design for outdoors
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front gate



Outdoor space is very important for the tiny house. My lot is not much bigger than my house and I enjoy every square inch of it. I think that when everything is so small you appreciate what you have even more.

Fence Elevation

Tiny Garden


When I moved in, the house was surrounded by a 5 foot tall chain link fence. I knew that I wanted to change the entrance to the house which meant changing the fence too. I didn't originally plan on changing the whole fence immediately but when they approved my first addition the city asked that I change most of the fence.

I opted for a low and open fence that let maximum sunlight through for my garden.

The garden is constantly changing due to my challenges with gophers and surrounding trees. After my futile battles with the gophers I am learning which plants they don't like and how we can share the garden. I have searched for and found lists of "gopher resistant plants" but have found that my gophers don't read or observe those lists. Through trial and error I have found plants that work.

fence elevation

fence design



I scoured the internet for fence designs and found nothing that was simple and easy to build. I also found that many designs aren't very structurally sound. I set about creating my own design by first buying some lumber that I knew was available and then laying it out on the ground to visualize how it might all go together.


fence design



I pinned pieces up temporarily to look at options and learned very quickly what I wanted to do. I found that subtle changes could make a big difference in the perception of quality and strength.

gate sketch

gate layout photo



I was at first very tenative about building my gates because they needed to be strong enough to withstand abuse and they needed to function easily. I proceeded in the same manor of first buying parts and then laying out pieces out on the floor in different configurations.

All the metal parts are non-corroding stainless steel because of my coastal location. The only other option would be aluminum which wasn't readily accessible.

gate photo


Since I had to work within the parameters of the bought hinges, it quickly became clear that there were limited options for design. That is a good thing. By choosing the parts that I wanted to use I was also creating the design.

link to stainless steel hinges

I have no affiliation with this company but I searched a lot and this is where I ended up ordering my hinges and latches from.


gate attachment



How the gate attaches to the post is also a fairly simplistic process. I just clamp pieces in my possible positions in order to see issues and to decide on the final attachment method and location.

gate sketch

gate assembly


The strength of the fence and the gates comes from orienting the timbers in the strongest orientation and from strong joints. The saw cuts shown here allow the timbers to intersect each other to create a very strong joint. I glue these joints together which also increases the strength.

The design has to allow for these types of joints in order to achieve the desired strength.


gate assembly



After I made the basic frame to the dimensions of the opening and attached the frame to the post, the gate is practically done even though it doesn't look like it. What you see here is all of the structure and none of the superficial skin.

gate sketch

final gate photo


This is the house side of the gate.

Since this gate is fairly wide I added a cross brace that helps to support the weight of the gate itself. I decided to use a cable instead of a piece of wood since the load here is all in tension any way. This allows for a minimal visual impact and a bit of technology.


gate detail



My little trick for attaching the cross brace was to drill a hole that allowed me to capture the cable with a loop and a bit of aluminum rod. All of this is hidden below the top cap in the finished gate.

verb 2
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