How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

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Selecting the perfect garden gate can make all the difference in what visitors see when they enter. Learn how to pick a gate that makes a big first impression.

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A gate is the first thing visitors to a garden see, and it is sure to make an impression. With the right garden gate, you can make every entrance a grand entrance. Choosing a perfect gate will add character, charm, and appeal to the garden. But how do you know what type of garden gate is the right one for your garden? There are a few different ways of looking for and finding the perfect garden gate. Read on to learn how to narrow down your decision and find a gate that will complete your garden.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate
Style

One of the easiest methods of choosing a garden gate is looking at your garden and finding a gate that matches your garden’s style. Even if you aren’t aware of it, your garden has a style. Every garden does. A garden’s style will be reflected in the layout, types of materials, and the varieties of plants throughout. Your garden might be more contemporary, with clean lines and a minimalist feel. It could be rustic, with lots of natural wood, stone, and earthy details. Or it might be more formal, with neatly trimmed hedges, strong symmetry, and well-defined walkways.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

 A modern garden with very defined beds and distinct lines will benefit from a minimalist gate that complements the overall look and feel. A colorful, romantic garden with soft edges and large volumes is well served by a metal gate with graceful filigree work. A formal garden leading to a stately, traditional home will always benefit from a symmetrical double gate hanging from stone or brick pillars. When you understand the style of your garden, choosing a gate can be as simple as determining what type of gate will best match the rest of it.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate
Materials

Another straightforward way of choosing a garden gate is looking at the materials used in your garden and selecting a gate that is the same or complementary. A garden that is already enclosed by a fence will usually look best with a gate that continues in the same material. For example, a garden surrounded by a tidy white picket fence won’t look quite right with anything but a white picket gate. However, a walled garden gives a little more room for variation with a contrasting gate material. Whether the garden wall is stone, brick, or stucco, the gate is an opportunity to break the line visually with a gate that differs.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

While walled gardens offer an exception to the rule, generally speaking, garden gates look best when they continue in the same material as the fencing. Just remember that the gate is an entry, and therefore a focal point, so it should make a strong visual impact. Even if the material is the same as the fence, it can break the line by forming an arch, a dip, a peak, or some other visually interesting shape.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate
Function

While it’s easy to get carried away with the design of a gate, a critical thing to keep in mind is the gate’s function. If your top priority is privacy, then you’ll want to choose a garden gate made of solid wooden slats or some other sort of material that is visually opaque. If you are primarily concerned with beauty and design, then you can play with more ornate styles that harmonize with your garden’s overall look. If you need to keep animals in or out, it will be important to choose a gate that is solid enough to do so.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

Many gardens feature climbing roses or flowering vines, and an arbor over a gate provides an ideal structure for them to grow into and enhance. If you choose a gate with the intention of giving plants a support structure, make sure you use a long-lasting material that can resist rot or rust. Roses and vines are fine, but ivy will destroy wooden structures over time. Wooden gates should be made of treated wood and well-sealed or painted. Decide what purpose you want your gate to perform, and let that function guide your decision making process.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate
Budget

It’s the least fun to think about, but because you are going to have to pay for your gate, you should consider your budget before you start making any decisions about your garden gate. Unless you are very handy, you’ll also have to factor in the costs of having the gate installed. Much like hanging a door, putting in a gate takes careful measurement and know-how, and a professional can make sure it’s done right.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

There is no hard and fast rule to how much a gate will cost. A highly customized wooden gate costs more than a simple prefabricated metal one. However, the more simple a gate, the less likely it is to break the bank. If you are in the market for a bespoke, custom gate, shop around before you settle on a contractor. If one quote seems outrageous, the next one might be perfectly reasonable. Make sure your contractor is reputable — ask to see examples of their work. If they are local, they should be able to direct you to nearby projects they’ve worked on. If you’re lucky, you might even get a testimonial from a past customer.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

A custom-built gate is always going to be more expensive than one that is prefabricated. That said, with a little resourcefulness, you might find a bargain on your dream gate. Keep an eye on listings for people giving away or selling items in the neighborhood. It’s not unusual for home buyers to replace older fences and gates with newer ones. Of course, if money is no object, then you may want to take a look at high-end architectural salvage yards where you can come by antique metal gates.

How to Choose the Right Garden Gate

The key to choosing the right garden gate is taking your time. You want to match the style, choose the right materials, and make sure that it will perform the function you want — all within your budget. The entrance to your garden is important and is worth investing in. You’ll be glad you did every time you walk through the gate you chose so carefully.