We all love the anticipation of getting a glimpse of something hidden. This is the appeal of the perfectly wrapped birthday present or the smart red front door. It is boring when everything is on display and there are no surprises. Garden designers know this better than anyone. They are masters of providing focal points, borrowing adjacent landscapes and building rooms into a garden space. There is an irony in the fact that as we are opening up our houses into vast open plan areas, we are carving up our gardens into separate zones and rooms. There may be a message here somewhere?
So, the humble garden gate, whether it is made of simple metal, timber slats or is a more substantial piece of engineering set into a wall, provides an entrance that is both enticing and attractive.
Behind the Blue Door
The ubiquitous blue door throughout the Mediterranean is historically believed to ward off evil spirits which is why they are so prevalent – they are also particularly beautiful. Ornate and sturdy, they offer protection for the houses behind and if you are lucky enough to get a glimpse through one, you will usually see the most beautiful interior courtyard, particularly in Southern Spain and Morocco.
Related: My Guide to Moroccan Style
Dating back centuries to years of terrible conflict, the whole deal of Street Appeal did not exist. Rather protection was the key and the beauty and serenity were to be found in the magnificent gardens behind the doors which were only for the owners and their guests to see.
The Little Black Garden Gate
One of my favourite trim colours to go with brick – particularly beautiful aged bricks – is black. A garden gate painted a simple black is smart and elegant and provides a perfect focal point at the end of an entrance path. The gate is not forbidding but rather a stylish statement as a pointer to what lies behind it.
Remember the garden designer’s trick of having a focal point – a gate like this provides it, particularly when the path is flanked by graceful hedges that funnel you through to your destination.
The traditional garden gate
Traditional timber is also a great choice for a garden gate and is often used to soften a colour scheme. When you use cement render, powdercoated aluminium and steel on an exterior, it is amazing the difference that a timber accent can bring to the end result. Being a natural product, you don’t need to worry about matching colour tones as it just naturally works and of course aged or reclaimed timber is even better.
Before Vita Sackville-West designed Sissinghurst, she worked on a starter garden, Long Barn in Kent. This is her door that takes you between garden rooms here. If you have an interest in garden design then I highly recommend that you click through on the link above to read more about this gorgeous garden.
A traditional white garden gate built into a garden wall gives you a classic country style look. There is no doubt that if you were on the other side of this gate it would be very tempting to want to look through.
And a new take on the classic white garden gate. This keeps the look simple and uncluttered, modern but traditional at the same time.
See behind the garden gate
So, you like the idea of a gate – something that offers some protection and provides a definite boundary to your space but you don’t like the idea of being hemmed in. Then aluminium, wrought iron or open timber slatted gates is the way to go. They still provide a natural break and some anticipation of what lies behind – some of the view is hidden and the rest remains, which is a great tantaliser.
As we are introducing metalwork into screens and garden artworks, it follows that we can use these designs for gates too. Either set into a gorgeous garden wall as in the one above, or as a standard size gate, the look is very effective.
I would love to hear from you if you have a garden design underway and are looking at incorporating a beautiful gate into your scheme. Did you know I have a Free Resource Library? This has e-books and checklists to help you with your next renovation project and I add to it monthly. You can sign up for free here.