When it comes time for building a privacy fence or even just a short picket fence, prefabricating wood panels from treated lumber helps speed the project along. They also work well for gate building. With an extra 2-by-4 and your choice of gate hardware, a treated wood panel can be transformed into a gate.
Lay the treated wood panel on a flat surface. Measure and mark the center of the width of the treated wood panel.
Measure the distance between the posts where the gate is going to be installed, and subtract 1 inch. Divide that measurement by 2.
Measure from the center of the treated wood panel in both directions the length of the measurement derived from Step 2. This will give the gate a balanced look.
Move the measurement to the left or right only if the gate measurement allows you to take in full pickets on both sides. For example, if the gate opening is 36-inches and the pickets are 5 1/2 inches, the end pickets on the left and right sides of the gate will not be 5 1/2-inches wide. Starting from the center point of the wood panel gives you a balanced look because the pickets on either side of the gate will be the same width.
Mark the treated wood panel several times up and down the pickets to give you enough marks to place the framing square on and draw a line the full length of the pickets. Once the lines are drawn, cut them with the skill saw.
Turn the newly formed gate over so the 2-by-4s are facing up. Measure the distance from the top right corner of the 2-by-4 to the bottom left hand corner of the bottom 2-by-4. Add 4 inches to that measurement. Measure and mark the 2-by-4-by-96-inch treated lumber to that length and cut it with the skill saw. This will become the center brace between the two horizontal 2-by-4s on the wood panel and will form a "Z."
Lay the freshly cut 2-by-4 from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner. Look over the top of it and sketch a line showing you where you will need to cut it so it will fit between the other two. Once cut, secure it to the pickets with the deck screws. When finished, the back 2-by-4s on the gate will be in the shape of a "Z".