How should I determine the gate size I need?
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 wire 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, detach the rails fastened to the outside of the
movable posts and lift the fence section and posts out of the ground.
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. Plan locations and widths of gates to eliminate waste and
cutting sections down to size.