A DIY Idea for Constructing a Wooden Garden Gate –
An Element of Functional Art for Your Garden
Hey everyone. I’ve had this photo in my files for some time now (yup – I save up photos as I stumble upon them if I think they’ll be of interest to y’all 😉 ) and am trying to clean up my “to be filed” folder. I decided to post this today because for a lot of us, the temperatures are dropping and Fall weather is starting to kick into gear, which means the leaves are starting to drop off the trees.
What’s that got to do with this wooden garden gate project? Well, seems to me having less leaves on tree branches will make it easier for you to spot some limbs you might be able to use for this DIY project.
I love everything about this wooden gate, which is found at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden in California. I have had a real interest for a long time in “functional art” – meaning artwork that also serves a “functional” purpose, such as would be the case *IF* this particular gate swung open and led somewhere.
Though this gate is certainly a piece of artwork on its own and it serves a definite purpose … it really can’t be considered “functional” because it doesn’t “function” (swing open and closed). But it is sculptural and serves as a beautiful and artistic focal point in this spot in the botanical garden.
Anyway, some garden art is functional, and some merely serves a visual decorative purpose. These painted ladybug bowling balls nestled amongst garden greenery are what we would consider simple garden art. But these gorgeous functional art examples created by my friend, artist-sculptor Alice M. Bateman, are not only visual “eye candy” but also serve a definite purpose. You’ll see a window; gates at an exhibit at the Ft. Worth Zoo; water spouts for a private pool; and a very fancy fireplace.
But let me get back to this wooden garden gate project idea … whether you make your gate to be functional – it swings open and closed and defines the entrance/exit to a specific area of your yard or garden – or merely to lend visual impact to a special spot is up to you, of course. But I’ll wager that whichever way you end up using a bentwood gate like this in your garden will certainly prove to be a lovely focal point in years to come.
To make a similar wooden gate for your garden as the one pictured here, you will obviously have to be somewhat skilled with wood working and have access to power saws and such, and know how to construct a sturdy frame on which to fasten the branches. Or … you’ll need to convince a spouse, relative or friend to help you make it. (Heck – bribe them with cookies or pizzas if necessary! 😀 ) The frame doesn’t appear to be too complicated, nor will I assume the task of attaching of the branches.
*TIP: use screws instead of nails if at all possible, as screws tend to “stay screwed in”, but nails tend to begin to start creeping up and out of where they were hammered in over time, especially with wooden items left outdoors. As example, have you ever seen wooden decks that were nailed versus screwed together? Well I have – my neighbor’s backyard deck – and it is starting to fall apart after just a few years. My deck was constructed using screws and it’s holding together quite fine, thank you!
I am sure that somehow, this photo of this really good-looking wooden gate might help to kick-in some creative juices for you, and you’ll come up with a way to make one for that special spot or entrance to your garden that you’ve been wanting to liven up.
I tried searching online for videos that show how to bend branches in case some of you might want to construct a wooden gate a little differently than the Botanical Garden’s gate which utilizes rather straight branches, but couldn’t find anything worthwhile to watch. But, I did uncover this book, that you might want to check out Making Bentwood Trellises, Arbors, Gates & Fences. It’s not too expensive and might have some good bits of information that will make your project go a little easier.
If anyone has any tips about working with bentwood or willow branches, let me know please. I’m sure many others reading this blog would like to read about more creative ways in which to make their own wooden garden gate. Thanks!