How to Make an Impression with Garden Gate
Consider the impact a garden gate can make when it’s beautiful, functional, and perfectly at home in its setting. More than just an entryway, a well-designed gate helps establish and emphasize a garden’s style, whether grand and formal or simple and welcoming. Crowned with a lush bower of vines in bloom, it exudes gentle, old-world charm.
Fashioned from wrought iron and flanked by stone pillars, it speaks of roses, fountains, and clipped boxwood hedges. Likewise, a gate can be designed for privacy and security or can offer tantalizing glimpses of the sanctuary within.
Historically, garden gates were made of iron or wood, but today’s gardener can choose any material that’s sturdy and sufficiently waterproof. Glass, copper piping, driftwood, bamboo, sheet metal, and recycled material all lend themselves to one-of-a-kind creations. A gate crafted of reclaimed wood gives the garden instant rustic flair, while one built around an old iron bed frame hints at whimsy, innovation, and a touch of mischief.
A successful garden gate also complements the style of other elements in its setting, including the fence and architecture of the house. It is a garden’s grace note, often the first feature to greet and delight visitors, and the last to send them on their way.
Great Gates Garden
More than just a pretty face, a garden gate must stand up to rigorous wear and tear. If you’re designing one, follow these tips to ensure it will be sturdy, long-lasting, and functional.
Make the gate at least one meter wide to allow the passage of wheelbarrows and other large gardening equipment.
Mount it on pressure-treated posts or other pillars that have been sunk to a sufficient depth (below the frost line) and footed in concrete.
This step is crucial: if a post moves even a little, the gate will become crooked and won’t open and close properly.
Add a cross-brace to prevent sagging.
Choose a level location. If a sloping site is unavoidable, leave at least 7.5 centimeters between the highest point of the ground and the bottom edge of the gate.
Use appropriately sized galvanized hardware (hinges, latches, and screws).
The following pages feature different types of garden gates. Do any of them match your garden’s style?
Black paint and brass numbers give this Dutch door and its sturdy arbor a formal elegance. The full- or half-door option can either usher guests to the diminutive patio beyond or shield the garden from the nearby street.
2. French Door
Bought for $10 at a local flea market, this French door, with its glass panes still intact, separates a tenant’s cozy container garden from the homeowner’s yard. The open design of the door and lattice fence creates a sense of enclosure while still allowing views from adjoining spaces.
3. Victorian Elegance
The graceful inward curve of the fence makes this gate a focal point and—along with the trim and color scheme of the square pickets—captures the look of Victorian garden architecture. Carved crow-shaped finials add a gothic touch and playfully hint at the abundance of these feathered friends in the neighborhood.
Carved out of yellow cedar, the intricate pattern on this front gate (which faces into the yard so it can be admired from the porch and garden) was inspired by a bench at a Mexican resort. The handsome wrought-iron latch complements the solidity of the design.
Georgia, a Jack Russell terrier, maintains her watch at the low, wide garden gate separating this country property’s sheep pasture from its large, rambling garden. Built out of discarded wooden steps, it’s a functional yet artful and well-balanced complement to the handsome rock wall.
6. A Gate With Steps
A charming gate and arbor fashioned from driftwood weathered twigs and debarked cedar beckons, visitors, up the stone steps and into a sweeping cottage garden. The rustic materials lend an informal feel that suggests the garden’s playful nature.
7. Japanese Influences
This Asian-inspired cedar gate is a fitting sentinel for a terraced West Coast garden with Japanese influences. Its generous size is proportional to the property’s many large, mature trees and high lattice fence. Although it provides privacy and keeps out the numerous deer in the area, it also offers enticing glimpses of the garden within.
8. Willow Tree
A rustic gate of cedar and willow is a fitting welcome to a cozy cottage garden filled with a riot of intertwining perennials. The matching fence discourages deer, while the arbor and its cascade of wisteria complete the tableau.