By Jill Morgan
Garden gate ideas can dramatically change the look and feel of your outside space. From split driveway models that are impressive and imposing to front of house designs ideal for boosting your home's kerb appeal, there are plenty of off-the-peg and bespoke options available.
Of course, you could also seize the opportunity to commission something unique and handcrafted, which will become part of your home and treasured for years to come. But it's not just a case of going for a stunning design in a gorgeous finish, these garden beauties need to be practical, long-lasting and offer reliable security too.
To get inspired for your garden gate ideas, just keep scrolling. We've rounded up lots of lovely designs to help you choose the best style for your plot. Then, head over to our garden fence ideas feature for more brilliant ways to transform your outdoor space.
1. Brighten stone posts with a white gate
If you love a country-classic look, try pairing a fresh, white gate with traditional stone posts.
The pale hue provides the perfect balance against such rustic surroundings as it lifts the space and feels clean and chic. However, the overall look still maintains plenty of vintage charm.
Combine with one of our cottage garden path ideas to complete the scene.
2. Soften sleek slats with foliage
Looking for something a little more contemporary? Go for a sleek wooden style for your garden gate ideas. This one looks subtle yet smart as it effortlessly combines with the surrounding fence panels. Plus, a handy lock is good for added security.
A design like this is also great if you're looking for garden privacy ideas, as it'll keep any prying eyes out. For extra visual interest, add a boost of leafy green foliage along the top – take a look at our best climbing plants for ideas.
3. Pick a blue hue
Tones of blue always feel soothing and are a great choice when it comes to garden color schemes. So why not embrace the hue for your garden gate ideas?
We adore this dusky, blue-grey tone with its air of sophistication and elegance. Small zinc planters either side accent the look beautifully.
Also, note how the blue-themed palette is continued on the slatted fences beyond the gate. This is a simple yet effective way to give the whole plot a sense of cohesion.
4. Up the romance with a floral arch
Looking to add a touch of romance to your garden gate ideas? Then take inspiration from the gorgeous design above.
A canopy of blooms trained around an archway will always provide a warm welcome. Opt for scented flowers, such as roses, to boost the ambience even further. These pretty pink ones look picture-perfect against the white picket fence and gate.
Take a look at our guide on how to grow roses to recreate the look.
5. Try a lattice design
A lattice design is a timeless choice, and when combined with a whimsical archway it delivers an enchanting feel. Go for a wide, doubled-up design to make a bolder statement, plus, if you're using it to separate your veg patch from a lawn, it'll be easier to get a wheelbarrow through.
A honeyed-hue adds a warming touch to the space. But, if you're looking for something more vibrant for your garden gate ideas, you could always give it a lick of weather-resistant paint.
6. Complement the exterior of your home
Want to elevate your front garden ideas and make a striking first impression? Try this straightforward tip.
Simply match your garden gate's color to your other exterior features. This crisp white tone makes a lovely contrast against the red brick and ties the whole look together beautifully.
7. Go for sleek and solid styles
Large contemporary style gates are often dark, solid and imposing but thankfully they don't always have to be that way. There's a growing number of aluminium options on the market. Relatively light to operate and with a hardwearing and smooth powder-coated finish (usually matt black) they create a smart first impression for garden gate ideas.
The real bonus though, is that many come with laser-cut fretwork panels. Designed to let the light partly filter through, they add a decorative touch and give the opportunity to personalise the front of your property.
If you love our modern garden ideas, then this is a brilliant choice.
8. Commission a handcrafted design
Indulge your artistic side and commission a local blacksmith to create a unique, and ornate iron design for your garden gate ideas. Okay, it may not always be the thriftiest option but the chance to have a one-off, handcrafted piece especially made for your home is something to treasure.
Seek out local specialists – the Guild of Master Craftsmen is a great place to start – and check out online examples of their work. Ask for quotes and lead times before progressing to a site visit. This is where you can firm up the design and material options, ask them to take specific measurements and discuss any installation issues too.
9. Try traditional swing gates
Substantial and undeniably rural, wooden swing garden gate ideas are a common sight on many country estates. Robust and made from hefty timber they are often decoratively open in style and painted in distinct colors.
