GATES AND RAILINGS
How do you go about choosing a new gate? From security to sizing and materials, here’s everything you need to keep in mind
When choosing a gate, functionality is key, so first you should decide its main purpose. ‘A front gate is usually just a visual deterrent,’ says Paul Hensey at Green Zone Design ( greenzonedesign.co.uk). ‘ You don’t actually want to lock people out. A side or back gate, however, needs to be sturdy and secure to prevent people entering a private garden.’ If keeping children or animals safely in is a priority, opt for a solid design. ‘It also helps if there are no footholds or gaps where kids could get stuck,’ adds Hensey. ‘Position locks high, or choose a mechanism that can only be operated by adults.’ Consider the width of anything that needs to fit through it, such as prams and bins, as well as how much privacy you require. Finally, think about what the gate will be hung on: if the original gate is missing or needs replacing, the gateposts may need an upgrade too.
Next, it’s time to think about materials. ‘Do you want the gate to be a focal point, or do you want it to blend into its surroundings?’ asks garden designer Catherine Clancy (catherineclancy.com). ‘This will help dictate the material.’ If you have wooden fencing, for example, it makes sense to choose the same timber. Certified woods such as oak or balau are durable choices, as are treated softwoods such as pine, which can be painted in a bespoke shade. ‘A gate painted the same colour as the front door can provide a wonderful visual link,’ says garden designer Andrew Duff (andrewduffgardendesign.com). A period property will often suit more traditional metalwork; most specialist manufacturers can copy a specific historic design. Incorporating patterns or motifs taken from the architecture of the house will help to create cohesion. Salvaged gates are also an option: ‘a metalworker will be able to alter the size to fit,’ says Andrew.