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Garden Gates

An attractive garden gate is a practical way to add architectural interest and distinction to your property. Gates can be incorporated into existing fences, stone or brick walls, and hedges. You can plan to include a beautiful gate if you are enclosing all or part of your yard. Special plantings near the gate posts can add even more charm. Gates can also provide security and privacy. They can be custom built, but less expensive kits are available at garden centers, home improvement stores, and online sites.

The following should be considered when buying a garden gate:

  • Think about what style of gate you want. Garden gates are made in a wide variety of designs, from very rustic to the most formal. A gate will be more successful if you consider the architecture of your house and select a style that complements it.
  • Decide how wide the gate should be. Most gates are between 3 and 4 feet wide. If you are installing a gate in an existing fence, wall, or hedge, you will need to work with the opening that is already there. If you are building a new enclosure, make sure the opening for the gate will be wide enough for necessary maintenance equipment such as lawn mowers and wheelbarrows to roll through. Wider openings may be better served by gates consisting of two panels that latch in the center.
  • Decide how tall you want the gate to be. Many gates are about 3 and 1/2 feet high if they are installed in a low fence or wall. Generally the gate should be as tall as the fence or wall, but a gate can gain importance if it is taller, especially if climbing vines such as roses or clematis are trained to grow on it.
  • Decide whether you want people to be able to see through your gate. A low gate or one with see-through openings will keep people and animals out but allow them to view your house and yard. If you want more security and privacy, you should choose a tall, solid gate.
  • Gates will be exposed to the weather for many years, so choose one made from a material that can stand up to it. Traditionally gates have been made from woods, such as cedar or pressure treated lumber, or metals such as cast or wrought iron. Gates made from manmade materials such as vinyl, composites, or aluminum can require less maintenance. A gate with a diagonal strut that braces it from the latch to the lower hinge will be sturdier.
  • Look to see if the gate you are buying includes the posts and hardware necessary to hang it. Decide if you want to close

    the gate with a latch or if you need a lock. A gravity latch that automatically closes the gate can be a real convenience. The hardware used on a gate can add a great deal to its attractiveness as an architectural feature.

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