 

1. If you can, buy a gate that is exactly the same width as the old one

holding the gate

Fix the hinges to the back of the new gate before you fit it. Wedge the replacement gate between the existing posts, raising it off the ground with a couple of offcuts of wood.


2. Check that the clearances are equal on both sides of the gate 

screwing the hinges

Then mark the position of the hinges on the post. Screw the hinges to the post.


3. Hold the latch bar horizontal 

gate latch hook

Then screw the latch hook to the gate post and the latch.


4. Remove the wedges that are holding the gate in position 

finished gate

Then check that it swings freely and that the latch works smoothly. Adjust the positioning if necessary.


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