Designed primarily to keep livestock from wandering off, many designs still bear the hallmarks of times gone by such as the crook-style topped posts – perfect for when you're passing on horseback.
Today's designs are still as striking but can be fully automated and the design adapted and repeated for smaller gates and doorways for a smart, co-ordinated look.
10. Choose the right timber
Most gates take a lot of battering – not literally of course – but from the elements. So when it comes to choosing your garden gate ideas, it's worth knowing exactly what you're buying.
Many off-the-peg designs are mass made using pressure treated soft woods such as pine or redwood. Affordable and easily and quickly worked, they are perfect for both traditional and contemporary styles.
Although soaked and injected with wood preservative these wood types do have a shorter lifespan than hardwood timbers. They also have prominent natural markings and knots which some buyers find less attractive than the smooth, dense grain of an oil-rich hardwood such as oak or iroko.
11. Go for the perfect paint finish
Fancy a brighter look for your garden gate ideas? Then why not treat them to a fresh new shade. With endless paint colors to choose from – including rich heritage shades, earthy neutrals and infinite contemporary brights – you can really express your home’s style and personality.
It's not a role that any old paint can handle though, the best exterior wood paint needs to be resin rich, flexible and breathable to cope with the stresses and strains that fluctuating temperatures and weathers can inflict on the timber. They also need to be UV stable to prevent fading, and water resistant too. Choose from gloss, high gloss, satin or a low sheen exterior eggshell.
12. Look for quality construction
Looking for substantial garden gate ideas that will last for years? Then take a look at the way the gate is put together and joinery techniques used, as well as the overall design.
Timber, by nature, will swell and shrink according to the humidity and outside temperature, so a good product will need joints that can cope with this, as well as details that prevent heavy rain from soaking in.
Look for designs with mortice and tenon and dowelled joints, as these can accommodate the movement. Tongue and groove boards need to have a millimetre expansion gap between each and set within an internal rebated frame.
This stunning gateway above makes a smart addition for driveway ideas.
13. Opt for sturdy and secure garden gate ideas
If garden security is important, then you need to invest in a sturdy and well-designed side gate. A solid wood design, that you can't see through or over is a great deterrent to any intruders, especially if it's in a similar style to your fence or garden wall ideas.
If you want a timber design, look for a robust style where boards are rebated within a frame, as this will add extra strength and rigidity. Try and avoid designs with cross braces though, as these can double as a handy step ladder.
14. Blend your gate with the fence
Whether you need to keep animals and children secure or just fancy a seamless look, choosing a gate that is a good match for your fence is a great move. Smart and coordinated, it also helps to visually smooth out the boundary, creating the impression that the space is much more expansive than it really is.
This RHS-approved range of fencing and gates shown above can be made to measure in cedar, iroko or pine and finished in one of eight paint colors.
Looking for more landscaping ideas? Check out our feature.
15. Go for a Secret Garden style
There's something rather romantic about a weathered gate set in a high brick wall. Visions of the childhood favorite The Secret Garden spring to mind. Well, if you are not lucky enough to inherit such a beauty, then why not create or commission your own? This once-solid, tongue and groove gate has been transformed by adding a lattice-style section of ironwork.
Designed by garden designer Peter Reader, it now offers a tantalising glimpse into the space beyond. Have a chat with a local garden designer, blacksmith or carpenter for design and installation ideas and give careful thought to how to seal the newly-cut wood from rain.
Looking for more pretty designs? Get inspired with our cottage garden layout ideas.
16. Showcase traditional skills with your garden gate ideas
Cottage garden ideas deserve a gate with rural charm. It's hard to find a better choice than a skilfully handcrafted design.
Made from coppiced sweet chestnut, this fabulous Minorcan design above makes the most of the peeled timber's organic sweeping curves. Naturally durable, the timber can be left untreated and it will silver and age beautifully over time.
The carved wooden latch is an elegant addition.
17. Choose a sympathetic design
Take a cue from the immediate surroundings to inspire your choice of gate.
Urban gardens and patio ideas often suit sharp, contemporary shapes and finishes in bold, graphic tones – think flat panels of black powder-coated steel or rust-toned Corten steel. For rural properties try reflecting the undulating shape of the landscape, using locally harvested timber for your garden gate ideas.
