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Outdoor Deck Baby Gate

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How to convert an indoor baby gate to use outdoors on a deck. This was much cheaper and easier than having a deck company install one. 

We had a nice deck installed, but didn’t have the foresight to have a gate added.

Baby G and the dogs really need that gate, something I didn’t figure out until a couple months after having the deck install. I called the company to check into prices; they told me that they couldn’t give me a quote over the phone and that I’d need to have a person come out with their free quote (yadayadayada).

Needless to say, I figured if they require a person to come out then it’s probably not in my price range and asking around with friends, it seems like those special gates run around $300.

Also, with many of our DIY projects, it’s sometimes faster and just as effective to do projects ourselves. By the time we’d gotten the guy out to do the estimate, then had them come install the deck, we likely would’ve invested a lot of time as well as money.

We didn’t really care about a permanent and beautiful gate- we just wanted something to keep Baby G and/or the dogs in their respective places.

One of our issues is that Baby G really likes to open and close the sliding glass door and the screen door. So the other day I was sitting on a chair on the lawn watching him and he wanders up the stairs and starts opening and closing the door. Annoying because he’s letting bugs in (and the dogs), but he’s happy so no big deal.

THEN he goes inside and closes the screen door. This is where I get up to go stand on the other side of the door to supervise. There’s a lock on that screen door. Did he figure it out? Yes.

Okay so I didn’t panic… I can get the screen door off or worse case scenario go THROUGH the door. As I’m debating how to take it off the tracks, Baby G closes the sliding glass door and as I watch in horror, LOCKS it. Then he tries to open it again to get to me and is screaming, crying, and making faces against the glass. Panicking, I’m running around the front of the house to see if I left the door open… it wasn’t, but I remembered we have a key code for our garage door and I was able to get in that way (phew, good feature by the way- the one I didn’t think I’d need… haha).

I rush in to find Baby G has recovered from his hysteria over being separated from me and is up to no good. Just in time! Needless to say, since this occurrence I’d like to be able to relax while playing outside with him, not run panicking to the door whenever he gets near it. The gate was my best solution.

Our cheapest option, it seemed was to pick up a regular baby gate and install it on our deck. Our deck rails are plastic though (Vinyl?) so we didn’t want to screw into them. We bought some cheap 2×4 wood (they cost maybe $2-3, but these were leftover from another project of ours), a wood baby gate, and some cable ties… This took almost less time to install than it took from me to get an answer from the company about installing an official gate.


  • Cheap wood baby gate: $30
  • Cable Ties: $2.50
  • Total: $32.50

Where we couldn’t screw into the deck due to the vinyl rails, we used zip ties to hold a piece of wood to each side. Then we installed the gate to the wood pieces. Done. That’s it. We trimmed the excess cable ties. So easy. It’s been working GREAT and it’s such a convenience to have it there… we’re outside even more now. Our deck gets shade most of the afternoon too so if I’m worried about Baby G sunburning then I can use the gate to keep him up on the deck where the sun isn’t shining. So awesome!

The dog? Slightly less excited about this setup.

Additional Note (June 19, 2013): It would be extremely helpful to waterproof the wood before you put this outdoors. Ours warps a bit after it rains which makes it harder to open and close. You might be able to avoid this if you used a metal gate with the cable times, but I’m not sure. You’d probably get rusting in that case. That being said, our gate still WORKS. It’s just more difficult to use.

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