In this guide we share driveway gate ideas for swing, sliding and retractable designs. You’ll see the pros & cons of each type of driveway material to help find the best one for your home.
Driveway entrances are something that almost any homeowner can benefit from. For one, they can add a touch of elegance to any driveway. In varying degrees, they tend to make a driveway look just a little more important with their presence.
Just because they have an aesthetic purpose doesn’t mean they are limited to only looks, however. These driveway entrances can also to varying degrees, offer security and privacy to homeowners as well. You don’t want to blindly choose driveway gates for your home. There are certain things to know that will help you find a gate that is not only functional but suits your needs as well.
Here, we will look at some ideas that will help you whittle down an overwhelming number of options into the driveway gate of your dreams.
Driveway Gate Designs
When it comes to types of driveways, and their gates you aren’t limited to one type of design. In fact, there are a number of types of gates on the market. Each of these gates also requires a different amount of space to install and use.
Driveway Swing Gates
First, let’s take a look at driveway swing gates. These driveway entranceswork exactly as the name suggests; they swing open and closed to allow cars into and out of the driveway just like a door swings open or closed to let someone in or out of a room.
An absolutely crucial note to make when installing swinging driveway entrances is that you don’t want them to swing open to block traffic. Put another way, if you have swinging driveway entrances at the end of your driveway, you don’t want to open these gateways towards the road. Instead, you will want to open these entrances towards the house where they are less likely to cause an issue.
When choosing a gate, give due consideration to the character of the house and its surroundings. – Popular Mechanics Complete Home How-to, Albert Jackson and David Day
If you do want entrances that open outward rather than inward, make sure to set them at a recess to the road. This way, when they open they will remain on your property rather than blocking the flow of traffic. At the very least, this recess should accommodate the gate’s swing. It is a good idea to add a few extra feet for extra assurance of safety, though.
As far as the width of space you need for these entrances, it usually isn’t that much more the width of the gate or entrances themselves. This is due to the fact that most swinging driveway entrances open by moving the gates in a 90-degree arc inward or outward.
They don’t swing out so far as to make a line with the driveway opening, so they don’t take up too much extra room. Swing type entrances are also gateways that generally need to be installed on a flat plane. So, you can only really consider swinging driveway entrances if your driveway is rather level.
Consider this: if the driveway isn’t entirely flat, there is a chance that while opening or closing a swinging gate could scrape the ground or even get stuck. However, there are some designs that can accommodate a sloping driveway bu may require specialized installation.
Swing Type Gates for Sloped Driveways
For those with sloped driveways, there are a few extra options. Uphill swing gates are one such option. These gates are made to open to accommodate the elevating ground they are opening on. These gates are rather difficult to install and if you want them, it’s best to leave it to the professionals to avoid any problems that come along with the fickleness of this type of swinging driveway entrances.
Lift and swing gates are another option that is great if you live in an area where you deal with a lot of snow which would impede the gates swing. Before going into how these gates work, it’s worth noting that these are rather expensive compared to other swing gateways due to the technology involved.
Lift and swing gates employ the use of a hydraulic lift. This hydraulic lift raises the gates slightly before opening them and continues to raise them as they open the rest of the way.
Single Swing Vs. Double Swing
There are two main types of swinging driveway entrances. This includes a single swing gate or a set of double swing gateways.
A single swing gate is made up of a single gate much like a bedroom door. These are typically recommended to be 16 feet wide or less. Some gate operators do allow for a gate of 20 feet or less in width.
Double swing gate – See at Amazon
Double swing gates are the choice many go with due to their more elegant design. Double driveway entrances are made up of two gateways much like a pair of french doors. Together, these gates have the same recommended width as a single swing gate but that measurement is split between the two gates.
To keep the entranceways visually appealing, these gateways should be the same size. As an example, if you are trying to create a double swing gate of 16 feet across, you would use a pair of gateways that are 8 feet long individually.
While decorative gates that use shapes to allow individuals to see through the gate to the other side can be beautiful. However, they aren’t what everyone wants from a driveway gate. Some prefer a gate that functions much like a privacy fence; not allowing outside parties to see past the gate and into the homeowner’s property.
The answer to these homeowner’s wishes is the use of a privacy driveway gate. These entranceways are solid rather than allowing anyone to view from one side into another. Gates such as these are usually rather tall as well to ensure no one looks over the top either.
It should be noted that these gateways aren’t simple, solid walls. They are more often than not designed to be just as attractive just without any design touches that create open space.
