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Our Buying Guide

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Buying Guide

Here at Garden Gates Direct, we believe that whilst the primary role of a gate, fence or railing is to provide security, it is also important that it looks good too. Picking the right design can add value to your property whilst getting it wrong can leave your home looking out of character and therefore less desirable.

We therefore suggest that when choosing your preferred design you take into account some of the below information to aid you with your decision.

Choosing the Material

Unless you are familiar with the terminology used on our website selecting the appropriate material for gates that suits your individual requirements is not quite as easy as it may first appear. With many factors needing to be taken into account it is easy to base your purchase on price alone however this can prove costly in terms of the level of security you may achieve, how practical the gates are to use on a daily basis and how durable they may be when exposed to the ever changing UK weather.

With this in mind here we have compiled the following information to help you make the right purchasing decision.



Timber Gates Explained

Within our range of gates constructed from wooden components we have numerous options to choose from each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here we take a closer look.

Softwood (untreated) Gate Designs

The majority of our wooden gate designs are constructed using smooth planed Scandinavian Redwood as this proves to be the most cost effective solution for the end customer as it is a timber that is readily available.

Bordeaux modern double wooden driveway gate design  Dorset arched wooden garden gate design  Essex shaped top wooden estate gate design

However it is important to be aware that gates of this nature will require more ongoing maintenance than a steel gate or one made using the materials detailed below. This basically means that in addition to having to stain or paint the gate prior to installation you will need to keep repeating this process every 18 months to 2 years (or sooner if in a really exposed location) in order that the wood does not start to deteriorate due to being exposed to the inclement (and usually damp) UK climate.

Pressure Treated Timber Gates

Constructed using the same Scandinavian Redwood as detailed above our pressure treated range of gates offer far high levels of protection against the elements than an untreated variation. This is because the timber is injected with a preservative to help prevent rot and decay. The downside is that due to this process the gates will be supplied with a greenish stain on them that does not take stain/varnish very well.

Pressure treated wooden gate designs examples

This is normal and cannot be avoided however the colour will fade down over time and should you wish to stain the gates we suggest this is not completed until the timber has gone back to a more natural colour (otherwise the green preservative may bleed through to the surface affecting the finished appearance of your new gates).

The only other negative point of having the gates supplied pressure treated is the additional cost. However we do have a number of affordable standard designs online which may be of interest including the Drayton Wooden Estate Gates, Hampton Wooden Garden Gate and Windsor Wooden Side Gate

Hardwood Gates

Without doubt the most attractive and durable material which gates are constructed from a set of hardwood gates will last a lifetime if correctly installed and maintained. However sitting at the top of the price spectrum they may not be affordable for the masses.

Click here to find out more about our range of Hardwood Gates.



Timber Gate Construction

When choosing a new gate consider whether security, cost or design will play the major role in your purchasing decision. Remember that not all gates are equal with some being constructed from far stronger and thicker materials than others. Here we detail the 2 most common types.

Ledge & Braced Designs

This type of wooden gate is the most basic of designs however remains a fairly strong option for the homeowner working to a budget.  They feature a relatively simple construction that comprises of vertical boars clad to timber bracing on the back face (hence the name). 

The drawback is that they are only available up to a width of 1070mm (3ft 6”) due to the fact that anything wider (and heavier) than this will result in the gate wanting to sag under its own weight. 

Framed Gates

Manufactured using far heavier duty timbers these gates offer superior levels of strength and design possibilities than the aforementioned ledge and brace style. Constructed using time proven joinery techniques such as mortise and tenon joints they provide an affordable yet effective means of securing entrances around your home whilst maintaining a price you can afford.

As the name suggests wooden gates of this nature are constructed with a 3-4” outer framework (and rear bracing) with a recessed infill panel of various design usually made up of tongue and groove boards. In some instances timber is also combined with decorative steel elements such as finials, spiral bars etc to achieve a higher level of aesthetic appeal.



Metal Gates Explained

Within our online shop we have hundreds of size and design options to choose from when looking to buy a metal gate for your garden or driveway. With massive differences in price here we have detailed the main characteristics to look out for when making your purchasing decision.



As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive the gate the higher the specification will be. This means that a cheap metal gate at only £50 will be nowhere near as strong and rigid as one priced at £500 so please do not confuse the two. With this in mind if you have a particular requirement please pay close attention to the steel specification within the product description of each design and remember that anything with infill bars of 10mm or less will be mainly decorative, anything with 12mm infill bars will provide a medium level of strength and security and anything over this as being amongst the more robust of designs we have available.


With many size options available online to suit most common opening widths you should be able to find something to suit your requirements in no time at all. If for any reason you don’t find what you are looking for take a look at our made to measure gates page.

Please remember that not all metal gates have the same specification of components therefore 2 gates of similar design will not necessarily be able to provide the same level of performance in terms of strength, rigidity and security. If in doubt as to what will best suit your needs or do not know what to choose please feel free to fill in our online enquiry form and we will be on hand to provide assistance.



