Tag Archives: garden gates

Assessing PVC Garden Gates

Several people have expressed interest lately in my PVC garden gates. I built mine several years ago and thought an update on them was in order and would answer questions people have about them.

The Missouri Ozarks is a wet place with around 40 inches of rain a year. For years I built wood frames and tacked on wire for my garden gates. They lasted two years.

Disgusted with building new gates every year or two, I decided to try something different: PVC garden gates. They do take time to construct, but the steps are simple and found some previous posts. Building. Hanging.

(Some of the pictures aren’t there. Annoying. Websites seem to have minds of their own at times and evidently thought these posts were too old. I will try to redo them over the weekend.)

PVC garden gates
The metal pole is one the road department replaced as someone ran over the street signs. I drilled holes in it to put the gate hinge bolt through. The chickens come up to look through into the garden, but haven’t been able to open the gate to get through. I usually don’t latch it closed. PVC garden gates work really well. After years of use, this one is a bit dirty and still serviceable.

As I built the gates, I found I made a few mistakes. The major one was not having a hard, level surface to work on.

My working area was out under a black walnut tree where the ground appeared to be level. It wasn’t. A couple of my gates have definite bends in them. These weren’t a problem except for looks.

The second was because I lacked a third metal pole to use for hanging one gate. I had to replace the wood post this year although the original really rotted off last year and I cobbled a support up that gave way this year.

PVC gate
This is my tallest PVC gate. Some algae is colonizing the cross bar. The gate is still fine. The wire around the pipes is my whipstitching holding the wire on. When I have chicks, I use the two rubber straps, one bottom and one top. The cement blocks block a chick escape route.

A mistake I didn’t make was using too light weight pipes. I used heavy walled two inch diameter pipes. This is an excellent size resulting in sturdy gates that are easy to handle.

In all I built four gates: three PVC garden gates and one for the chick yard. This last was six feet tall with a single cross bar like the garden gates. It works fine.

After several years the gates remain as solid and sturdy as when I made them. They swing easily on the gate hinges. I use them a lot, but see no wear on them. There is a bit of algae trying to grow on a couple. Lichens will follow no doubt.

Latching them is still a bit of a challenge. This is when the bent gates are a problem. I use the rubber straps with hooks on both ends. They work.

Do I recommend PVC garden gates? Yes. I wish I had built them years before I did.

New Garden Gates

My garden gates are important for my garden’s defenses against marauding chickens, skunks, possums, turtles and other uninvited diners. Until now they were clumsy affairs out of leftover wood and wire.

The Ozarks is a humid place. Wood rots quickly when wet or damp for long periods of time. Every two or three years I would rummage through the wood piles in search of usable pieces to rebuild the gates.

The marauders are getting more serious. Old wire and rotten wood don’t keep these garden invaders at bay lately. The new gates had to be more serious affairs.

Besides, I was tired of building gates so often.

PVC gate pieces

Each of the new gates has seven pieces of PVC pipe. Three crosspieces are the same length. The other four can be the same length or two pairs of the same length to build the uprights.

When we moved here, we brought lots of supplies with us thinking we would need them. A pile of PVC pipe has sat unused waiting for a purpose.

PVC does not rot. It is rigid. It is strong. It is light weight. I decided to use a few of these PVC pipes for my new garden gates.

There is one problem. I’ve never worked with PVC pipe before. How hard can it be?

Problem 1: Measuring the new gates. Each of the three garden gates is a different size. Since each gate would have three crossbars fitted into PVC joints plus a two piece upright on each end, measuring was a bit haphazard.

PVC pipe and joint pieces laid out

Each PVC piece is laid out with the joints to show how they will go together to build the gates. Next the pieces are glued into the joints.

The two upright pieces had to total the same length. Each two piece side was the same as the other. Each crossbar was the same length.

Cutting them was easy. A table saw or handsaw works just fine.

Problem 2: Gluing the pieces together. The instructions and cautions on a can of PVC glue are daunting. At least ventilation was not a problem as I was working out under a black walnut tree.

The weather delayed gluing. Temperatures dropped into the sixties for highs and I needed seventies. Showers kept the ground moist and I needed dry. But the day arrived.

First I laid out the PVC pipe pieces. Then the joints were put out. The directions do say to check how everything fit together and I had done that earlier in the barn where everything but the glue was stored waiting. Unglued multi-piece gates tend to fall apart easily.

The glue is remarkably easy to use. It has its own applicator to swab a strip around the inside of the joint then around the pipe. Stick the piece in the joint firmly and the glue takes over.

PVC gate frame

A finished PVC gate frame is assembled but the glue must dry and set for a time before wire can be attached.

Problem 3: Gluing flat gates on hilly ground. I didn’t solve this one. My gates are a bit bent in the middle. Each does have one straight side for the hinges.

Problem 4: Adding the wire. My old pieces are not big enough. The new gates are bigger than my old ones. Luckily there is some leftover welded wire from rebuilding the chicken yard.

Unfortunately rain moved back in. My gate frames are stored in the barn waiting.