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View Full Version : Gate entryway ideas needed


BostonBull
03-22-2009, 08:20 PM
I just installed a fence, and this gate is driving me nuts. There is a 10" grade change the way I have it now. In these pictures the posts, gate and ground are all dead level. The lawn side/backside of gate is the natural terrain.

Whaddya think????

BostonBull
03-22-2009, 08:22 PM
I should add that all the grass on the frontside of gate is being removed and replaced with mulch

amscapes03
03-22-2009, 10:07 PM
I'd probably start by replacing & making the vertical slats on the gate at variable lengths to contour the ground. From the longest (hinge side) to shortest (latch side). Looks like you custom made it yourself so it shouldn't be to hard to replace the slats. Can't tell if you used nails or screws, hopefully screws were used.

BostonBull
03-22-2009, 10:53 PM
The wood is all rough sawn. the real dark red wood is Larch (Larix decidua), and the lighter pinkish wood is Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). The pickets are 4' and the posts a bit higher. All posts are 36" minimum in the ground. Corners and gate posts are 6x6's. All pieces are screwed, using stainless screws with a rust oleum coating.

I would rather not stagger the pickets down. I want to build up an entryway of some sort. I posted here hoping to get some different ideas thrown around, and choose from them. I have one idea, and will post it later. I don't want to influence anyones ideas.

Your close by, wanna come by and draw something up?

riverwalklandscaping
03-23-2009, 01:27 AM
Is that a rwall I see without any cap stones?

BostonBull
03-23-2009, 06:50 AM
Is that a rwall I see without any cap stones?

Yes it is, but I do not believe thats relevant to my gate design, or is it?

landscaperbob
03-23-2009, 09:17 AM
You have 2 choices...pickets to the ground or raise ground up to gate. I don't care for the taller pickets on the house side. Lose the taller pickets & add soil to make a flat area @ gate. Always try to locate gates at a level spot. Try to put your high side rails as low as you can to lessen difference. Instead of making pickets longer, lower gate and cut off some on high side.

GMTA
03-23-2009, 01:04 PM
I would install a retaining wall on the latchside of the gate to raise up that area in the backyard level with your fencing that is enclosing the right of the backyard. Then install paver walk to the rear of house or whatever is back there...ie: patio, deck, etc. The lower section can be leveled as well between the new retaining wall and the foundation of the house and add landscaping as desired. Lowering the gate height might be needed or longer gate slates. On the frontside of the gate I would install another retaining wall on the latchside to retain the hill and landscaping desired. Continue with the walkway through the gate and add a staircase down to desired destination due to the grade. Need more pictures to determine what is going on with the grade/exit to the front driveway. And yes the retaining wall is important if you plan on added steps to the drive instead of leaping off onto the drive and defeating the purpose of the walk/exit.

BostonBull
03-23-2009, 01:15 PM
GMTA

thanks for the great post!!

the front of the gate leads to my retaining wall as noted, and really nothing else. I bring my mower around the side of the wall, across the back of the bed and through the gate. its a pseudo entryway, if you will. I just want to make it level, the easiest way possible and make it look good. This is a townhouse so I am not looking to sink loads MORE money into this place.

I was thinking a simple 4'-6' long walkway, with flagstones or other stepping stones, through my mulch bed. I envisioned retain.ing the load side up via granite cobbles, and installing a 5' wide slab of granite as a level step up at/under the gate. if needed I wold add someminor loam to th lawn side and slowl tape it to level off behind the granite step.

but then again I am just someArborit wih NO landscape design eperience!

GMTA
03-23-2009, 03:50 PM
No problem....only issue is I would have done the grading and retaining walls and then installed the fence. You may have to adjust many aspects of your fence if you want everything the way I am thinking. Also, eventhough your doing it yourself it could be rather costly to do all of this to a townhouse you may grow out of and I doubt you'll get what you want out of what you put into it money wise when it comes time to sell, depending on the area and other property values. Nice to have an end unit and an association that allows all of these upgrades!

BostonBull
03-23-2009, 04:25 PM
yes it would be awesome to put in a nice retaining wall like you have outlined. no its not going to happen, too costly! I am just looking for something simple, and cheap. that's why the granite step appealed to me. its cheap but looks really nice. I could easily build up the low side 4" or so with cobbles and that would look fine......but I was looking for other ideas I feel my idea is too simple...? I can move the gate down some, and that will lessen the amount I need to level. I am not worried about the lawn area, I can regrade as needed. ii want some minor curb appeal from the street.

you have any pictures of similar situations?

as for thye condo association....I live in a Condex, its a giant duplex, 2500 sq/ft each side. garage, private drive, etc etc. the big selling point is no association, and DEEDED private yards! we can do whatever we want to our homes, yards, land that we please. this was a big selling point for us and our neighbors who bought the other side.