Driveway security gate – See at Amazon [sponsored link]
Much like the privacy type, driveway security gates are designed to provide protection from unwanted intruders on to your property. Security gates must be built well and with higher quality materials in order to provide adequate protection. This means hiring a skilled contractor for construction and installation. These types of gates are often controlled via a remote control or keypad to allow for quick entry.
There is more than one way for driveway entrances to open. In fact, in a moment, we’ll take a look at a number of other ways that gates can be designed. One such way that gates can be configured to open is as folding driveway entrances.
These gates are segmented more than once with hinges on themselves rather than on a single pivot point. When opened, these segments fold in on one another and when closed, they reverse the process and unfurl to close off the driveway.
Some of these gates fold freely. This means that they fold without a track to guide them. More commonly, though, they are set on tracks so that when they fold out of the way or fold closed, they are controlled and won’t swing freely.
Portable driveway kit – See at Amazon
A full installation of a driveway gate can be a long-term or even permanent decision for homeowners. As you might have guessed at this point, though, there is an option for you if you don’t want something that requires so much commitment.
Portable gates for driveways are gates that can be easily put up and easily taken down. These work much in the same of any other portable gate – such as a baby gate – and can be set up in just a few minutes as they typically have their own stand or sit on wheels.
There are some downsides to portable driveway entrances. First, they aren’t too great when it comes to security. This only makes sense because if something can be taken down in a few easy steps, it isn’t going to be a great way to keep someone out.
Another point of issue for some is that portable gates aren’t typically motorized. Where dedicated gates usually respond to electronic input as to when to open and close, portable gates are usually made to be physically moved out of the way.
Sliding driveway gate kit – See at Amazon
Now, let’s look at slide gates. These are gates that, as the name suggests, slide open and closed. Within this category, there are a few subcategories such as automated slide gates, V-track slide gates, rear pipe slide gates, and cantilever slide gates.
Automated slide gates are exactly what they sound like – they slide in one horizontal direction or another automatically. This is thanks to wheels that aid their movement.
When it comes to size, this type of driveway gate needs quite a bit. This is because you will need enough room for the gate to occupy when it’s open as well as closed. In other words, you will need space extended beyond your driveway in the direction the gate moves equal to the width of your driveway plus around 3 feet of extra space.
As an alternative choice, some of these gates are done in such a fashion that only “half” the gate opens. If you had a 20-foot driveway, you might use a gate that opens 10 feet. Instead of this gate moving out to the side of the driveway, it would simply overlap with the remaining stationary gate.
V-track slide gates are the most common type of slide gate that are fairly common when looking into automated slide gates. These types of gates get their names from their upside down and slightly raised “v” shape of the track.
As discussed before, these types of gates take up quite a bit of space as you need enough space for the gates to sit when they are open. Again, you will need an extra 3 feet of space for an electric gate opener as well. V-track gates can also be used with the alternative choice discussed earlier as well.
It is important to note that V-track slide gates won’t work properly if the track isn’t clear. So, if you live in snowy conditions, this might not be the gate for you.
Rear Pipe Track Gates
Next up are rear pipe track slide gates. These types of gates are more common with lower end gates. For example, a simple chain link fence. These need just as much space as a V-track slide gate.
An important thing to note about rear pipe track slides is that the end of the gate should have two wheels. These wheels are mounted on pipes mounted on the fence panels themselves.
On the other end of the gate, the carriage assembly should have one rubber wheel while the other wheel should be a V-track wheel. The gate should not be automated with any other configuration.
Now, onto cantilever slide gates. Remember how we said that V-track slide gates aren’t the best if you live in snowy or icy conditions where the track will get blocked? Well, cantilever gates are an option for these individuals.
The reason that this is the case is that cantilever gates – unlike V-track slide gates and rear pipe track slide gates – don’t have wheels on the ground. The wheels on a cantilever gate are on a vertical post with the gate in-between them. When these wheels move, they guide the gate open or closed.
There is a bit of a downside to cantilever gates, though. That is, they need a lot of space, more than any other slide driveway gate in fact. The gate itself needs to be about 150% bigger than the width of the driveway. In other words, if you were to have a driveway opening of 16 feet, your gate would need to be 24 feet long.
Throughout this section, we’ve looked at a few different options of gates. Now, let’s take a moment to consider two more different categories of sliding gates: retractable sliding driveway entrances and rolling driveway entrances.
First up, retractable sliding driveway entrances. This is the category that options such as V-track gates or rear pipe track slide gates fall into. These work on tracks that wheels move along to move a sliding gate.
Rolling gates don’t rely on a track. Unlike a gate such as a V-track sliding gate or rear pipe track slide gates, these gates roll directly on the ground. This is done via rubber or gas-filled wheels.
