What are the Different Options for Gate Designs?

Jeri Sullivan

Gate designs vary widely based on the materials used and the purpose of the gate. The different options for gate designs include decorative gates, driveway gates, security gates, privacy gates, and garden gates. The different options for gate materials include wooden pickets, wrought iron, and vinyl.

Wrought iron gates can be both functional and decorative.
Wrought iron gates can be both functional and decorative.

Decorative gate designs may be either functional or purely decorative. The gate itself can be used as wall art indoors and often includes swirling, floral, or geometric designs. Gates for decorative purposes may not provide security or privacy, so when choosing a decorative design, make sure any functional needs for the gate are considered. Decorative gates can cost significantly more than traditional gates if they are designed by a well-known artist, such as the renowned Charleston, South Carolina, artist Philip Simmons, so budget should also be considered.

Gates should be designed with both the fence and the home in mind.
Gates should be designed with both the fence and the home in mind.

Driveway gates are used both to make an entrance statement and for security. The gate spans the driveway entrance to a home or business and can be constructed of either metal or wood. In rural settings, a driveway gate may be as simple as metal tubular fencing that is latched with a loop of rope over an adjacent fence post. When a vehicle approaches the driveway, the driver must get out of the vehicle, unlatch the gate, and push it forward to enter. Once the vehicle has entered the driveway and cleared the gate, the driver then has to get out and re-latch the gate.

Security gates are used primarily to keep unwanted visitors out of a specified area. The gates are usually constructed of metal and operate with an electronic sensor. If the security gate is manned, a person would have to approve entrance and send a signal to open the gate. If the security gate is unmanned, the person wanting entrance would have to enter an approved code into a keypad located near the gate to gain entry. Security gate designs include chain link, iron post, or electrified gates.

Privacy gate designs often include tall wooden or vinyl pickets. These types of gates are usually for residential backyards or surrounding hot tubs and swimming pools. The gate is made of the same material as the fence surrounding the yard and is made with pickets tall enough to prevent people from looking over. The pickets are also placed close enough together that people cannot look through the slats between pickets.

Garden gate designs are intended to keep the garden area identified and cordoned off more than for security or privacy purposes. A garden gate is mainly constructed as wooden picket gates but, unlike privacy gates, are often short enough to easily see over. Garden gates may also be made from wrought iron or wire mesh such as chicken wire.

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