Three Factors to Consider
It’s most common to get a gate that matches the fence exactly. Lots of homeowners want the gate to blend in to give the fence a continuous feel, but you could also consider an ornamental gate to give your fence a little oomph. For example, pointed black metal gates or white vinyl gates both perfectly complement brick fences. Just be sure to check with your HOA to avoid installing something that isn’t fit for the neighborhood.
Think about your area. Have you had security issues before? Is there a lot of foot traffic on the sidewalk in front of your house? Are there any wild animal populations you should be aware of? Most gates can be installed with security features like height extenders or lockable knobs and fork latches, but style COULD limit your security options.
When thinking about the use of your gate, ask yourself, ‘What will be passing through it?’ If you expect vehicles around that area of your property, consider gate types that can more easily be automated in the future. Cantilever gates and rolling gates slide open and can be programmed to do so with the touch of a button. Swinging gates can also be automated, but this requires more space. Swinging gates are best used where you only expect foot traffic.
If your fencing situation is at all unique due to the terrain, climate, fence type, etc., it’s a good idea to speak to an expert about it first. Most fence installers would be more than willing to give you some sage advice about construction choices and may even offer to perform a site visit first to provide a more informed opinion.
Tips for Choosing the Right Gate
1. Decide on the type of gate that will work best for you.
If you’re going with a standard gate, for example, make sure it matches your fence (or is at least close to it). If you’re living in an area with high foot traffic, you may want to go with a hidden gate to insulate yourself from the noise outside.
2. Familiarize yourself with your environment.
Do you live in an area that tends to have heavy snowfall? If so, you might want to avoid installing a rolling gate because all that snow can block the tracks.
3. Go with a low-maintenance gate.
Unless you have the budget, you may want to rethink that security gate that may fail to work altogether if a small part gets damaged. Ideally, you’d want a gate that will last you years without needing major [repairs].
Plan With a Purpose in Mind
The first thing you need to evaluate is what the purpose of your [gate] is. Is there a walking trail behind your yard that you’d like to access? Is the gate an inviting opening into your backyard? Is the gate meant for security? Is the gate needed for allowing vehicles in and out?
- A gate that is for functional purposes [only] can match the fence. A swing gate is basic and will allow you to accomplish the function of going in and out without disrupting the visual continuity of your yard.
- If you want the gate to be a focal point, you should consider setting it apart from the rest of the fence with pillars or an ornate shape. You could choose a double swing gate.
- Gates for security can be equipped with keycodes and built to be as secure as the rest of the surrounding fence.
- If there’s any reason you need to get a vehicle into your fenced area, you should choose a gate that accommodates that. If the gate goes across a driveway, you obviously will build it for cars, but if you might need to store a trailer in your backyard, you should choose a gate wide enough for that.
- Similarly, if you have a riding lawn mower, make sure that your gate is wide enough to drive the mower through it.
Make sure to research your city or subdivision codes to avoid building something you could get in trouble for and have to change.
Consider Your Specific Needs
The gate you choose depends a lot on your needs. For example, if you’re putting a gate in a front yard, it will need to be different than [one in] the back. Believe it or not, gates contribute a lot to curb appeal and a gate that doesn’t look good will turn away potential buyers.
You also need to consider whether or not this gate needs to be secure from children. If that’s the case, it should be at least four feet [high] (depending on the child) with a locking mechanism that involves more dexterity than little hands can manage.
Material is the main consideration. In general, your gate should match the material of your fencing. The exception to this is if you have wood fencing. You may want a more reinforced gate that won’t be subject to weathering.
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