BostonBull
03-23-2009, 06:57 PM
Here are a few examples of the granite step idea. Although none of the grades are as steep as mine, you get the idea of what I have been jammering on about. a small LEVEl flagstone/paver entry, maybe 5'x6' to a LEVEL step of some sort...granite/wood???



http://www.phoenixfenceanddeck.com/assets/images/Picket_2_2_with_arbor.jpg
http://www.prowellwoodworks.com/fences/fence_5_full.jpg

riverwalklandscaping
03-23-2009, 11:14 PM
If you want to save some cash continue cutting into the hill like you have been doing, make a light retaining wall like he said on the latch side, with some big stones from your woods (assuming they belong to you) or find a friend with some land and ask him to pluck a few out. Use the dirt from cutting into the hill to spread around after you put in the step (or tread) like you said to help make the grade on the other side and around the step less noticeable. Finally put some cap stones on the wall by the drive (just busting balls) and enjoy a nice beer.

BostonBull
03-23-2009, 11:29 PM
I am having a hard time seeing why I should retain the uphill side and not the downhill side instead.......any pictures of what you mean?

caps are on my list. they aren't that important. I would like to trade work for work with a hardscaper for the caps and the new england stepping stones patio I am putting out back.......or just the materials.

BostonBull
03-28-2009, 11:07 AM
Anyone else have any input on how to make this work with this incline?

This IS the hardscape forum correct?

Isobel
03-28-2009, 07:57 PM
This IS the hardscape forum correct?

It IS the hardscape forum. and you did get some responses. But if they aren't to your liking, try hiring a hardscaper in your area. While they may charge you for their time, they will work with you to get the answers you're looking for. The other option is to stay here, looking for advice for free, and complaining about not getting the right answers...

BostonBull
03-28-2009, 08:14 PM
I got change my gate, put caps on my retaining wall, and build a small retaining wall out of ***********? material.

I have PM'd a few hardscapers on this forum that are local. They all must be too slammed with work to look at a small job.

I have a guy coming by tomorrow.

I was hoping that someone here would maybe have ran into this situation in the past, and had some photos of how they handled it? I know what you guys that did responed want me to do with the small retaining wall, but dont what materials would go best. Thats where the pros eye would come in. I would also like to know what the best walkway materail would be to use.

Thanks for any help your willing to give, even if that means losing money while you do it!


*note to self, stop giving advice on stupid free forums I signed up on, about pruning/planting/caring for trees*

BostonBull
03-28-2009, 08:16 PM
It IS the hardscape forum. and you did get some responses. But if they aren't to your liking, try hiring a hardscaper in your area. While they may charge you for their time, they will work with you to get the answers you're looking for. The other option is to stay here, looking for advice for free, and complaining about not getting the right answers...


Funny you say that! I PM'd you to come up and do a design for me......never heard back. :confused:

Isobel
03-28-2009, 08:26 PM
Funny you say that! I PM'd you to come up and do a design for me......never heard back. :confused:

you're out of my area

and I don't do work for trade.

BostonBull
03-28-2009, 08:52 PM
understand about being out of area. responses are nice though.

the work for trade was a postscript, not in the main message.....

have a great weekend, albeit a wet one of what's left!

Isobel
03-28-2009, 09:03 PM
well, welcome to the internet and those "stupid free forums."

:laugh::laugh:

riverwalklandscaping
03-29-2009, 07:23 PM
This is why I would retain the higher side. I think it would be kinda silly to have one on the lower side so close to your house and that other retaining wall. Sorry it's just microsoft paint.

I don't think you need 'materials' like I said, there grade appears to need such a small retaining wall I would just throw some decent sized stones from the woods or whatever like I have in the pic. You could put a sub base in but It looks like you only need about 8 inches of wall, so a few large rocks 8 inches tall I would think would work. Maybe it's worse than the pics look like, but I can't tell.

BostonBull
03-29-2009, 07:37 PM
Thanks River!

I do see what you mean. When I retain the high side, I will then have to raise up the low side to meet gate clearance needs. (keep dogs from going under) My plan was to use a granite slab under the gate as a sort of step up into the area, and keep the clearance to a minimum.. With your idea I can save some money by not using this and just using stepping stones right into the lawn.


