DIY Gate Latch Ideas To Keep Your Garden Secure From Pests And Pets

If you've ever encountered a wild animal or pet rummaging through your prized garden patch, you know what a headache it can be to clean up the mess they leave behind. From half-eaten produce to dug-up flowers, keeping pets out of your garden along with other critters, is a common concern for gardeners. The good news is, while there are a number of humane ways to keep critters out of your yard, installing a DIY gate latch is a simple way to increase the security of your garden while maintaining accessibility for yourself and others.

With gate latches coming in a variety of styles, materials, and features, you're bound to find one that works best for your garden. Before selecting one to build, however, there are a few considerations to keep in mind so that your chosen gate latch functions properly (and looks great!). Here's what to keep in mind.

What to consider when choosing your gate latch type and material

You would think that selecting a gate latch to make is pretty straightforward, but before you attach one to your gate, you need to know what your gate material is, the type of gate you have, and the variety of animal breaking into your garden. The material your gate is important because it determines what latch style and latch material will work with your gate. Metal gates pair well with post mount gate latches in options like stainless steel and zinc alloy. Meanwhile, wooden and vinyl gates are not only compatible with post mount gate latches, but also with ring latches, and decorative latches. 

Another thing to keep in mind is your gate type. Swing gates and sliding gates, for example, are two different types of gates that require different types of gate latches. Ring gate latches can be compatible with swing gates, while sliding gates pair well with gravity gate latches. 

Third, identifying the type of animal frequenting your garden matters because you want the gate latch to withstand any force from a determined dog or agile raccoon. For the most secure lock, try a bolt gate latch or you can add a deadbolt or side bolt to a gravity gate latch.

DIY gate latch ideas to try for yourself

With the technical features out of the way, you can get creative and decide what type of DIY gate latch you'd like to put together. DIY-ing a magnetic gate latch, for example, provides strength and security that's discreet. Place a rare earth (neodymium) magnet inside a magnetic cup and drill them into a piece of wood. Using screws, attach the piece of wood with the magnet to the top of your fence. Then, screw a washer on the gate of your fence, lining it up with the magnet. Since the washer is aligned opposite from the magnet, it draws the magnet in so your gate remains closed when it needs to be. 

For a more rustic look, you can make a bolt gate latch from timber that opens and closes with a simple slide to the left or right. One block of wood is screwed onto your gate and will hold the slide bold in place using two slide ways that are made from a second block of wood. Make the bolt out of a third piece of wood, sized down to slide in and out of the slide ways. Follow the same process to make the bolt retainer that houses the bolt when it's locked.