At this point, it should be mentioned that these types of gates need to be powered to open without manual intervention. This can be costly if you are depending on your electric bill to pick up the slack.
As an alternative, consider using solar power to run your driveway entrances. This draws power from the sunlight during the day through solar panels to use as energy to run your gate operator. This not only works year-round, but it also costs much less than traditional methods of energy. Solar panel gate operators can cost more at installation.
Gate Selection for Curving Vs. Straight Driveways
When you are choosing a driveway gate, there are a number of variables to consider. For most people, not just any gate will do. One such variable to take into account is whether your driveway is a straight shot or if it is full of twists and curve.
Straight driveways, quite obviously, exist in a straight line. These are common when it comes to smaller homes or homes with smaller property space. They can also be used aesthetically since they can easily be lined with trees or other design facets. Straight driveways don’t usually allow for as many cars or as much traffic flow.
Curved driveways usually allow for more cars than a simple straight driveway and are more often used when homes want a longer driveway.
The biggest consideration here is that you want the gate to clear the whole driveway. If you have a curving driveway, you’ll want to make sure if you use a driveway gate such as a swing driveway gate that it doesn’t block the driveway at all when opened. When it comes to curved driveways here, the angle that the driveway curves at or how sharply it curves is important to consider.
It’s also important to consider what the driveway is made of. A driveway with a level surface such as asphalt or concrete, lower sitting driveway entrances are fine. If a driveway has a less even surface such as gravel or loose stone, you might want to use a driveway gate that is set a little higher so as not to scrape the driveway material.
This is usually only a consideration when the gravel or stone is piled rather high. Either way, there should be at least a 3-inch clearance between the surface of the driveway and the bottom of the gate.
Types of Gate Materials for Driveways
Just as there are many types of driveway gate designs, there are many options when it comes to what you want those gateways to be made out of. Just like the gate designs, these materials all come with their own pros and cons.
The first option for material for your driveway gate is wood. Wood is a rather classic choice and a versatile one too.
The biggest point of versatility for wood is its appearance. Depending on the type of wood chosen for the driveway gate, the end product of the choices of one customer might have a completely different color and texture than another customer.
Wood is often used as a choice for privacy driveway entrances. This is because wood is typically designed in its shape and on its surface rather than morphed into shape like metal. So, the designs are beautiful and they don’t offer passerby a view into your yard.
As we said before, each of these materials does have a downside. For wood, there are a couple. First and foremost is the cost. Wood can be much more expensive than other choices such as aluminum. While a simple wood gate might not run your bill too high, more heavily designed and more valuable woods can add to cost. It is also rather heavy, which some driveway gate owners aren’t a fan of.
Swinging wood gate
There is also the concept of maintenance. Wood is typically sealed when it is used in applications such as gateways and fences but that doesn’t mean it comes without drawbacks. It is still prone to cracking and warping. This means that if you want to keep your wooden driveway gate looking as good as new, you’ll have to be prepared for rather frequent maintenance when compared to other material options.
Metal driveway entrances are another consideration for homeowners. However, the use of the term metal is rather vague. This is because there are multiple types of metal that are optional for homeowners looking for the addition of a driveway gate.
Aluminum is a common contemporary choice among those who want metal driveway entrances. There are a few solid reasons why aluminum is a good choice. There are also a couple downsides to the metal as well.
To start, let’s look at the benefits of aluminum. Unlike wood, aluminum is lightweight – not just in a comparison of wood and aluminum but comparing aluminum to other metals. This means that your gateways won’t have the issue of sagging under the weight of themselves and they won’t have as much trouble with misalignment.
In addition, aluminum is rather low maintenance since it isn’t as likely to rust like other metals. Best of all, it’s a rather affordable choice as well.
As noted, there are cons to aluminum as well. One of the biggest is that aluminum isn’t sturdy when compared to other metals. This lack of durability is concerning for many owners, especially those who want a driveway gate that offers them security.
Wrought Iron Gates
Wrought iron driveway entrances are another option. When many think of wrought iron, they think of highly designed, highly ornamental gateways and this can be the case. Wrought iron can also be used in a simplistic, more humble design choice as well. This is the first benefit of wrought iron gateways: extreme versatility in design.
Adversely, these designs are rarely solid, meaning that wrought iron might not be the material you are looking for for those looking for a privacy driveway gate.
Whereas aluminum isn’t quite durable, wrought iron is an extremely durable choice. Wrought iron is a viable choice if you are looking for security or a gate that will stand up to harsh weather.
That isn’t to say wrought iron doesn’t need maintenance. The biggest maintenance is that the gate will need to be clean and coated to prevent rust. Visit this page to read more about heated driveways for areas with adverse weather.
