How to install a metal side gate for your garden


It’s not everyday that you see metal side gates, which is crazy when you think that they are pretty much indestructible compared to the more common wooden gates. I can only imagine that the real reason is due to the price difference (yes metal gates are fairly more expensive compared to wooden ones) but when you look at how long a metal side gate will last compared to a wooden gate, surely it works out much more cost effect in the long run.

Not only do metal gates last longer, but I am always being asked to adjust wooden gates due to swelling in the Winter and latches no longer working correctly. This is a problem that you just won’t have when using metal garden gates. Take a look at the metal side gate I installed below, the previously installed wooden gate had fallen apart after years of use. You can see just how sturdy that metal gate is, but at £360.00 it comes with a bigger price tag.


Are metal side gates harder to install than wooden ones?

In short, the answer to this question is no. In theory, they are exactly the same when it comes to fitting, the only thing you need to keep in mind if using a large metal side gate is the weight, and if the object you will be fixing the gate to will be strong enough to hold it in place. Take a look at the example below that I installed for a customer a few weeks ago. At first glance it looks amazing, and that’s because it is, but there is no way that the concrete fence post is strong enough to hold the weight of that metal garden gate. To give you an idea, it took 2 of us to be able to comfortably lift the gate into position.

If you look really really closely, you will see on the bottom right of the metal gate post that there is a tiny wooden block. This is because, the gate has to be elevated from the ground to be able to open and shut properly. If using a wooden gate, I would have simply elevated the side gate and fixed it onto the concrete post, but in this case, this just wasn’t an option. In theory, the wooden block is holding the weight of the gate, whilst the concrete post is simply keeping it upright. I actually painted this wooden block to the same colour as the metal garden gate since this picture was taken which looks amazing now and blends in well.


Which tools do I need to install a metal side gate?

The tools needed will include;

  • A drill (preferably an SDS drill if drilling into concrete
  • Wall plugs and screws (although other fixings are available)
  • Spirit level (very important)

Steps to installing a metal garden or side gate

  1. Measure the height and width of the entrance you are looking to install the garden gate. Make sure that you take the correct measurements as you can’t simply cut the gate to size like you can with wooden gates.
  2. Assess the object that will be holding the gate, and make sure that it can hold the weight of the gate. If you are unsure, then it’s best to use an object like a wooden block to elevate the gate like the one above, taking the pressure away from the object in question.
  3. Using a spirit level, have someone hold the gate in place and mark where all of the holes (for gates that come with pre-drilled holes). I often use a small drill bit to make the initial hole instead of marking it with a pencil to save time. Although you will need someone with steady hands.
  4. If you are using wall plugs and screws which works for the majority of objects that have side gates being fixed to, remove the gate and start drilling your holes. If you are drilling into concrete, an SDS drill will be best and will do the job so much faster than a regular battery powered drill. Trust me on this, a battery powered drill will likely need a re-charge before you get to your second hole. Once done, push or hammer (rubber mallet) your wall plugs into place.
  5. Now put the gate back into position and tighten the screws using a regular drill. This is the hardest part done.
  6. You will likely have an additional metal post holding the lock mechanism etc., together. This will need to go on the opposite side of the metal side gate. Temporarily hold the stop bar into position on the opposite side of the metal garden gate and pull the gate too. Use your key to lock the gate, making sure that it sits flush with the latch in the post.
  7. Now that is sits flush, have someone with steady hands hold the bar in place whilst you push the gate back. Now repeat the process with the drilling, wall plugs and screws.
  8. Pull the gate too, lock and unlock the gate and make sure everything is working.

How long does it take to install a metal side gate?

With the right tools, more specifically an SDS drill, and an extra pair of hands, installing the side gate should take no longer than 20-30 minutes. If you are a hands on person, you should be able to do this without paying a professional to do the work.

Should you have any questions then please do let me know as I am always keen to help!