A garden gate of wrought iron adds artistic beauty to landscaping. While a gate should serve practical purposes, such as keeping unwelcome visitors out, it will also define the entrance of the garden. Take time to choose a gate that is sized properly and works well with planned fencing. A well-chosen wooden fence design, for example, will work appropriately with the right style of iron gate. As wrought iron has not been commonly manufactured in many years, you have the option of finding a recycled gate. The term "wrought iron" is commonly used to describe artistically designed metal gates.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Sketch pad
- Measuring tools
- Backyard garden books
- Gardening magazines
Sketch the garden space and define where the gate will go. Measure the size of the gate needed to fit standard sizes available from manufacturers in steel reproductions of wrought iron. Check out flea markets and antiques stores for old wrought iron gates to recycle. Review gardening books and magazines for design ideas and support post designs.
Look at choices for support post materials. Support posts on either side of the gate will make a strong architectural statement. Plan a wooden support column on each side of the metal gate, for example, for a simple vegetable garden area. Sketch brick columns to hold an ornate garden gate near a colonial home or two-story brick design. Use stucco columns for an English-Tudor style home or a cottage-style residence, if the house itself features stucco design work.
Create a gate design that fits the house design, if it will show from kerbside. Choose a gate with simple straight lines and no scrollwork in a casual lake area, for example. Use an ornate pattern only if this is typical for your neighbourhood. Review front gates, garden areas and landscaping nearby to determine if your neighbours are given to artistic flourishes in their landscaping.
Use more artistic flair in a backyard garden. Plan to install a design you like personally, if the garden is far removed from kerbside. Order a gate with a series of climbing vines, a fleur de lis pattern, bear or raccoon design, or coat of arms, for example. Choose what you like personally for a private space that only your friends and family will scrutinise. Consider installing two gates, which might each have a deer or bear motif, to define an entryway into a garden at a mountain home.
Colour the gate appropriately for the space. Remove all scaled paint from a recycled gate, if a gate will be repurposed. Plan to paint the metal gate with metal primer. Choose a high-quality metal paint in black or white, for example. Always use several coats of paint to create a finish that will last for years. Hues such as green or brown may fit the garden space, but use paint to complement the house exterior if the garden gate will be right next to the home's front facade.
Tips and warnings
- Sandblast an old wrought iron gate to remove all rust, if this equipment is available. Otherwise, place the gate in a chemical bath to remove all of the rust and old paint. Paint the gate only after all surfaces are stripped down to the bare metal.
- Plan to install high-quality hardware. Never erect a gate with flimsy hardware, since weather will deteriorate cheap metal quickly. Invest in the best fittings, and purchase a lock if the space will need this kind of protection from unwelcome visitors.
- Avoid breathing paint remover. It's very caustic to the lungs, and some paint removers contain ingredients that are known carcinogens. Wear a respirator when stripping the paint from an old gate.
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