The biggest drawback of wrought iron is its expense. Not only is wrought iron more valuable than choices like aluminum thanks to its longevity, but it is also rather heavy. This, like with a wooden driveway gate, make installation a bit more intensive making it cost more. It should also be noted that more intricately designed wrought iron driveway entrances are likely to cost more than a simplistic one.
Wrought iron gate
You can also find a wrought iron style gate in stainless steel which provides durability and rust resistant properties at a lower cost. Another option is a powder coated, galvanized gate which can also hold up well in harsh weather conditions.
Chain Link Gates
The final metal option we are going to look at is chain link driveway entrances. These gateways are usually made of galvanized steel. This is one of the most common types of fencing and entrances but how does it work as a driveway gate, specifically?
When it comes to cost, chain link fencing is rather kind to your wallet. It’s also, as just mentioned, made of galvanized steel. This means that it’s coated to protect it from common problems with metal such as rust.
The chain link’s appearance isn’t something everyone is happy with. It can be painted for a slightly different appearance, but it isn’t going to change in its inherent design.
There is also the concerns about privacy and security. As far as privacy goes, there isn’t much that can be done. Chain link is rather see-through and by itself, it isn’t going to offer much privacy. When it comes to security, chain link isn’t very useful either since it can easily be climbed.
This can be helped with the addition of barbed wire but this isn’t often used in residential settings and many homeowners don’t like the look it gives the gate either.
The last material we are going to look at here is vinyl. Vinyl is a synthetic material, so it acts a bit differently than metal and wood. With this in mind, the first benefit of vinyl is that it’s versatile when it comes to design. Designs and colors can be manipulated to fit the desires of a wide variety of homeowners.
Vinyl entrances are also rather easy to maintain. It isn’t hard to clean off vinyl gateways and it isn’t going to rust like metal. Unfortunately, the sun can take a toll on vinyl causing it to crack and fade. To be fair, many manufacturers do offer warranties over natural deterioration. If the vinyl driveway gate does get damaged, it can be hard to fix seamlessly without total replacement.
As far as privacy, vinyl can offer a lot. This is largely thanks to its aforementioned versatility in design.
One of the drawbacks of vinyl is its cost. Since it is easy to create into whatever a consumer might want, the cost that comes with it is rather high. Even for pre-built iterations of this material, it’ll come with a bit of a price tag. As with other types of materials that can be used for your driveway entrances, however, we will tackle the concept of pricing later.
Many professional builders advise caution when considering driveway entrances as a do-it-yourself project. While driveway entryways aren’t a DIY to be taken lightly, the availability of DIY driveway gate kits allows homeowners to control their installation. Now, let’s take a second to look at how to use these DIY driveway entrances.
To start, read the warranty and instruction manual very carefully. Some companies void their warranties if a professional doesn’t do the installation.
Take the time to level the ground. As noted earlier, it can be difficult to install gateways if there is an uphill slope in the way. At the very least, make sure there is a drop off rather than a hill. For sliding gateways, make sure to do this to the side of the gateways and it’s important for swinging gateways in the direction they open.
Next, you’ll want to take measurements for the posts. There should be instructions in the manufacturer’s manual as to where and how the posts should be installed. This can vary depending on the type and model of the gate you’ve purchased. These posts often have marked places where the gateways will stop at the bottom. If they don’t, make sure they have a 3-inch clearance.
After measuring, you can’t quite go ahead and start digging post holes. Before you do, call the local authority to make sure there isn’t anything that would stop you from digging such as an underground line. A post hole digger is the best choice to make the holes once you’re ready. Dig 6 inches deeper than needed to fill with concrete to lock the posts into place even more.
To mount the posts, use a plumb-bob and level to ensure they’re straight standing straight and level horizontally before making any permanent steps. Double check all your measurements. Once you’re satisfied with these measurements, pour concrete in and let it sit for at least 48 hours.
Finally, to install the gateways themselves, follow the directions of the gateways you’ve purchased. Each set of gateways is a little different so general instructions usually won’t do.
Driveway entrances can’t stand on their own; they need piers, posts, or columns to ground them and, for swing gateways, act as a pivot point. That doesn’t mean they have to be simplistic.
It isn’t often that driveway entrances are complemented by simple vertical rods. Rather, they are supported by design pieces that match the style of the gate. A classic wooden driveway gate might be complemented with stately columns.
While posts and columns can be made attractive, the use of a pier cap can elevate the look of a gate. Pier caps are designed pieces that top what would be a standard column.
