For those without much experience, installing a chain link gate on flat ground is hard enough, let alone on a slope! However, there are many techniques that can make the installation of a chain link gate on a slope much less of a headache.
If the gate is premade and cannot be adjusted, hinge it to the uphill post and know there will be a gap underneath. If the gate frame can be adjusted and customized. shape the top and bottom to match the horizontal fencing, and hinge the gate to the downhill post.
Everybodys property is different so there are multiple options. Feel free to scroll to whatever section meets your specific situation.
1. Choose Shape of Gate
Because each fence gate is installed under different circumstances, each one will be slightly different. For chain link gates installed on a slope, there are a few options available.
Square Frame Gate
If you are assembling the gate for the fence from a kit, chances are the gate is completely square or rectangular, with no sloping of any kind. These are ideal for very flat installation ground.
This, however, presents a problem if the gate will be installed in a sloping section. If you are in this situation, and you have a very slight slope, you are in luck! If you have a steeper slope, I suggest scrolling down to find a solution.
When a chain link fence is installed on a slope, the posts will all be installed vertically, with a level.
If the fence is to be a uniform height the whole length, to follow the slope the actual chain link mesh will be cut with a bias cut to allow for the angle. This means that your gate, which probably has 90° corners, will need to be parallel with the posts, not the fence, for the hinge to work properly.
Again, on a slight slope, that is alright! It just means that you have a few things to consider before you decide how to install it.
One of the first things to consider whether the slope follows parallel to the fence line (so one end of the fence is downhill, and the other is uphill), runs diagonally, or runs perpendicular to the fence. All of which have a solution, though the latter situation usually finds itself to be the easiest.
Square Frame, Parallel Slope
If your slope runs along the fence line, you will want to hinge your gate to the uphill side. That way, either way, the gate opens, the bottom won’t scrape along the ground. This does present the problem of a small triangular gap on the downhill side.
For this reason, I only recommend that this method be used on slight gradients. This minimizes the gap and makes filling it manageable. It does, however, pose a concern with smaller pets who might be able to leave the yard through the gap.
With this option, when framing your own chain link mesh, a bias cut will ensure that all of the mesh along the fence line is uniform. That is explained later in the article.
If this was your situation, feel free to jump down to the section on matching the chain pattern.
Square Frame, Diagonal Slope
With a diagonal slope, you will also hinge the gate to the uphill post. Unlike our previous situation, however, the gate will only be able to open one direction.
Because of the slope, one side of the gate will be slightly uphill, and the other slightly downhill. It is very important to ensure that the gate can open to the downhill side.
This allows a full range of motion, while the uphill side will stop the gate, leaving little room to pass through.
This method will leave a gap, similar to our first situation, but it will be manageable with only a slight grade. If you are framing your own chain link mesh, you will want to do so with a bias cut for this option as well.
Square Frame, Perpendicular Slope
Our final situation, a perpendicular slope, is by far the preferred circumstance. Because of the slope, the gate will very clearly not be able to swing open uphill. This is not a problem!
The gate will be able to open to the downhill side, and the chain link won’t have to receive a bias cut to match the other mesh panels.
The best part about this situation is that there will be no triangular gap under the gate. Because the slope runs downhill, there is no lateral grade making the ground under the gate uneven.
When planning to install any fence on a slope, this option is by far preferable and is worth a slight rotation of the fence to make a diagonal grade run perpendicular.
Flat Top, Slanted Bottom Gates
In certain situations, a chain link fence is not a uniform height along the entire length.
This is done so that the bottom of the fence will follow the slope of the ground, and the top of the fence will remain level. This means that the downhill portion of the fence is much higher than the uphill portion.
If you are in this situation, you are either custom framing each mesh panel yourself, or have ordered a custom set with premade frames.
Regardless, you will want your gate to look nice and have a full range of motion.
Similar to square-framed gates, as discussed above, our three options for a slope are parallel, diagonal, or perpendicular to the fence line. If your fence and gate have a flat top, but a slanted bottom, you are likely going to have a parallel or diagonal grade.
If your gate is at a perpendicular section of the grade, it will likely have a square frame with a biased cut.
I recommend you read the section above on square framed gates with a perpendicular frame and then employ a careful biased cut as discussed in a later section, to match the neighboring panels.
Flat Top and Slanted Bottom, Parallel Grade
In this situation, fence posts on either side of the gate will have a level top, but one post will be downhill, and therefore taller. Gates in this situation are very similar to the neighboring panels.
Unlike a square frame gate, however, your gate is custom with a slanted bottom.
This is done by taking the horizontal support on the bottom, and angling the connectors on each neighboring post so the bottom frame pole will perfectly match the slope along the fence line.
This allows your gate to fit perfectly into its spot on the fence, and look very clean.
It is important that you hinge the gate to the downhill post. This allows the higher bottom part of the gate to swing freely over the uphill section as it opens.
If you hinge the gate to the uphill section, the lower side on the bottom will run into the uphill ground as you try to open the gate.
In order to have your mesh match the neighboring panels, you will need a biased cut on the bottom of the mesh. A later section will discuss this.
Flat Top and Slanted Bottom, Diagonal Grade
A diagonal grade is going to follow the same patterns as a parallel grade discussed in our section directly above this one. I recommend reading that section first.
The one adjustment that will have to be made will be with the hinge. If your gate only opens out in one direction, you will want to make sure it swings open to the downhill side.
Even with the gate hinged on the downhill post, with a diagonal slope one side will be uphill and the bottom of the gate will run into the uphill ground if it opens that direction.
Slanted Top, Slanted Bottom Gates
This situation is much more unique. Most chain link fences on a slope have two biased cuts on each end of the mesh panels. This allows the fence to be the same height no matter where along the length you measure.
So, the downhill side is the same height as the uphill side. When installing a gate in this situation, you will follow the same guidelines as mentioned in the above section on the flat top, slanted bottom gates.
However, your gate panel will be slanted at the top, matching the slope like the rest of your fence.
The only difference is that a biased cut will be needed on both the top and bottom of the mesh to match the angle of the fence line.
2. Match the Chain Pattern
So we have now discussed each type of gate frame, and how to install it based on the slope. Now, it is important to install the actual chain link mesh on the gate so that it matches the angle of the rest of your chain link panels.
For chain link mesh, you want to cut just under the knuckle (the bent end), or the middle of any flat side of a diamond. This leaves half of the side loose to be bent into a knuckle to keep the fence tight and together at each end of the mesh.
Here is a helpful video I found on YouTube describing how to assemble a chain link gate. If you skip to 4 minutes and 10 seconds, he describes this process of trimming the chain link at the top. The rest of the video is very helpful, however, and I recommend watching it if you don’t know how to put together chain link panels.
Sometimes, however, you don’t need to make a horizontal or vertical cut, and instead, need to cut along an angle. This is done with what is called a biased cut. A biased cut is a technique of cutting any woven material along a diagonal line, whatever the angle.
When doing so with a chain link fence, it is best to count a few diamonds across, then cut down one or two, based on your slope. It is too much of a hassle to cut a direct line along the bottom of the fence.
Cut each diamond as discussed earlier so that you can always create a knuckle along the edge.
There are many YouTube videos with demonstrations of how to do this if you are a more visual learner.