Motorized, Cedar Driveway Gate

This was a really fun and challenging project that ended up taking WAY too long due to the fact that we decided to start demolition on the master bathroom before we finished this project.  (we’ll never learn!)  But, we did eventually finish this one (after the bathroom was completely finished).  🙂

When we moved into the Coddington house (Home 1.0), the yard was already fenced, but the driveway was open.  Which was kinda a problem with the dogs, as you can imagine.  So we decided to build a driveway gate to complete the fenced yard, and figured while we were at it, we might as well make the gate motorized.

We both love the look of cedar, and love the look of horizontal planks, so the design for this gate was a no-brainer.  The engineering, on the other hand, turned out to be pretty challenging!  This gate is 11′ long and 5′ high.  For a metal gate, this size wouldn’t pose any problems. For a wood gate, this is a VERY large gate that will be prone to warping, sagging & flexing issues.  But, I’m hard-headed and really wanted to build this gate versus purchasing a metal one, so we gave it a try…

When we first hung the gate, we used a heavy-duty gate wheel to help counter-balance some of the gate weight.  But when we installed the automatic gate arm, we quickly realized that the wheel wasn’t going to work.  The wheel caused too much resistance… motorized gates really do need to be free-swinging without wheels!  (Again, I’m hard-headed and had read this in numerous places but still had to try and make the wheel work… which of course failed)

Here are some pictures that walk through this fun & crazy project…

We bought our cedar lumber from an awesome local place – Queen City Lumber.  The cedar 2x’s are rough-hewn, so the first thing I did was plane them down to make them smooth.  I thought the rough-hewn looked more ‘country’ and less ‘modern’ and wasn’t really working with our design.  Once the boards were planed, we built the gate frame using lap joints (for extra strength due to the size of the gate) and Kreg pocket screws.


We also wanted a smaller, pedestrian gate – pictured below.  Look how little and cute!! (try to ignore the complete train wreck happening in our garage behind the cute gate)


Once the driveway gate & pedestrian gate were built, we set the posts.  You can see in the picture below that we had to set one of the posts about 4″ into the concrete driveway.  Cutting into this super thick concrete slab to set this post was so much fun!!!  (hopefully you’re reading lots and lots of sarcasm in that statement)  It took a grinder with a diamond blade, a few hours & a LOT of sweat and cussing to get this post set.


And here’s the finished gate with its “bling”  🙂


And, lastly, here’s my hot electrician installing our automatic gate arm.  😉  We used a Mighty Mule gate arm.


Watch the gate in action!  (Bonus Challenge!  See if you can notice Susan in the background picking up dog poop)  LOL!!

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