Automatic Gate Openers
Single swing gate opener – See at Amazon
When you are using automatic driveway entrances, you will need a trigger to open and close the gateways. When it comes to this, you have a few options.
The first option is sensors. As an example, these are often seen in permit only parking garages and work by scanning your pass as you drive in. In residential use, these gateways open as they sense a car approaching. Due to security concerns, some homeowners choose to only use exit sensors rather than allowing any car that drives up to enter. These can, as with the parking garage example, be set up to react to a certain trigger, though.
There is also the choice of using a remote to enter. Like any other remote, these remotes can be used – usually at a reasonably close range – to open and close the gateways with a button. For convenience, these are often kept on keychains or clipped onto the visor in the car.
Keypads can also allow individuals to enter and exit the driveway. Much like the keypad on a security system, this opener has physical buttons that are pressed in a certain pattern to allow entrance or exit.
The most modern choice of automatic gate openers is mobile phone entry. These allow homeowners to open and close their gate with the use of the app.
Industrial Style Gates
There is an assortment of industrial or commercial grade driveway entrances available. These can be used for purposes such as security, to act as a toll booth or where there is low clearance such as between two buildings.
Think about when you enter a parking garage or go through a toll booth. There is an arm or gate that impedes forward movement until pay a fee or show your ID. These are types of barrier gateways.
These gateways are solely devoted to controlling traffic. When these gateways are closed, no vehicle is going to get in the driveway. On the other hand, if you are looking for a gate that is beautifully designed or offers security as well as impeding traffic, this might not be the best choice for you.
Barrier gateways typically work by an arm sticking out horizontally when the gate is closed and lifting to sit vertically when the gate is open. Because of this design, these types of gateways only need enough extra room for the electric gate opener installation.
Vertical Pivot Gates
If you like the idea of a barrier gate but want a little more security and privacy, you’ll probably rather excited to learn about vertical pivot gateways. These use the same movement mechanism as barrier gateways but instead of a simple arm, these use full-sized gateways of 8 feet or more.
Much like barrier gateways, you only need a little more than the width of your driveway for this type of gate since it lifts vertically rather than requiring room to move to the side of the driveway. This makes them a great choice when homeowners want security when they don’t have the room for a slide gate.
Vertical Lift Gates
As just noted, barrier gateways and vertical pivot gateways site horizontally when closed and shift 90 degrees to sit straight up in the air when the gate is open. Vertical lift gateways, alternatively, lift straight up in the air. They don’t pivot or change angles; they just lift directly skyward.
These vertical lift gateways do need a lot of space like a slide gate but this needs to be vertical. For most driveways, this is fine, since a sort of ceiling or property lines doesn’t impede them. All in all, this gate needs space above it equal to the height of the gateway. For instance, if you are using an 8-foot tall gateway, you’ll need a height of 16-feet from the ground up.
It’s important to note that these types of gateways are incredibly expensive to install. As such, they are usually used industrially rather than for residential uses. These are also one of the most secure gate options available as well, though.
Gate Cost for the Driveway
The last thing we will review is the driveway gate cost. There isn’t a single price for a gateway, as you might have guessed at this point, as there are a number of features and design choices that can change the price.
Generally, a driveway gate costs between $1,400 and $3,200. Single-panel wood, steel, and iron sit on the lower end of the range at about $1,400 to $2,100.
This price can vary depending on design and size. These prices are for single-panel gateways that can be automated to swing or slide.
Moving onto dual-panel iron, steel, and wood gateways would cost about $1,800 to $3,200. These can be automated, but the cost can vary thanks to the size, details, and style you choose.
Metal driveway gate kit
There are additional costs that can be associated with driveway entrances To start, let’s look at automation. Automation kits for single-panel entryways to swing open cost $850 to $2,300. For double-panel gateways, this cost increases to $900 to $4,500.
You can stay on the lower end are by choosing AC gateways with smaller motors rather than solar powered entryways with larger motors. Automation kits that are used to create automatic sliding gateways cost about $550 to $2,150.
Control units such as remotes, keypads, and even intercoms come in a wide range from as low as $20 to as much as $2,000. Remote controls are the most inexpensive option at around $20 to $60. Keypads are a little more at $50 to $250. Intercom units or units that use more than one access control method are the most expensive at $350 to $2,000.
If you want a sensor that will open the gateway as you leave the driveway, that comes at an additional cost of $140 to $200. Reverse mechanisms can cost $150 to $200. There are some ways that you can reduce costs as well. The DIY driveway kits mentioned earlier, for example, can eliminate outside installation cost.
To see more ideas visit our modern driveways page for additional pictures and designs for your home.