Common Metal Gate Designs 

Within our range of products we have numerous design options to choose from. In fact the only style we do not currently offer are sliding gates. Here we take a look at what options are available to choose from.

Garden Gates

Despite the name suggesting they are only used for the garden a gate of this design is perhaps the most common option of all the styles available. Suitable for front entrances, side passageways or any other location where a low level security barrier is required our prices start from around £50 making them great value for money. Suitable for mounting directly to brickwork (no need to build in the hinge pins) or where no support is available they can also be mounted to metal or timber posts making them not only affordable but simple to install.

Although we have no definitive definition we tend to class our garden gates as anything up to 4ft in width and 4ft in height.

Side Gates

Suitable for securing side entrances or areas where a higher level of security is required our range of metal side gates come in over 15 designs ensuring we have an option to suit all tastes and budgets.

Common heights within this range of gates is 6ft upwards and when combined with an upgraded lock and key they can provide optimum levels of security to areas of your home that need the most protection.

Double (Driveway) Gates

Available in over 20 designs our large choice of metal driveway gates are an excellent choice where you need to secure a large opening such as the entrance of your drive or any other similar space. Comprised of 2 equal half`s the gate leaves swing back on the pillars / posts when open and are held in the closed position thanks to the benefit of a drop bolt (larger gates may feature a pair of drop bolts) and either a sliding or tipping latch depending on the design selected. 

Driveway Gates are available to suit many standard sizes opening ranging from 7ft up to 16ft in width.

Bi Folding Gates

 An excellent choice for the homeowner that has limited parking space or where the driveway slopes upwards towards the house a bi folding gate will concertina back onto itself thus requiring only half the swinging radius of a set of 50/50 split double gates.

Estate Gates

Generally used to provide the optimum level of security to the entrance of the driveway a well made set of wrought iron estate gates are a thing to behold. Not only do they provide an imposing physical security barrier but they also help to enhance the appearance of your home.

Available in a range of standard sizes up to 16ft in width and 7ft in height we have numerous options available including the ever popular Royal TalismanCorfe and Royal Ascot designs.

  • To view our full range of options visit our estate gates page that details all the options.

2/3rd to 1/3rd Split Gates

Although not the most popular of options these types of gates are a great option for the homeowner that will use the driveway as a pedestrian entrance. Due to the unequal size of the 2 leafs the shorter one requires a smaller swinging radius making it less of an effort to open. This type of gate is also a great option where an obstruction on the driveway (such as a pillar, wall or or similar object) may prevent a larger gate from opening fully.

For more information on this type of gate design call now on 0844 804 5577 or fill in our online form and we will be happy to run through the options with you.



Gate Finishes

Wooden Gates – Unless expressly stated within the product description all our timber gate designs are supplied untreated and unfinished. At this time we do not offer a staining or painting service.

Metal Gates, Garden Railings and Fence Panels – With the exception of the VeronaHenleyWeston and Warwick design our complete range of wrought iron style products are supplied with a black primer (undercoat) finish as standard. It is important to understand that this is not the finished top coat. You will need to apply at least 2 coats of high grade exterior grade paint to all the metal surfaces to achieve the required levels of protection against the elements.

Do not install without painting them first as the steel will begin to rust once exposed to the elements. This is not a manufacturing fault!

If you do not want the hassle of painting the product yourself we can also supply any of our metal designs with zinc plated (electro galvanised) and powder coated finishes. Visit this page to find out more information about or range of paint finishes.



Ordering Sizes

In order to avoid any costly ordering mistakes please make sure you fully understand the below information. If you are unsure what size to order please feel free to call or email for advice.

Metal Gates

The sizes listed in the dropdown box within each product page details the SIZE OF THE OPENING THE GATE WILL FIT INTO. It does not represent the physical width of the gate so please do not confuse the 2 as you will order the wrong size.

  • Correct Ordering Example – The width shown in the drop down menu shows 914mm (3ft). This basically means that if the distance between pillars, posts, brickwork etc matches 914mm (3ft) then the gate will fit.
  • Incorrect Ordering Example – The width shown in the drop down box shows 2438mm (8ft) but your opening is 8ft 4”. The 2 measurements do not match so please do not order these as your mistake will prove costly.


Click here to read the measuring guide


Illustrated below is an example of what happens if you get the measurements wrong and end up ordering the incorrect size (this one by quite a bit). As you can see from this picture the gates are not wide enough and as such the hinges have had to be extended out way beyond the recommend amount. This results in a excessively large gap been present between the frame of the gates and the wall. The work around solution to this was to fit some metal strips to the brickwork to bring the opening back down to the width that was ordered.

Wooden Gates

All timber products are detailed by the physical width and height of the gate. No allowance has been made for the additional space you will need for the hinges and latch so make sure you factor this in when choosing the appropriate size to order.

If you are unsure please contact us for advice or refer to the measuring guide for more detailed information on this subject.





Further Reading

To further guide you through the order process we have compiled a number of additional useful pages that you may wish to read. If so click the links shown below to navigate to the relevant topic.

Choosing the Material

Choosing the Style

Consider Security

Adding Privacy