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What is an Arbor Gate?

By Christian Petersen
Updated May 16, 2024
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An arbor gate is a gate designed to close across the opening in an arbor. Arbors are arched structures designed for use in gardens and landscape settings, usually with the intention of providing a frame for climbing plants. The top of the arch may be vaulted, rounded or flat. Arbors can be installed in a fence opening, providing a pleasant arched entrance to a garden or yard, paired with another feature like a bench or swing or can stand separately from other structures. An arbor gate is usually only used when the arbor is used as an opening in a fence.

When used as part of a garden fence, an arbor gate is usually made of the same material as the fence itself. This is usually true of the arbor, also. This is primarily a matter of taste and preference of the owner of the property, however, and some home owners may choose to install a gate of a different material or style. It is very unusual for an arbor gate to be made from a different material than the arbor itself, even if they both differ from the fence. Arbor gates may be functional, decorative or both.

Many garden arbors are made of either wood or wrought iron but may also be made of vinyl, aluminum or even plastic. Nearly all arbors often have some type of framework installed to allow purchase for climbing vines. Wrought iron arbors may have cast or wrought iron floral designs or other ironwork for these climbing plants. Arbor plants may be placed to climb the inside or outside of the arch of the arbor, but when the arbor is gated, plantings must be planned and maintained so as not to interfere with the functioning of the gate.

When used to secure an arbor made from wrought iron, the gate is usually manufactured as a part of the arbor itself but may be a later addition. Wooden arbor gates are often installed into the arbor or fence rather than being part of the arbor. Typical hardware for an arbor gate is wrought iron, even when the gate itself is wood, although other materials are not uncommon. A simple levered latch assembly is often used to secure the gate and may include a locking mechanism.

Sometimes an arbor is used as a gateway through a hedge or living fence. In this case, the arbor may be gated, even though there is not a true fence framing the arbor. Wrought iron arbors and gates are very attractive in this type of setting, and hedge mazes and gardens often feature this type of entrance.

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