A Buyers Guide to Driveway Gates

Wooden driveway gatesAdding entrance or driveway gates to your property will improve its kerb appeal and add an extra level of security, too. But which type of gates to choose? Single driveway gates or double? We’ll guide you through the options.

You should first consider the primary purpose of the gates:

  • An aesthetic improvement
  • Primarily for extra security
  • A combination of looks and security

You should also think about your budget; costs vary widely and your choices may be restricted to what you’re prepared to spend.

Swing Gates

A swing gate is perhaps the simplest option, usually opening inwards towards the property to avoid traffic and pedestrians.

The choice of single or double swinging driveway gates may depend on the width of the access. Consider how much weight the hinges will bear – double gates may be the most practical option for wider driveways, even though they’re twice the work to open and close!

Driveways on a slope or uneven ground could cause a problem for swing gates, as there may not be sufficient clearance. If this describes your situation (and you can’t safely fix your swing gates to open outwards) sliding gates may be a better option.

Typically, swinging gates are less expensive to install than sliding gates as they just need sturdy fence posts and hinges.

Five-bar timber gates for country-style properties are popular, but offer less privacy than close-board timber gates.

Single or double metal swing gates are available in a range of styles and provide good levels of security; some, like Victorian-style wrought iron gates, are more decorative and suitable for residential use, while less ornate, sturdy options look better on commercial properties.

Sliding Gates

A track and rollers allow single or double sliding gates to slide horizontally across your driveway. They can be a great option if there is:

  • a lack of space behind the gate for it to swing in towards the property (consider how closely your vehicles will be parked behind the gate)
  • a lack of space in front of the gate for it to swing outwards safely
  • uneven or sloping terrain below the gate

Sliding gates are also a good choice for wider driveways, where hinges would not support the extra weight of a swing gate.

Due to the mounting and operation costs, sliding driveway gates are usually more expensive than swing gates, but they do offer good security. For this reason, they are often chosen for commercial premises, but there are attractive options in both wood and metal for private residences that want higher security.

Wood or metal driveway gates?

Each type has its pros and cons; weigh them up to decide which is best for you.

Wooden driveway gates

Wood offers a traditional look for your property’s entrance; you can match wooden driveway gates to any existing fencing around your property, but they look good with hedging, too. Choose from various softwood and hardwood timbers, including: oak, redwood and iroko. Hardwoods will be more expensive.


  • Normally a cheaper option than metal
  • A more conventional and attractive appearance


  • If not maintained well, wooden gates can warp, which will prevent them closing properly.

Metal gates

Metal gates can be used for residential purposes if additional strength and security is required, but are also commonly used for commercial properties. Higher-end budgets can choose from a range of very attractive and decorative metal gates, but while lower budgets will give you a practical and secure option, you may need to compromise on style.

Metal gates are usually made from iron, steel or aluminium.


  • More robust than wood, especially against wind
  • Requires less maintenance than wood


  • Typically more expensive than wooden gates
  • May be less attractive, depending on your tastes and your budget.

Electric gates

Most gates can be automated. This modern solution allows for a more convenient way to operate your driveway gate, but there will be some ongoing maintenance to consider. There are two main types of automatic gates:

Above ground automated gates

Above ground is likely going to be the simplest option. A common method is to attach a swinging arm to the gate which is powered by a gear kit contained inside a box somewhere near the gate.

Below ground automated gates

A below ground automated gate system is a more discreet and aesthetically appealing option, but more complex to fit. This will be reflected in the cost.

Is there a standard width for driveway gates?

The huge variations in properties' openings rarely allow a perfect fit with standard width gates. You could have your gates made-to-measure to ensure a perfect fit with minimal margin for error, but bespoke-made gates can be more expensive. 

Most suppliers offer a few standard gate width options, but you'll probably have to increase or decrease the size of your driveway entrance, at least by a little, to accommodate off-the-shelf gates. One of our suppliers offers various width options for driveway gates, from 0.9m to 1.5m for narrow styles, and wider gates from 1.8m to 3.6m.

You'll need to plan and measure up carefully to ensure a successful installation, not forgetting to allow for gate posts and fittings, and a pedestrian gate to the side of the driveway gate if you plan to include one. 

How to avoid mistakes

A common mistake is that when ordering their driveway gates people often don’t take into account the extra width taken up by posts and fittings, or what the final height of their gates will be once hung description. It’s best to ask for advice. A professional fitter can measure everything up for you, give you a quote and install your gates with no unforeseen glitches.

For free advice about your garden fencing, please call 01865 863428 or 07900 938061.

Released On 13th Aug 2019

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