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

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style | Decorating -

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.

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