Fences give homeowners privacy, keep some things out and others in. When building a wood fence around your backyard, the house is often the main entrance and exit. For smaller garden fences, the gate that lets you in is an architectural element that is part of the whole garden's landscape. Simple wooden doors are easy, but don't add much personality to the fence. Instead, use your garden gate to be creative.
Covered Gate: Arbor
Arbors are trellised arches placed around a garden. The trellised design allows for climbing plants to grow up and around the structure so that it becomes fully integrated into your garden. If your gate is to a small inner garden, place the arbor on the outer side. For this style of gate, match the wood used on the trellis with your gate then paint or stain both structures. Around the arbor's base, plant climbers like clematis, many green leaves with small flowers, or wisteria, big bunches of purple flowers. This gate style brings the garden and the gate together. For a large-yard gate, ensure that the arbor is taller than the fence and place on the inside wall rather than the outer.
Covered Gate: Pergola
Pergolas are an option for heavy wooden fences because the thick beams supporting the fence are used to support the pergola. Likewise, the same wood used for the slats on your fence and gate can be used for the crossbeams. This fully integrates the two structures and makes them appear as one. The pergola doesn't necessarily need to be set on one side or the other. It can be built tall enough to pass over the top of the gate. In constructing the door of the gate, you can give it a pergola-like effect by using thinner vertical slats crossed by a few thick, horizontal ones.
Simply because it's part of a fence, doesn't mean that the gate needs to look it. For a side gate into your backyard, the gate can be made to look similar to a house's front door. The bottom third or half of the gate should be paneled. Frame the upper portion, divide it in half with a thin, vertical beam, and then top off each half with a curved or arched piece of wood to act as the top frame of your "windows." Rather than simply leaving this section open, use dowels; horizontal, vertical or both; to create a lined glass effect in the open area. A doorknob rather than a latch completes the effect and you've added a second grand entrance to your home.
- Photo Credit åºåœ’ image by kakuta from Fotolia.com wisteria creeper violet flowers image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
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