An ornamental garden gate is an attractive way to welcome guests to your garden. In addition, a gate should provide the degree of privacy you desire. The gate's design should reflect the style of the garden as well as your personality.
Types of Gates
Wood is the most common material for a garden gate. Wooden gate designs can be informal and rustic, or elegant and stylish. Wooden gates are the least expensive type of gates, but require restaining or repainting every few years. Classic wrought iron gates are more formal than most wooden gates. They are more expensive, but require less maintenance. Bamboo gates are simple, but exotic-looking. They are expensive and need to be recoated regularly with polyurethane with ultraviolet protection. Accents, such as lights or decorative caps, can be added to gates and gate poles. Caps are available in many shapes, including round, diamond, square and spearlike.
A ranch-style gate is used with ranch-style fencing, where two or three boards run horizontally between fence posts. The boards are usually stained or painted, but they may be left untreated for a weathered look. A ranch-style gate and fence do not provide any privacy at all.
A picket or palisade gate has thin spaces between slats of wood that run vertically. The top of the gate can be square or arched. A picket gate and fence are usually painted white, but they may be painted or stained any color. Although a picket gate and fence provide some privacy, people can see through the spaces.
A plank gate is made of wider pieces of wood set vertically with no spaces in between. It may be topped by an attractive lattice panel for a more formal style. It may be painted or stained to match the fence and house. A plank gate provides complete privacy, since there are no open spaces.
A solid wood gate can be plain or carved with a fresco or other design. It can be stained for a formal look, painted a neutral color for a contemporary style or painted a bright contrasting color for a fun accent. A solid wood gate provides complete privacy.
Wrought Iron Gates
Wrought iron is heated and shaped into many different designs for garden gates. Wrought iron gates are rust resistant and can be painted. They have open designs that do not provide any privacy.
A wrought iron gate can have a straight or arched top. Traditional wrought iron gates have vertical straight, round or twisted bars. Some wrought iron gates have abstract designs of swirls and curlicues. Other wrought iron gates have detailed designs of flowers and animals.
Bamboo has a soothing color and a pleasing texture. A gate made of bamboo adds a tropical air to a garden. A bamboo gate is usually made of panels of small canes or split canes framed by larger pieces of bamboo or wood. The canes may run horizontally or vertically. Simple designs can be created with the canes. Bamboo gates are lightweight. Since they are fairly solid, they provide privacy.
Other Styles of Gates
Garden gates made of vinyl or recycled plastic are low maintenance and will last indefinitely. They are available in a variety of styles and colors. An arbor or arch can serve as an open gateway where privacy is not an issue. The arbor or arch can be of wood, wrought iron or plastic. It may be stained, painted or left natural.