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Good Fences, Good Gates

A rustic cedar gate is set in a stone wall to provide durability, interest and to welcome visitors to this country property. Cedar insets lighten the appearance and visually tie the gate to the wall.


Your front door creates a first impression of your home. In the same way a garden gate sets an expectation for your garden. In an urban garden a well built enclosure may be necessary for privacy and security. An attractive gate welcomes friends and neighbors or provides a measure of security by keeping pets and children safely confined. A decorative divider makes a garden much more interesting as spaces unfold with elements of exploration and surprise. Even a small garden can be more intriguing if divided into defined areas for dining, entertaining, relaxing, or hobby gardening.

In a country garden, a sturdy fence may mark the dividing line between lawn and meadow or orchard. It may also be required to protect flower and vegetable gardens from marauding wildlife. In both urban and country gardens, well placed gates are necessary to direct traffic flow. The design of these gates will be influenced by their surrounding landscape. They may be rustic, decorative or plainly functional.

Classic Iron gates define space and lead visitors through garden rooms in a large formal garden. Subtle lighting extends the charm of this garden into the evening hours.

A beckoning gate causes one to wonder what lies beyond. Gates come as singles or in pairs and may be closed and locked, to control entry or stand open to welcome and guide guests from one garden room to the next. The style of gate is determined solely by the creativity of the designer and functionality the gardener seeks. A gate offers an opportunity to add a welcome touch of whimsey to the landscape by using bright colors, unusual motifs or materials.

The style of the garden will influence the design of the gate or gates. If there is more than one gate they should match or be similar in design. A large formal garden is enhanced by stylistic elements that emphasize symmetry and balance and feature materials with a timeless quality. A perfect example would be a pair of ornate iron gates supported by stone piers. Such gates can be purely decorative or, coupled with a fence or masonry wall, they may provide a serious obstacle to uninvited visitors.

A lovely touch for a cottage-style garden is a gated arch overhung with flowering vines. Who can resist the urge to walk through that tunnel of foliage and flowers and to see where it leads us. A white picket fence may be a cottage garden cliche, but a brightly colored fence and gate can pop it into the extraordinary while brightening the scene with off-season color.

A welcoming pineapple invites visitors into the color and excitement of a cottage garden. This timeless style has brought pleasure through centuries of garden traditions.

There are gardens with a strong thematic design. In these, the gate can carry out and emphasize the theme. A garden with Asian influence can range from a lush Balinese style, overflowing with texture and symbolic features. A hand-carved teak door provides a perfect entry point to such a scene. A simple bamboo structure enhances the entry point to an austere Japanese style garden. A classic moon gate beckons you to enter the flight of fancy that is a traditional Chinese garden.

If there is a swimming pool in the landscape or one planned in the near future it is important to check with municipal code requirements for fencing and gates. These are always very specific as to height type of gates and hardware. A licensed landscape architect can guide you through the permits and requirements for pool fencing.

Rustic or refined, colorful or neutral, the style of gate depends on the objective of the gardener and the surrounding landscape. A gate can bridge the opening in a clipped hedge or a masonry wall. An enclosed area may incorporate one or more gates. Consider patterns of travel through the garden to determine gate placement and size. If the garden will need extensive maintenance or renovation, a gate that allows a truck or heavy equipment to enter is a requirement. If automobiles will regularly enter and exit through a gate, the opening should be generously sized t prevent accidental damage to the gate or the auto.

Garden gates have been a part of the human landscape for centuries. Wallace landscape architects bring a wealth of experience and creativity to help you find the perfect gate to express your individuality and serve your needs.

Wallace Landscape Associates
1598 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
(610) 444-6161

Follow Wallace Landscape on Facebook here and visit their Houzz page here.

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