First impressions are everything. What does your garden say?

A reader recently commented about our garden entrance and how we made it. We actually put quite a bit of love and time into our test garden and we’d love to share how we built it.Tomato Plant Support Ring Garden

“Was watching your video, what a lovely gate. How was that made and where did you find the ornament for the gate? Thank you.”

The garden gate: “Keep out” Or “Cometh Thee Hither”

What is it about a gated garden that intrigues us so? While a closed gate can be a means to deny entrance, an interesting gate on even the most ordinary fence can also send an invitation to come and savor, beckoning us with the promise that something wonderful lives beyond that gate. Even a small patch of flowers or unremarkable edibles takes on an almost magical feel with the addition of an eye-catching gate. A fun, artistic, or architecturally-interesting garden gate is the perfect place to make a statement about your own garden room – how you feel about it, what it is to you. It’s your chance to set the mood.

Your garden reflects the gardener!

Perhaps you’d like your garden to have the romantic, other-world feel of an old cemetery, ornate and curlicued.  A flea market search should turn up a number of old metal gates, which can be used as-is in all its rusted glory, or even mounted onto a larger, sturdy wooden gate. (If using any kind of metal ornamentation affixed to a wooden gate, you’ll need to choose hinges and posts heavy-duty enough to support the extra weight.) Or maybe what gives your garden its zing is flat-out color! Think about waking up a ho-hum wooden gate, even one with no unusual features, by painting it a “Wow” color – or several colors! Or use stencils and outdoor paint to create climbing vines or sunflowers. Perhaps you’ll start with a standard-size purchased gate, but there are almost limitless ways to add “interesting bits” to give it your garden door a one-of-a-kind personality. In fact, you could add a fun, free-standing but functional gate to the front of your garden even if there’s no fence to go with it! The gateway to your garden should be whatever pleases your eye and draws you in to enjoy the fruits of your labors or to meander out in the early morning to savor the first sip of your favorite beverage.

A renewed garden — and a brand new garden gate

When we rehabbed our original Veggie Cage test garden, we needed to replace the old gate which had seen better days. To celebrate our new garden space, we wanted a gate that would make that space seem larger and grander than it actually is. An oversize gate would do the trick, soaring upward to give the suggestion of a grandiose span beyond.   Because most gates available at home improvement stores are a standard 4’, we built our own, using 1’ X 6’ treated deck boards. The dark metal decoration, purchased at Lowes Home Improvement, was actually intended as an in-ground hanging basket holder, but its relatively flat shape worked very nicely as an ornament on the face of the gate.  We first laid the constructed gate on the ground, placing the ornament where it would go, then pencil traced the inside of the circle to be cut out, which would provide a window into the garden. The circle was cut out with a jig saw before the gate was hung. Next, we predrilled mounting holes to the frame of the ornament, then attached it with short deck screws.   In keeping with the desired oversize look, we chose large black gate hinges (which also aid in supporting the extra weight of the gate), as well as massive gateposts (6 x 6) topped by copper post caps. Because hanging baskets grown in the sun would need constant watering, we chose instead to hang chimes, which ring a welcome each time the gate is opened. The result was a garden entrance with enough “pizzazz” to draw the eye down the path and into the garden beyond.

Thanks so much to our readers for inquiring about our new garden gate!