If there was one challenge that topped the list in the One Tail House (that is, besides time), it was the 9′ expanse that separated the entryway from the Adoption Room. Their goal was fairly simple on paper: An inoffensive gate that they could collapse out of the way for an open flow at events, but could contain beefier dogs (read: the likes of Jack and CC, if needed) from jumping on anyone that came through the door.
The problem is that extra wide gates are really expensive, and if they fall under the “affordable” category, they aren’t that strong. After a lot of internet sleuthing, we found that the most common width for residential use stopped around 72″, and even then, these gates were either held in place by tension, or they were secured to the wall in such a way that they’d be difficult to collapse or move. Scott and I brainstormed, drew up sketches and even asked fellow dog loving friends for advice, and in the end, we realized we’d just need to make one.
Story of our life.
But! While we had originally set out to make something that would be a bit more involved (we were considering a similar herringbone pattern to this past favorite DIY), we ended up finding a very easy solution at the hardware store! Aside from the time it took to paint, we assembled and installed a 9′ gate in less than an afternoon. We imagine this DIY could come in useful for anyone with a large outdoor area that may need to be contained, or like us, maybe you have a need indoors to keep babies and pets separate and/or safe.
SUPPLIES USED FOR 9′ GATE
2 – 6′ Pre-made fence sections
2″ x 2″ x 3′
2 – Strap hinges (above, top left)
2 – T-hinges (above, top right)
3 – Fence brackets (above, bottom right)
2 – Slide bolts (above, bottom left)
Exterior grade paint
Wood stain (optional)
Circular saw for cuts
Paint sprayer and/or paint brush
Paint brush and/or rags for stain/poly
WHAT WE DID. Any gate we made needed to have vertical slats to keep dogs from climbing. When we spotted these 6′ pre-made fence panels at Lowes, we knew we could make them work! Right then and there, we came up with our game plan: We’d create a gate with three 3′ sections that could fold onto itself and swing out of the way. One of the sections would need to be secured on two sides (no swinging!), but it would be sturdy because we could screw it right into the wall and floor. Our plan would allow for a 6′ opening when needed, and no one at One Tail would have to fuss with storing anything away.
First, we sanded the two fence sections down and used our paint sprayer to get an even coat of exterior grade white paint on them:
While this dried, we moved onto other projects around the Adoption Center, and we revisited the gate the next day.
The first panel would need to be raised off the floor to allow for the other two panels to swing freely, but because this panel needed to be immobile, we used a 2″ x 2″ as a spacer. You can see below that to make our plan work, we did need to screw through our spacer and into the floor a couple of times. To prevent the floor from splitting, small pilot holes were made first, followed with about three wood screws. Should the gate ever need to be removed, the holes will be tiny enough to fill with wood putty and a dab of stain. (To be fair, we ran through so many alternatives to prevent drilling into the floor, but in our particular case, it made the most sense and would provide the most secure environment for dogs and people!)
After Scott measured and re-measured the opening width, he cut the first of the three gate sections with a circular saw, and attached it to the wall and 2×2 on three corners using the fence brackets and wood screws. To do so, after the brackets themselves were screwed directly into the wall and 2×2, we slipped the in the first panel, and it was further secured by additional screws from the sides. (Note: We had studs on both walls that we were able to take advantage of – lucky! If that hadn’t been the case, we would have had to use toggle bolts.)
The second and middle gate panel was cut to size, and the strap hinges were attached at the top and bottom. This section of gate would now act as the Human Entrance, but it can also fold back all the way if they prefer to leave it open.
The third and final gate panel was attached to a stud on the opposite wall using the t-hinges. Like most homes, the floor was less than perfect and the drywall was slightly crooked, but we still used a square and level to make sure things matched up neatly. With the gate in place, I took a moment to touch up the freshly cut edges with paint.
Finally, a slide bolt was our lock of choice for the Human Entry, and as an additional measure, we had a second slide bolt go right into the floor of the third gate panel. The floor was touched up with a bit of stain, and if you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t even notice the hole! There is still a bit of give as would be the case with any gate that needs to stretch across 9′, but we had Jack and CC purposely jump on the gate multiple times – and success! It’s not going anywhere.
If there are no pups around, the gate will probably look like this most of the time, giving anyone who comes through the door a 3′ opening to walk through.
For gatherings with a larger crowd – the opening night festivities, for example – the panel closest to the door can swing open, creating a 6′ opening!
We topped it all off with a tiny WELCOME plaque, because, look! It’s the little things (literally).