If a home garden’s security has an Achilles’ heel, it is very likely the side gate. Left unlocked, a side gate can easily be used by a burglar to access a home without passers-by or neighbours noticing – especially given that many side gates are concealed by foliage or shadow.
Even when kept locked, side gates can provide burglars with an overly accessible point of entry to the home – not least because these gates are often built with outside-facing timber cross members that intruders can practically use as rungs for climbing up and over the gate.
Therefore, as an installer of wooden side gates, you should think carefully about how to optimise these products’ security and safety. Many customers are likely to favour wood over metal for side gates due to the former material’s charmingly traditional look – but the use of wood in such gates can also have safety implications that you ought to closely heed.
How should a wooden safety gate be designed?
Of course, there is much your customers could be advised to do – or could already be doing – to minimise their garden gate security risk. These customers could be advised against leaving, beside the gate, anything on which would-be burglars would be able to step on to get up and across the gate.
Such potentially troublesome, stepping-stone items include wheelie bins, outdoor furniture or children’s toys. Households should remember to always lock away – or at least chain down – any objects like these when they aren’t being used.
However, if you have been asked to install a new wooden side gate for a customer’s garden, you could also do your bit to help reduce the wooden gate security risk. For example, you could advise the customer to choose a design where the gate’s timber cross members would be fitted on the inside, if this is viable – thereby denying potential climbers one possible foothold.
If you are left with no practical option but to place these cross members on the outside, you could always cover them with panels. You could find that this approach is also to the customer’s aesthetic taste – but they should be consulted on any proposed alterations to the design.
Other smart choices you could make with the side gate’s design
Some customers may be drawn to particular gate designs, such as lattice designs, which would let people outside the garden see through gaps purposefully left across the gate. However, no matter how tasteful those gaps might look, they would naturally hamper the garden’s privacy.
Therefore, to help a customer to create a safe space, you should advise them to go for a solid design. Fortunately, it’s perfectly possible to create a range of beautiful gates that are all physically solid from left to right and top to bottom – and you could showcase these choices to your customers.
It would also be useful for you to offer side gates that passers-by wouldn’t be able to easily peer over to check what’s in the garden. Fortunately, as we can supply both hardwood and softwood side gates in heights of up to eight feet, ticking this particular box should be relatively simple for your company. It can also help families to improve the child safety of their outdoor residential spaces.
A more complex matter, however, is exactly how wide a side gate should be for the sake of bolstering security. Our own side gates are available in widths of up to four feet and six inches – the equivalent of about 1.4 metres. However, as a general rule, an especially security-conscious household should probably think twice about purchasing a side gate larger than roughly a metre.
This is because, if a gate exceeds this width, its hinges could struggle to hold the gate. Hence, the hinges could more easily become something of a weak spot just waiting to be exploited by intruders. If any customer of yours seeks a side gate to fill a gap more than a metre wide, you should encourage that customer to consider ordering a pair of side gates, rather than just one, for that gap.
Ah, yes – the hinges. Should you also be extra-careful which of those you integrate with the side gate? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that, as timber is an organic material naturally prone to movement over time, you should always – where practically possible – equip a wooden side gate with adjustable hook and band hinges.
We offer adjustable band and hook hinges in both stainless steel and galvanised varieties as well as a classy premium black – and you can order these hinges in many different lengths to account for different sizes of garden gate. Once integrated with wooden side gates, these hinges can mitigate the effect of the gates gradually warping and sagging and so not closing or locking as intended.
Why a made-to-measure side gate can also be a secure one
Often, one simple way to give a customer’s garden extra security is to replace an existing side gate altogether. One reason why is that, over time, adverse elements can take their toll on a gate – especially a wooden one that hasn’t been given a suitably thorough, weather-resistant treatment.
Sometimes, weather-induced damage can worsen to the extent that, if long unaddressed, it leaves a gate beyond cost-effective repair. In this situation, a new side gate can be the most efficient solution – particularly as we can design and build a wooden side gate to specialised specifications.
In other words, the gate will be built to slot seamlessly into the space for which it is intended. A poorly-fitting garden gate would constitute a security risk in itself; so, if an already-fitted side gate is a ready-made model, replacing it with a made-to-measure gate could, in any case, provide better protection for the garden.
Keep it locked: how this can be done effectively with a wooden side gate
While there are various types of side gate lock, many can only be operated from one side of the gate and fall short on the security score. Both of these charges can be laid at the door of the pad bolt – one kind of lock many gates have customarily featured when supplied to customers.
Though a pad bolt can be more effectively secured if fitted with a better-quality padlock, this would arguably be a band-aid solution. Another lock variety available for a garden gate is what is known as a rim lock, which gets its name from its positioning on the gate’s edge – or rim. However, security isn’t a rim lock’s strongest suit, either – as pressure could simply be applied to the lock to snap it.
We recommend that you seriously consider a long throw gate lock – and, more to the point, a double locking one. Anyone looking to open a side gate fitted with this kind of lock would need a suitable key – and the “double locking” part of the equation refers to how it would be possible for the gate to be locked and unlocked from either side of it.
Here at Village Products, we offer a long throw gate lock that you could integrate with a wooden side gate as you assemble it. On our site, it’s easy to order our long throw gate lock product in a thickness of either 50mm (2 inches) or 70mm (2.75 inches); which of these two sizes you should choose will depend on the thickness of the specific side gate to which the lock will be fitted.
Due to its inclusion of a black powder-coated plate and stainless steel cross bolt, you can expect this long throw gate lock to not only outclass many other lock products in strength but also resist rusting. All of this bodes well for the lock’s long-term resilience, including against attempts at vandalism.
How to help customers maintain existing wooden side gates
For their garden gates, many people choose wood over metal on account of the former’s organic look, which can blend in sumptuously with natural and wooded areas. However, there remains the question of how the gate’s wood could be effectively maintained in the long term.
While hardwood side gates are especially renowned for their strength and durability, you can shield both hardwood and softwood gates from any weather conditions – and improve the lifespan of these gates in the process – by applying wood treatments to the gates before they are installed.
If you want to assist a customer in preserving a garden gate currently lacking adjustable hinges, you could either replace the gate’s existing hinges with adjustable ones or resort to a more makeshift solution. For example, you could re-attach the old hinges or install new hinges next to those.
We could provide your company with wood treatments – both base coats and top coats – and gate ironmongery you would be able to stock in your own online retail warehouse.
Taking these steps can give your customer base access to simple-to-use products from high-quality brands. Many customers also have the option of saving money by arranging for their existing side gates to be improved rather than replaced.