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
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
- 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
- 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
- Look to see if the gate you are buying includes
the posts and hardware necessary
it. Decide if you want to close
with a latch or if you need
a lock. A gravity
latch that automatically closes
can be a real convenience.
The hardware used
on a gate can add a great deal
to its attractiveness
as an architectural feature.