How to Design Ranch Gates

Well-planned wide gates make a bold statement about property boundaries at an entrance or exit.
Strong hinges are critical to secure heavy gates to posts or columns.Strong hinges are critical to secure heavy gates to posts or columns.
These gates create an official line of demarcation concerning visitors, but they can look visually appealing and inviting as well. Metal or wooden gates with an image from nature, such as outlines of horses or trees, will look appropriate for ranch gates. Strong materials that will withstand a lot of use are critical, however. Wide gates create more stress on framework and hinges. Ranch gates should last for many years with basic upkeep, if good materials are used initially.

Step 1

Measure the gate space. Leave room for columns or posts on either side. Plan to use double gates that are each 4 to 8 feet wide with a locking system in the middle where the gates meet.

Step 2

Sketch the ideal gate system for visual appeal. Use a symbol from the ranch or farm, if you like, on each gate. Create metal framework and add wooden images cut from cedar, for example. Ask a metal specialist to help create a special design with scroll work or family initials as another option.

Step 3

Plan the posts or columns. Build block columns of concrete blocks or cinder blocks covered with stucco or bricks, for instance. Use heavy-duty round or square metal posts sunk into 3 feet of concrete as another option. Don’t use wooden posts, because wood will not sustain gate hardware over time like metal or concrete structures.

Step 4

Buy hardware to support the gate. Install an in-ground metal socket where the gates meet. Use this socket to receive a gate drop-down bar to keep the gates closed when desired. Add a heavy duty locking system or automatic key-less lock, if needed.

Step 5

Add special safety features for overseeing protection. Install a camera near the gate in a tree, for example, to watch for unwelcome visitors. Add a speaker system to talk from the house or another building to those desiring entry at the gate. Use motion detector lights or alarms to enhance the security further, if desired.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Sketch pad

About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.