There are many different fence and gate designs that you can place in your landscape plan. Which you choose depends on two main factors – the design of the surrounding area and the function the gate (and fence) is to perform. In many places, the type of fence and gate you can set up has already been established and there are covenants in place to protect the look of a neighborhood. In some areas, fences and gates are not allowed. But in others, it comes down to individual choice.
There are also a lot of secondary factors to consider. Is the gate intended to keep children in or other people’s animals out of the yard? Will the gate serve as an inviting entry to your property? Will the gate get heavy use, or will it be used only occasionally?
A gate to keep small children inside a fence needs to be sufficiently solid, or made of mesh, so that an adventurous toddler cannot squeeze through or beneath it. Latches should be out of reach. However, if security is not a requirement a more open gate, perhaps of wrought iron, will admit air and light and allow visitors to see through to the property beyond.
Gates should be in keeping with the wall or fence in which they are hung. Thus, a timber gate works well in a timber fence and a picket fence needs a gate that is also made of pickets, to add to its charm. Timber, wrought iron, and aluminum are commonly used materials and gates of various dimensions can be purchased ready-made from many different suppliers if you don’t want to make it yourself. A recycled gate from a demolition yard can be used to good effect within a garden – perhaps to divide a “wild” area of the garden from one that has a more structured appearance.
Gates that get a lot of use need to be well made and at least as strong as the fence. Hinges and latches should be of good quality and the appropriate size if they are to last for some time. Latches should be simple to use, so visitors are not left puzzling as to how to enter your property and if necessary, can open the gate easily with one hand while carrying packages with the other.
Self-opening, automatic double gates are a luxury item that aren’t generally part of most landscape designs. However, if you live in a neighborhood where they are appropriate, you will find them available in a huge range of materials from bronze and copper to wrought iron and aluminum with designs ranging from simple and modern through to ornate and classical to suit the architectural style of your home. They can be opened by simple key pads or from elaborate remote controls. Such gates need to be mounted by a specialist to ensure they work smoothly.
Aside from all the necessary structural factors, garden gates and fences should also be considered as part of the decor and design atmosphere.