Friday, February 25, 2011

Build A Decorative Gate

Decorating a gate will give it character, color and charm.

A gate lends structure and privacy to a property's border. It provides an entrance for the homeowner and residents, and access to the home for visitors. Those are the "functional" qualities of a gate. However, you can make your gate go beyond being a mere functional structure. You can take your gate from the "usual and customary" to one that's full of personality and style. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Select a style for the gate. The style can be country, eclectic, or modern. Use a style that will coordinate with the exterior of your home and the color scheme of your garden.

2. Create a country look by using wood for the gate. Use a ready-made wooden gate from a home improvement store -- or create a gate as a DYI project, using 2-by-4 wood. The wood can be stained or painted. Painting the wooden gate white will give the gate a traditional country look. Decorate the gate with county or "carriage style" hardware for the latch and hinges. Plant iconic country flowers such as sunflowers or black-eyed Susans, or climbing vines or roses to grow around the country gate. Add vintage metal advertising signs and for a more "artsy" look.

3. Make a gate that's eclectic. You can use unconventional materials such as the bed springs, or re-purpose an old wooden door. Use fence posts to give structure for the gate. Give it an eclectic look by painting the slats and boards of a wood gate different colors. Instead of painting the wood one uniform color, use several. Pick up color schemes from your house. For example, to decorate a gate for a white house with blue shutters, you can paint the wood slats white, blue and orange. Or, you can create a floral mural as the backdrop on a white painted gate. Plant orange pansies, white alyssum and blue creeping phlox in containers. Place the containers by the gate exterior, or use the flower color scheme to plant the flowers in the ground by the gate entrance.

4. Attach and "repurpose" bed springs to a wood or metal frame and posts to attach the bed spring. The posts can then serve as a structure to decorate the gate with trailing and climbing vines and flowers. Consider bougainvillea or mandevilla for a colorful planting. Either will provide a colorful contrast between the weathered rust color of the springs and the vivid pink colors of the bougainvilleas, or the pink, white or yellow colors of mandevilla. Get small pictures or tiles from yard sales or discount stores, and give them a protective coating of a polyurethane varnish and attach them to the springs of the gate. Create an arbor over the gate for the plantings in a contrasting color.

5. Give your gate a modern look by using wrought iron. The key to creating a modern look is to take a "minimalist" approach in terms of the materials used to form the gate, staying away from ornate decorations and embellishments. Keep accents simple, such as a custom monogram of the initial for your family's last name, or add your address on the gate. Use simple planters such as enamel containers to flank the gate. Keep plantings simple and stately, such as a dwarf juniper, prune a rose bush into topiary or pot one variety of flowers such as fuchsias or petunias to drape over a container.

Tags: your gate, climbing vines, color scheme, country look, decorate gate, flowers such, gate from