My husband designed and built a new gate for the garden as my birthday gift. He started talking about it three or four years ago..and just finished it up in time for this birthday. Oh well....I can't imagine a better gift, even if I did have to wait a while for it.
I've always coveted a Chinese moon gate, because I love how their circles frame views both into the out of the garden (as in the traditional moon gate, left). Moon gates feel hospitably permeable, yet are a clear marking of a boundary. There's something iconic about framing a view this way.
Yet our garden is utilitarian in feel, with metal, gravel and raised beds. It's simple and small, definitely not a place for a grand gate, nor an Asian one. Building materials are hog wire, cedar, galvanized steel, and the fence is an old wooden one.
The gate is at the back of the garden, and opens out into a grassy alley - we'd literally worn the old one out from opening it so often to let the dog run in the alley or to visit with neighbors. We wanted the new gate to be solid enough to preserve some privacy, and to keep out rabbits and deer, yet open enough to have a friendly feel and to let us see out into the alley.
So no wonder Greg took his time - that isn't the easiest program, is it?
We found a round of rusty metal on a walk, which probably came off an old wine barrel. it set the scale for the gate, and inspired the design. Greg framed the circle with hog wire, , and built the base of cedar planks. The new gate has the feel of a Dutch door because you can see out so well, yet it also creates a bit of an optical illusion, which I love. The raggedy old alley, of which both Bridget and I are very fond, never looked so good as through the window in Greg's updated take on a moon gate...