Well, it’s been a while, much has transpired. Our nation feels like the gates are all closing, and the welcome mat is burned to ash. But I suspect that won’t last long, especially in the stretch of geologic time. We here finally got some gate work – and fence work – completed, and in a manner suitable for country living. So let’s take a look at the results, shall we?

In our case, we have three – two person-gates, and one driveway gate. The driveway gate is a metal farm-style with some custom features and an added medallion from a Haitian artist – the photo is a bit sketchy but I will update later when I can get a better lighting situation. This was a somewhat problematic gate, as the installer made several errors, and when called to return to fix the problem, flaked off and never showed. I had to get a friend to help take it down and re-hang it, adding a wheel to the swinging edge. We are still trying to find someone to add an auto opener setup within our parameters – bluetooth detectors rather than channels in the asphalt, solar powered, etc. Local companies don’t seem interested in giving us what we want, they merely want to try and con you into the most expensive options. So we have to get companies from outside the immediate area who are more reasonable and professional. It is what it is.

The people gates are basic redwood frame gates, one to enter a private garden (for my wife’s office) and the other allows the movement of our trash cans in and out, and access for the propane dude, among others. Since most folks drive in, this one doesn’t get much use – it is more a way to finish the fence and keep out the deer. The garden gate – as well as the other one – are not well designed – I left it to the fence builder, a big mistake. Due to their design, I cannot add automatic gate springs to close the gates. So I suspect I will have to re-build these two gates myself. But they at least have a decent appearance, so we will live with them for the short term.

In all, there were lessons for us:

  1. Be willing to pay more for the right design – don’t rely on the contractor to do your designs. They are builders – they will do what you say, and nothing else. And that includes advising you about limitations, etc. Their focus is completion and getting paid – period. Do it the right way – work out your design – on your own or with professional help – and don’t skimp.
  2. Consider having a professional – with a LOT of experience – to hang your driveway gate. These are more fraught with potential problems than many realize – I know we didn’t! So pay for the right professional – just because someone knows how to build a fence…
  3. And don’t rush it! Take your time, talk to lots of people, and spend enough time studying the dimensions of the project:
    1. In a driveway gate, what is the slope condition? How wide is practical for the type of closure system? For the posts to manage the weight? For the direction of opening? Study all the angles – I guarantee there will be surprises, so do your best to anticipate and prepare.
    2. In a people gate – is the gate utilitarian, or also decorative? Are you seeking a uniform design, or will each gate – assuming more than one for the project – have different purposes that allow for varying designs and build techniques? Best to get such issues addressed before you start – it can make a big difference.

In the end, are you happy with the outcome? If not, don’t fret – you just have to decide if you want to later modify, or re-do. In case you forgot – it’s your gate. Do what YOU want with it!


The Gate is Open

This project depends on you - and your photos of gates. Great gates, different gates, unusual gates, non-obvious gates. Be sure to include your contact information, permission to use your photo, and a name for proper credit where credit is due! Be a part of the Gate Project.