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Entering the Garden Landscape: Garden Gates

Posted on by Alison Strickler


I frequently hear the words ‘mystery’ and ‘sense of discovery’ used here as defining qualities that are important in a garden landscape, and creating an intriguing threshold is one way to heighten that experience.


A threshold – any place in a garden when you move from one area to another – creates a question in the mind of a garden visitor: what’s beyond that door? What’s under that arbor? Where do those steps lead?


The most obvious threshold in a garden is a door or gate, and I delved into our archives to find a few favorites. Each of these gates draw on characteristics of the home’s architecture and elements of the garden, including their scale, materials, location, shape, and in the plantings that surround them. I’ve placed images of the garden or home next to the gates to give you a sense of how they relate.


This gate leads from the front of an English Cottage style home to a long allee of apple trees. From there you can get to the ‘secret garden’ shown at right.

Photo: Linda Oyama Bryan


These two gates are  within a single garden landscape for a house designed by Robert A.M. Stern. My favorite is the ‘hobbit’ door. Below the two gates is the garden.

Photo credit: Linda Oyama Bryan

Photo credit Linda Oyama Bryan


This next gate draws on and enhances the geometries present in a walled garden.


Photos: Linda Oyama Bryan

Like other structural elements in a garden, a beautifully-designed gate helps to maintain the garden’s structure and form through that part of the year when nothing blooms.  Here is the same gate, which leads to a children’s garden, in two seasons.


Photo: Linda Oyama Bryan


Which is your favorite?

2 Responses to Entering the Garden Landscape: Garden Gates

  1. Pingback: Thresholds in the Garden Landscape: Garden Steps | The Shouting Hare

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