Puppy Gate, Deck Style.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Yes Finn is still technically a puppy at about three-ish years old and ok yes, he is also the world's most giganto-puppy ever.  So I guess with that, the caveat here is a gate for puppies that are maybe not the typical tiny wiggly cutie wootie puppy size.

But hey, I wasn't kidding about the long list of things to do outdoors!  Plenty more to do....

Typically when Mike and I laze about on the deck, Finn, the ever perky-eared, sniff-and-bark-at-everything puppy that he is, likes to go darting down the gangway, jump and roar up a storm.  Read:  scare the pants off everyone and everything walking by.  We mostly worry that he'll hurt himself on the chain link gate.

Or he maniacally tries to reach Toby, our east neighbor's new fluffy marshmallow squeak toy sized dog, under the fence.  (Toby's cute, don't get me wrong.)  And by maniacally, I mean it's kinda scary.

Finn's doing better at the park when he sees other (larger) dogs, not that we go near them because still we do not, but he's less reactionary so that's a step in the right direction.

A small dog, on the other hand, and we best be holding onto that leash -- bark bark, jump, bark.  Squirrels and seagulls?  No problem.  Pigeons?  Yep, lunging.  Such a weirdo.

He's an anxious, fearful dog all right and it's, sigh, difficult.

Right so anywhooo.

As I said, while we loaf, Finn likes to cause trouble.  To trap him on the deck, we use one of those store bought baby gates,* you know, those fussy mangly floppy finger crunchers that take oh, eons to set.  And once you get that thing on there, you are loathe to pop it off lest you have to finagle with it for twenty minutes all over again.

Amiright or amiright?!  Heh.

Mike has asked me mmmm, three or four times now to build a gate for the deck.  So I'm beyond the Doomsday Three request marker.

OoooOOooohh teaser!
Not only did this gate come out pretty damn freakin' cool if I do say so myself, but damn if I don't have a bundle a' cool and/or handy tips for you on this one too.

Per usual, I perused the interwebs for inspiration first.  Man, baby gates can be such the uh, blight, huh?

The design tipping point came at lift off hinges, a new-to-me item.  My initial desire for this gate was for it to be easily removable so I don't have to look at it all the time.  It would then also not be floppin' around the deck all the time either.  And it would last longer stored in the garage when not in use.

Not too much to ask, right?  I'm not sure how I happened upon those wee hinges but it was a major ah ha ball-rolling moment.

Turns out the ones I ended up with are quite small, like for cabinets, but I am of the make-it-work ilk and so I did.

Once I figured out the design, it was a-shoppin' time:
My total purchase, sans tax?  $12.50ish.

Da' supplies.
The rest I had back at the ranch.  That list consisted of a mere three items:  leftover galvanized screws* from the water bowl stand but also the cap catcher, exterior white paint, and the perennial favorite Gorilla glue.*

After measuring the opening at the top of the deck stair, I cut my 2x2 down to size which happened to be three foot long top and bottom, the sides 1'-10.5" making the whole gate 3' x 2'.

Next, pilot drilled holes, glued, and screwed to make the rectangle.  Wait wait wait for the glue to set though I slapped on some a' that white paint during the pause in action.

Glue and screw, glue and screw.
Along the three foot lengths I measured out every three inches and drilled super itty bitty teeny weeny tiny 1/16" holes.  Along the short ends, I located center and measured three inches out toward the corners, repeat holes.

Hard to see my teensy 3" pencil mark but it's there.
Eye hook time.

Super Handy tip, with a capital S and H?  Use an allen wrench to whirl those eye hooks in fast and easy with not a lick of struggle.
Now the fun part!

Woo hoo, fun with paracord!
String the paracord through the eyes any which way you choose.  My chunk of paracord was fifty feet and I fell short of making it through all the eyes.  So fyi, if you do a gate about this size, you'll need more cord.  Hopefully no more than seventy five feet.

Who knew a gate could be such eye candy?!?!
Ok!  Yay, ridiculously gleeful, right?

The last steps I did outside on the deck because the hinges were so petite.  Because I'm typically a solo DIY artist, I stacked up some scrap 2x4 to balance the gate on as third and fourth hands.

2x4 helper hands.  Yes, I know, we need to cut the poofy grass.
Make sure you place a bucket or a box or tarp or something over any floor gaps so bits or hinge halves or screws don't drop through and get lost.  Ahem.

I marked the post, drilled pilot holes then attached half the hinge.  I put the hinge half that's the catch, not the post part, onto the post as the hole goes all the way through therefore it won't hold water.  Plus too there won't be the post part sticking out to catch on anyone or anything.

These hinges, by the way, come as left or right swing.  I think I ended up with left though I haven't been able to find anywhere the explanation for why, what makes one left and one right.

Next I marked the gate frame, drilled the holes, put the other hinge halves on.

Won't lie, this wasn't smooth sailing with the hinges being so small, but being careful, I got it.
Lastly was a hook and eye to lock the gate.

Low tech works well, what can I say.
And bingo!  Gate!

"Mommy, what have you done to me?"
It totally works too!

Poof, "I'm freeeee!"
It swings and lifts off!  Suuuhh-weeeet!

Lookie there, it lifts off!  So cool.
It came out exactly as I planned and envisioned.  A seeming rarity for sure so I am quite excited!  All giddy like a school girl!  Yep, did a butt wiggle dance.

I'm so damn proud of this little gate!
The gate catches a smidge at the top above the hook and eye but ah well, that's ok, nobody's perfect.

So there it is!  A super fun gate to keep the pooch on the deck and safely out of trouble!  Yay!  Mike likes it too!  Double yay!

(See what happened next here!)

"Oh, oh, I hear something out front but lo, I cannot leave!!"

*The baby gate, eye hooks, hook and eye, paracord, lift off hinges, galvanized screws, and Gorilla glue are all Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. To get the eye hooks in quicker you can use a socket from a socket wrench set and if you have a set that goes into a drill you can use your drill. get a big enough socket that it fits inside.

  2. I used your idea as inspiration for a gate to keep our new puppy from terrorizing our cats. I drilled holes in the wood frame and wove sisal rope through them. I had some 1 inch by 2 inch cedar wood, so I cut it to fit the width of my hall. I used a simple hinge and latch (because I had them at hand). I wish I could share a photo. But I wanted to say thanks for the inspiration and I can't wait to see what's next in your house renovation.

    1. Oh that is so awesome! I am beyond thrilled that you found inspiration here and it worked for you! Up at the top under the "contact" tab you'll find my email address; I'd love to see a photo of it and share it in an upcoming post. You are so welcome and thanks for making my day!

  3. Left or right hinge: put your back against the hinge ( literally or figuratively). If the gate swings to your left, left hand hinge.....


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