Of course first impressions people have of your garden is the gate. You will want it to reflect the personality of your garden and give visitors an idea of what awaits them.
Types of Garden Gates
The most obvious choices of gate materials have got to be wood and metal however bamboo is also becoming a more popular material in gardens.
Think of a garden gate and most people will think of one made from wood. They can be very traditional or very modern. Wood can be shaped and stained to take on the appearance you wish. You may want the gate to be solid so that people can't look in, or perhaps you have such a beautiful garden you want to show it off to all passers by.
For a slightly different look you can even combine wood with other materials such as iron.
Iron can be truly elegant and sleek or even rustic. The metal can be bent into almost any shape you desire. It can be free-flowing and organic or even geometrical.
Want a feeling of calm and Zen? Then bamboo is they way to go. It will give your garden a more exotic/Japanese look. Bamboo, like wood, can be put together to form a solid gate which is great for gardens that wish to be private.
Caring for a Garden Fence
Wood tends to be a high maintenance product but can have a very long life if it is cared for properly. As with other wood products in your garden you will need to do some sanding and staining every few years to keep it looking good.
Bamboo, like wood, will need regular maintenance. After installing bamboo, a coating of polyurethane should be applied to help protect it from the elements. Make sure that the polyurethane has UV protection.
For really low maintenance, wrought iron beats them all. It's generally rust-resistant however you can paint it if needed. Paint will also help protect it from rust.
Cost of Buying a Garden Gate
There is a difference in price between these materials. Wood will tend to be the least expensive out of the three natural products. The price will depend on what type of wood you want to use. Cedar is the most common type used outdoors because of its natural bug resistance.
You will have to pay more for iron and the price can depend greatly on how much detail goes into the design. The more complex the design the more man-hours required to make it become a reality.
Looking again to the east, bamboo country house plans can be found with great frequency in southeast Asia in countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. In these areas the natural abundance of bamboo and its easy manipulation makes it a most desirable building material. It is not always easy to find bamboo, but with its growing presence in home building more and more outlets are carrying it. Your local nursery and the American Bamboo Society are two places that are sure to have information about bamboo to get you started.
One of the great things about working with bamboo is that it naturally splits evenly. An example of the clean bamboo spits that everyone has experienced is the fishing pole. Although bamboo splits easily, you should proceed with caution, as bamboo is also razor sharp. This material can effortlessly slice the skin and leave a significant cut if you aren't careful. As with any home project where cutting is involved, always have a first aid kit nearby and supervise children at all times to avoid injury.
Timber generally takes 10-50 years to harvest, whereas bamboo is harvested in 3-5 years. Bamboo is also replenished with little or no impact to the environment. It produces more oxygen than trees, which is critical in the reduction of carbon dioxide gases that contribute significantly to global warming.