cutting fence panel

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If you missed part 1, here’s a little recap:

  • Dad knocked over part of my fence last fall with the backhoe I rented in order to fill in and level out the back yard (it’s alright, you can laugh; we did!)
  • I tried out a new product to set a new post, but it failed miserably, so I went back to using quick-dry concrete.
  • Next up: fixing the water flow issue of having a fence and gate that’s touching the ground (that’s this post!)

fixed fence gate that can now open properly

Since my crazy furball Charlie loves to run around the yard (and tends to run straight through an open fence with no gate), fixing the fence became a priority spring project.

Charlie running through the backyard unencumbered

I had to remove the fence panels surrounding the gate in order to reset the post, so it was the perfect opportunity to fix a few more problems that had always been less than ideal. Namely, when the fence was first installed, I failed to account for how water flow might ruin the bottom of the fence and left each picket touching the ground. The result was mud buildup and an overall likelihood of needing to replace the pickets more often (from wood rot, warping, etc.).

Fence - gate touches the ground leading to warping and frequent replacing of pickets

The gate also touched the ground in spots that prevented it from opening further. Even though I’d done extensive work to even out the yard, my call to 811 last year revealed that there were utilities running near this spot, so I didn’t want to take any chances by digging up places I shouldn’t. Instead, the easier solution was to trim off enough of the bottom of the gate that it could swing open a little wider.

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You’ll Need:

This DIY is pretty straightforward. Starting with the fence panel on the right side, I used some nearby scalloped edging from the garden to elevate the panel off the ground and screw it back into the new fence post using exterior screws (drill slow at first so you don’t split the pickets). I could have cut off the bottom section (the part with all of that dirt buildup), but no one wants to spend more time on a project than they need to, so it was much easier just to lift everything a little off the ground than cut it down.

use edging stones to lift the fence panel off the ground

Next, I hung the gate back on the fence temporarily and opened it to the point where it was getting stuck. That gave me a way to make markings in the exact spot it would hang to make sure I was cutting at the correct angle. I took a spare fence picket and angled it along the fence panels of the gate. The bottom of this panel would serve as my marking line for the cut.

Fence - Use spare board to create straight line to keep gate from scraping on the ground

I ran a pencil along the bottom of the fence panel, creating a straight cutting line. While pretty much anything works to mark wood, I’ve found that carpenter’s pencils work really well for stuff like this (it’s wider and flatter than your typical marking utensil, so it runs along a board or straight edge nicely).

use carpenters pencil to mark pickets along gate

pencil line along fence gate

Next, I lifted the fence panel back up and off the gate again and laid it down on a frame from another outdoor project (I’ll be sharing that with you guys soon). This extra elevation lifted it slightly off the ground, making it easier for cutting and kept it stable. While this can be done solo (I originally moved the gate last fall on my own), the hardware makes it kind of heavy, so try to have a second set of hands if you can.

With the cut ready to go, I put on some safety goggles, lined up the cut on my circular saw, and made my cut.

fence - cutting gate line

Once the cut was finished, the gate went back on the hinges. This also allowed me to re-install the self-adjusting gate latch on the new post. Done!

From the street:

fixed fence gate that can now open properly

From the backyard:

fence - other side of the fence

It’s not perfect nor a particularly glamorous DIY (the gate now looks a little short compared to the rest of the fence), but I don’t mind; it serves its purpose and it looks a lot better from the street from where I started:

damaged fence post

Of course, I still need to cut the top of the new post so that it’s not sticking up above the fence line and the fence could use a good power wash (and maybe stain?), but with everything fixed enough to be able to close the gate again, Charlie could finally enjoy the yard once more. <3

Charlie running in the back yard

There are a few more outdoor DIYs coming up from this same weekend, so more on that new hedge and mulch line along the back fence in a future post as well!

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  1. Get blog post!! I’ve been building fences for years and have never seen a diagonal gate.

  2. You should have used the piece of wood as a guide for your circular saw for a straighter cut. Lay the gate flat, clamp the wood 1.5 inches shorter than where you want the cut (a circular saw blade is typically 1.5″ from the edge of the saw, but measure yours and adjust accordingly), then run your saw along the wood using it as a guide for a straight cut. No need to mark with a pencil!