This timber design above echoes the distant rolling hills and tones of the dry stone walling perfectly.
18. Embrace the opportunity for artwork
More of a sculpture than an obvious gate, this double-panelled design has been made out of laser-cut steel. It creates an intricate and dramatic silhouette when viewed against the garden.
Naturally inspired shapes such as trees, flowers, leaves and seed heads will all work beautifully in a lush, garden environment, but designs that incorporate house numbers and names can be hugely practical for driveways and front-facing plots.
Why not complement the design by introducing some of the best flowering trees nearby?
19. Take security into account
Privacy and peace of mind are both key issues when it comes to choosing garden gate ideas for your driveway. For many, having smart but solid, robust and rather formidable looking gates can be a huge move towards making a property secure and enabling a feeling of reassurance whether at home or away.
Choose from swing or slide opening designs – this is partly dependent on the space available – and automated or manual operating systems. The weight and required action of the gate will dictate the size of motor needed. Metal gates tend to be lighter and need a 24v motor while heavier wooden panels could need up to 230v.
You can further improve your home and garden security by adding one of the best outdoor security cameras.
20. Add a flamboyant touch
A hit of color and unashamed glamour is a great way to pep up your outside space. So, why not use your garden gate ideas as the perfect excuse to kick-start a new border or garden design?
Ironwork gates are great for introducing a sense of movement, and you can be as bold as you like with the color and finish. Thanks to its see-through nature it will often blend with the garden, plants and garden path ideas beyond.
Rather than just hanging a single or pair of gates, max out the impact by going for coordinating side panels too. Perfect for a narrow side return, it really lifts the space with a sense of drama and fun.
Which direction should a gate open?
'Gates can open either inwards or outwards as the hinges can be positioned on either side of the gate,' says the experts at Jacksons Fencing. 'An inwards opening gate is the most common and the aesthetics offer more appeal from the outside of a property, but this may not always be possible.'
'Be aware that the UK Highways Act does state that a gate can't open out onto a highway unless the local authority has given permission,' they add. This could be a public footpath or road, for example. So, if you're planning a new garden gate as part of your garden design ideas, be sure to bear this in mind.
How do I stop my gate from sagging?
Want to stop your gate from sagging? The Jacksons Fencing team have some advice...
'When buying a new gate, where possible make sure it is supplied with adjustable hook and band hinges,' they say. 'Timber is an organic material which is subject to movement over time, and gates will generally warp causing the gate to sag and not close or lock as intended.'
'Adjustable hinges allow you to quickly and easily counteract these issues. If you already have a garden gate without adjustable hinges then either new hinges are preferred or a hack will be required.' This is usually done by lifting the gate and refixing the current hinges or attaching new hinges next to the old, they explain.
How wide should a garden gate be?
How wide your garden gate should be depends on how it will be installed into its chosen location, explains the Jacksons Fencing team.
'Most manufacturers will offer standard sizes, and for garden gates this usually starts at 0.75m wide. This is the minimum clear opening width of a door within building regulations, and is a practical minimum up to around 1m wide. Any wider and the hinges will struggle to hold the garden gate.'
'For any gap over 1m wide, a pair of gates is usually required,' they add.
If you're looking for tips to make the most of a less-than-large plot, head over to our small garden ideas.
What wood should I use for a garden gate?
Wood is a fabulous material for gardens, just take a look at our decking ideas or best wooden garden furniture buying guide for some lovely examples. But then it comes to garden gate ideas, you may be wondering what the best wood is to use. The experts at Jacksons Fencing share their advice...
'Hardwood and softwood can both be used to build garden gates,' they say. 'We recommend you carefully consider which type of wood is best suited for your requirements as it can be challenging to find a hardwood garden gate that is guaranteed. When looking for a softwood gate, always use a reputable manufacturer which confirms the timber has gone through a treatment process and offers a long guarantee. 25 years is a good length of time.'
'The installation costs are usually a similar cost to the gate, so by purchasing products which have been guaranteed you avoid the costly replacement every few years, should the timber suffer from rot or insect attack.'
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