When one constructs a fence, one must provide access through said fence. A good garden/farm gate is sturdy, large enough for people or vehicles to pass through, opens/closes easily and most importantly: keeps critters out or in. Gates can of course be purchased at any good farm store…. but we like to do things a little differently.
Here on Birdsong Farm we liked to ‘waste not’ and get creative with the materials we have on hand. Thanks to a rotten roof and untidy previous owners – we have a LOT of “materials” to work with. Granted, 30 year old dry and cracked wood full of bent and rusty nails wouldn’t usually be my first choice in building materials, but they are what we happen to have and actually make for pretty attractive gates. My husband loves the weathered look of our gates and after a few uses and weeks in the weather, the splinters get worn away making attractive and functional access to our yard and garden areas. Our first gates hang on our yard fence, keeping our corgi in and safe from the log trucks. The latest gates hang on our garden, to keep out deer and other pests plus keep ducks and chickens in or out when using them in the garden or outside in a mote to manage pests and weeds around the garden. I wouldn’t test these gates with a horse or pig, but they should keep out deer and ducks just fine!
My husband built each of our gates to fit their space perfectly and they really work well for next to no money invested. He’ll be adding some wood burned embellishments soon to make them even more attractive and for now they’re doing their job. The wood was all reclaimed from the property and items purchased from the farm store include the hinges, hangers and latches. Each gate cost us under $30 and fit perfectly. Not bad! Sure – we could have gone to the store and spent several hundreds of dollars each on ‘proper gates’ but then we wouldn’t have that money available for seeds and hoses and other garden essentials. Instead, we spent some time to reclaim otherwise wasted material to create a brand new structure we’re both super proud of. Construction was relatively simple once the design was laid out and we’d be happy to share our plans with anyone interested in building some homemade gates.
We also have a large gate to allow the truck and tractors to enter the garden. Andy was mulling over the best way to construct that gate when i got the idea: hang two cattle panels in the space and remove them as needed. The total cost of the panels was $60 to fill a 12 foot span – much less than a standard metal farm gate and much easier to construct (with no sagging) than our other wooden gates. I think it was a really great solution and is so far working quite well. Getting the panels down is a little tricky but no problem with a second pair of hands.
What have you built using ‘waste’ materials?