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What is a Garden Door?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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A garden door typically leads to a backyard. Lower level apartments as well as houses have these types of doors. While a sliding glass door is common, French doors that lead outside are often preferred.

French doors are a matched, double door set that opens and closes in the center. These double panels make a convenient garden entrance and exit because, unlike the sliding glass door types, both sides open up to create one large space. The bigger space means easier furniture moving, as a sliding glass door typically has one stationary side and only one panel that slides. This leaves only half of the width of the doorway in which to move items in and out. Many sofas and other large furniture items don't fit in only half of a doorway.

French garden doors often have glass inserts that give them an attractive, airy look. Another advantage French backyard doors have over sliding glass ones is that they can feature textured glass as well as other material to cut down on fingerprints as well as add style. Glass patio sliding doors are usually uniform in their design and have only a thin metal frame. They are usually just two glass rectangles set in a frame with a built-in handle for opening and closing.

Double types of French garden doors have different handle options available. Their hardware can be matched to the style of the home. For example, a modern house may feature wing-shaped, nickel handles, while a more traditional home's double garden door may have classic brass doorknobs.

In many houses, a garden door opens onto a backyard deck. There may be a few stairs that lead from the deck into the yard. Basement apartments may have a small cement patio and garden area rather than a sundeck. Many homes have a garden door located between the kitchen and family room or dining area.

Garden door design often allows a portion of the backyard's views of flowers, trees and lawn to show through from inside a home. Aside from the view alone, garden doors can allow light to enter the home in a larger amount that most windows can't since the door height starts right at the floor. Many people prefer garden doors that swing outward, or slide, when being opened rather than the inward swinging kind. If garden doors are installed to swing inward when opened, furniture can't be positioned anywhere near the doorway.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Jul 11, 2011

You have to be careful putting in those lovely French doors with the clear glass outlook, particularly if you have children. Often if the glass is too clear, kids don't see it and can crash into it when they are running in from the garden. You might also get birds flying into the glass by mistake. It is bad enough when they bruise themselves but if the glass breaks they could be seriously harmed.

If you are going to have glass doors you should put some stickers or suncatchers on them. Suncatchers look nice and they could save your kids as well.

By browncoat — On Jul 11, 2011

A garden door can have some wonderful features. Even if you are on a budget when you're putting it in there are options for you.

There are secondhand and recycling stores which sell old exterior doors and windows. If you research the process, or get a friend with some carpentry skills you can pick up some lovely stained glass inserts at places like these and install them in your backyard door. People often take stained glass to places like these because they can't bear to throw it out.

This is particularly nice if you have large windows looking into the garden and the stained glass includes some local fauna or flora.

Alternatively, if your garden isn't large, or done up, stained glass can make for a more pleasant outlook and will bring some color into your home.

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