What would you do with the slope on the lawn side? My yard slopes for 30' or so into the yard so I would need quite the LONG walkway to make up for the slope. Thats why I was thinking the granite step would be a nice "break". I could simply add loam to the backside of the granite on the low side to make it so there is no "lip" showing on the low side.

This is tough for me to explain, I am sorry if its confusing...?

Would different camera angles help in anyway?

Thanks again to everyone for their help.

GMTA
03-29-2009, 08:39 PM
Different camera angles/more pictures and some estimates on grade or slope would be great since we are not able to come in person. Personally I think you rushed into putting that fence in if your plan was to regrade your yard. (obviously it was a necessity when you account having dogs and keeping them in)

I still stand by my thoughts on retaining the upper soil, adding a walkway toward the deck and driveway, landscaping specific areas, and grading to level lower areas.

If I had a customer concerned with their budget not meeting up with my proposed plan/estimate there are simple downgrades in material/design to fit the budget of almost anyone. riverwalklandscaping suggested a great way of using large stones from your area that are FREE and could hold back soil in the upper hill. Also natural stones are less expensive to buy! Stepping stones, river rock, or gravel are a great alternative to pavers and will be less expensive as well. There are many ways to cut back on the price but I believe you must set and have an attainable/accessible budget to really begin designing your upgrades.

GOOD LUCK!

BostonBull
03-29-2009, 08:55 PM
I do not want a pathway to my deck, drive, other retaining wall, or any other area. just a level area for LOOKS only. this gate will be used very rarely, and was put in out of necissity. If I put on the level side of fence it would have been on the property boundary, and led into my neighbors yard. I basically need to make this gate look presentable, and keep the dogs in. I also dont plan on leveling the yard. Just add some soil to the gate area for looks if need be.

Lets try some different angles......

BostonBull
03-29-2009, 08:56 PM
Heres one standing @ gate looking into yard.

flairland
03-30-2009, 02:25 PM
I don't feel like reading through the whole thread so someone might have mentioned this already, but all I would have done is cut the bottom of the gate to follow the grade - I know one side of the gate would be 10" 'taller' than the other side, but it would look fine.

PlatinumLandCon
03-30-2009, 04:05 PM
I don't feel like reading through the whole thread so someone might have mentioned this already, but all I would have done is cut the bottom of the gate to follow the grade - I know one side of the gate would be 10" 'taller' than the other side, but it would look fine.

Exactly. Hinges on the low side and you're set. No need for a retaining wall and all that.

BostonBull
03-30-2009, 07:10 PM
I know thats the simple solution, but I was looking for some curb appeal....

betmr
03-31-2009, 03:55 PM
I know thats the simple solution, but I was looking for some curb appeal....

I'm not giving you a hard time, I'm just gonna tell you what I see. I think the different shape of the fence to the right of the gate, looks bad to me, I feel the top rail should match up with the other top rail, I can't understand why you did it like that. And if the gate is normally closed, I would have followed the slope with that too. I think it would be more eye appealing. And I would change that right side piece of fence. NO of fence intended, but it looks like someone had 1 too many at lunch that day. And that is how it looks to me.

BostonBull
03-31-2009, 06:17 PM
Did it like that so my neighbors couldnt stare up onto my deck at me while I am sitting there enjoying myself. But I do see your point and will take that into consideration of changing that side.

betmr
03-31-2009, 11:35 PM
Did it like that so my neighbors couldnt stare up onto my deck at me while I am sitting there enjoying myself. But I do see your point and will take that into consideration of changing that side.


I'm glad you can see what I mean, I think it will look much better if you even it up, to me it stands out too much.

I looked at your other pix, If those are yours, nice work, they're some pretty fences!

BostonBull
04-01-2009, 07:07 AM
I cant take credit for them. Those were just examples of gates that were on uneven terrain, and had level entryways.


If I use cobbles to retain the slope, should I set them in cement or crushed stone, or....? I prefer the look of Granite/granite cobbles over fieldstone. The pathway otself will have flagstone stepping stones laid in mulch or crushed stone.....?

PatriotLandscape
04-01-2009, 08:45 PM
I would have made the posts level.

I would put a step at the gate to mitigate the change in grade.

riverwalklandscaping
04-01-2009, 08:55 PM
lol @ the no of-fence joke

I didn't realize how it looked from the driveway. Are you putting a path through the mulched area toward the gate? Also if you cut it out like I did, I was thinking a taller gate would solve the problem. It would still be level at top and bottom, and you wouldnt need to bring up the bottom side.

BostonBull
04-01-2009, 09:46 PM
Patriot
the posts are dead level! theres that much of a grade change. and I absolutely agree with the step, that's what I am focusing this around is a 5' wide grsanite step