In general, gate widths should be kept to a minimum.
Regardless of if you are shopping for a gate for a small backyard fence or a commercial
facility, choose a gate size based on its use. For residential use, you will need to
consider and possibly check the measurements on the following:
Lawn Care Maintenance Equipment and Pedestrian
Gates: Typically 3' wide gates are sufficient for push mowers; riding
lawnmowers usually require 4-5' wide openings. Wheelbarrows can require a 4' wide
opening. Always measure these items and any others you want to push, pull, and carry
through the gates. Also keep in mind doors in most houses are only 36" wide.
All sorts of large cumbersome items can fit through these openings.
Driveway Gates and Vehicle Access Gates:
Consider that most highways are only approx. 10' wide. People have no trouble
driving 65 MPH+ on a 10' wide road. Most driveway gates are 10' or 12' wide, however
some are larger. Larger driveway gates are often installed because a vehicle will not or
cannot pull in straight; vehicles will be turning as they drive through the gate opening.
This is especially important for vehicles pulling trailers and boats.
Semi-Annual Traffic: Frequently our
customers have wanted larger gates for the septic tank truck or to be prepared in case
they need to get a backhoe in for repair. This is excellent forethought, however a large
gate can be unnecessary and add extra cost to your project. In such instances where
a gate only needs accessed a couple times a year, consider installing 2-3 removable
sections of fence. This can be done at a modest cost and it is not any more
laborious than installing the fence to begin with. There is more than one way to do
this, the method is dependent on the style of fence being installed. For aluminum
and vinyl fence, it is frequently done by cementing sleeves in the ground flush with grade
in lieu of the posts. These sleeves, which can be made from galvanized steel, aluminum, or
treated lumber, are approx. 18" long. They are slightly larger than the fence
posts so that the fence posts can slide into them. Shim post(s) if necessary. Once
fence post sleeves are cemented in the ground, install the fence as usual only for one or
two posts, slide these into the sleeves versus cementing in ground. To remove
section of fence, remove the horizontal rails, remove section fence, and remove post.
To sum, gates are the only part of the fence which move.
They are also the only part of the fence which tends to get abused. Years of
experience have taught us that the smaller the gate - the better. Smaller gates will last
longer, be less finicky years later, and cheaper to replace should they ever fail or get
damaged. As far as expense is concerned, in many case it makes very little
difference. For example, if you need 10' of fence with a man gate, you can order 7'
of fence with a 3' gate or 6' of fence and a 4' gate - the net result is you need to cover
10'; you can install less gate and more fence or vice versus. Aluminum and vinyl
fence sections are sold in sections, 6', 7-1/2', and 8' wide depending on style.
Plan locations and widths of gates to eliminate waste and cutting sections down to size.