A gateway marks an opening in an enclosure and a threshold into the landscape. Designed thoughtfully,it can beckon to a stroller to enter the realm within.
Sometimes gates are designed to look continuous with their neighboring fence, built of the same materials and patterns in order to blend in with the surroundings. Piers, special columns, or a change in height, style, or color are all ways to turn a break in a wall or fence into the highlight of an enclosure.
Building a pergola or trellis overhead can also help distinguish an opening from its surroundings. Also when planted with a flowering vine that tendrils above, a gateway provides visitors with a delightful garden experience.
right • Handsome finialtopped wooden posts interrupt this continuous line of pointed pickets. Diagonal bracing keeps a gate’s frame square to the post so it’s easy to open.
A subtle but important detail is to place a large threshold stone under the gateway opening to indicate that this is a place to pause and appreciate the landscape ahead.
In addition when possible, locate any steps away from the gateway opening since stepping up or down while operating a gate can be tricky.
right • An inexpensive splitrail fence backed with welded wire fabric provides a clean enclosure for this horse paddock.
right • The handsome wooden gate marks the entry to a stone staircase. The retaining walls are made of rough stone that contrasts well with the smooth painted finish of the gate.
below • The patterning of this fence and gate provide the structure for growing hops vines (Humulus lupulus). The path material flows out below the gate, indicating where to enter.
A Birdhouse Post
Finally, Fences need many posts in order to support them and keep them standing (especially when on a curve, as in the example shown).
Why not have them do double duty and use one, or even many, of them as a birdhouse as well?