We come across unique challenges with each new project. This garden was very narrow and they wanted to hide the two large A/C units on all sides. This meant putting in a gate. The space was too small for a single gate so we designed a double gate. We prefer to use cedar when constructing with wood. Besides its beauty we appreciate its low-maintenance aspect. The downside of using wood, especially for gates, is its tendency to sag.
While it may not be evident from this photo, we have a narrow space that would make a single-gate impractical as it would require the client to move the potted plant each time they wanted to access the condenser units. We want to create a sturdy structure that will also remain attractive and low-maintenance. Using cedar wood, decking screws (vs nails), and cabling the doors are all means we use to lengthen the life of our wood doors.
We secure the braided cable well. A turnbuckle is used in the center of the cabling span. This allows the client to counter any sag with a simple turn, or two, of the turnbuckle. When we install the cabling we have the turnbuckle mostly extended. This gives the client the greatest ability to continually fight any sag in the gate.
When installing the cable set the upper eye-screw in the highest point in the vertical board that the hinge is attached and the lowest at the furthest out point on the horizontal board. This will give you the best ability to keep the gate horizontal for as long as the wood endures.
The below image better illustrates the orientation of the fasteners as well as the cable.
On this project our enclosure was 40 inches from the house at its furthest point. This created too long of a span for a single gate. As you can see in the photo below shorter gates allowed for more flexibility. We create a box to frame in the structure of our gates. This method provides a robust frame to attach the eye screws we use for support as well as a nailer for the facade.
The horizontal boards, carried from the gate, to the entire structure help the viewer’s eye moving around the structure and not focusing on the practical necessities involved.
You can just make out the cable in the upper left quadrant of the image. Also, while the hinges are packaged with screws we find them underwhelming. We prefer to use the same decking screws on the hinges that we use for the structure (1-1/2″ to 3″). Cedar wood is closer to the specified measurement. So a cedar 4″x4″ is almost 4″
Before we finish we ensure that all edges meet as cleanly as we can.
Above, the left gate is not quite shut all the way. You can just make out a crewman behind the gate. I asked him to pause the work (installing the cable) so that we could photograph the gates closed; well, almost!
We used 6×1’s for the facade. Originally the screen was going to be 1 level lower, but we found that an extra board suited the space better.
The functionality of the gate, which will only be used when the condenser units are serviced annually, is important in the design. While the client may not think twice about a large gate or two smaller ones anyone who accesses this area will appreciate the flexibility. We also appreciate seeing the finished product.
Posted by Shawn Michael, Co-owner of Ravenscourt Landscaping & Design LLC