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Is a closeable entry gate desirable?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 55
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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Happy Sunday!

I wonder if you have (or wish you had) a gate at the entrance of your property.

We currently have a gate with a combination lock, but that's because we do not live there yet. Neighbors recommended that we close the lane, so that no one could come in and dump stuff on our property. Once we build, I'm not sure we'll want a gate where our lane meets the county road. It seems a little unfriendly, plus we'd probably have to wire it then, as I can't see getting out of the car each time we come and go from the house.

If you do have a gate, I'd love recommendations and tips.
 
pollinator
Posts: 10268
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We have a gate a ways down our drive, which I like because anyone casually passing by can't see if it is open or closed.  We usually leave it open but sometimes lock it if we plan to be away for hours.  Ours is a low-crime area.  Before we moved to the land we didn't have a gate, we just left tools and things in storage bins but nobody ever took them.
 
pollinator
Posts: 161
Location: Virginia
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We have a gate and although it can be a pain sometimes, over all I am glad to have it.  My husband has his repair workshop here and we had found people unexpectedly wandering the yard looking at motors and parts. Rather disconcerting.  Gate stopped that issue.  

On rainy days it can be a pain to mess with the gate.  We previously had a Mighty Mule opener which was great. It never worked quite right after a lightning strike.  Another problem was that the gate latch only rested against the post and our German Shepherd figured out how to open the gate.  Repeatedly.  My husband MacGyvered a latch the dog cant open but it means I cant use the automatic opener.  

Even with the annoyance factor, I prefer to have the gate.

 
pollinator
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Here, if you put up a gate (other than hunting season) people will surely enter your property and destroy the place.

If you put up a gate and leave it open, they actually respect the place and will not do any harm.

The only time I have ever had an issue outside of hunting season, or people trying to grow pot, was a person who came through on the snowmobile trail and stole diesel fuel out of my skidder. But that was it, and they never came through a gate to get there anyway.

Last week I had my neighbor come up and ask me if he could hunt deer on my land. He has 400 acres of his own land so I thought he was getting a bit greedy, but I still told him he could. My wife asked me why. The reason is, we park tractors worth $270,000 in our distant fields sometimes, if I had said no they would not have had a window left in them; every window would have been shot out. Sometimes people do not look at the bigger picture.




 
pollinator
Posts: 1206
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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We installed a gate after finding people wondering around the property several times. The first instance was a group of local boys in a pick up truck, and when caught, insisted they were looking for the person who had goats for sale. At the time we didn't have one animal on the farm, nor pasture fencing, so they were obviously hoping to find the place vacant so that they could steal what they wanted. A couple of the neighbor's had had things stolen, so we were just lucky we surprised those boys by being home at the time. Another time a year later we caught a person wondering around, looking at the gardens and buildings, claiming they were looking for their dog. Story turned out false. Another time we caught a neighbor growing marijuana on the back of our land. And a few more times I've come home to find people picking veggies from our veggie garden, and fruit from our trees. We finally had enough money to put up a fence along the road and a driveway gate....with lock. Since then we haven't caught anyone on the property.

Since acquiring livestock, that gate helps keep the livestock from escaping. We've had a couple of times that the sheep or horse broke through a pasture gate or a fallen tree took out a fence. That shut gate kept them on our farm. By this time we had the whole 20 acres fenced in and cross fenced.

Now that we have farm dogs, that gate allows the dogs to have freedom to do their job. We don't have to worry about them leaving the property. The gate also helps deter stray dogs from coming up our driveway.

The gate is a minor nuisance , having to get out of the vehicle to unlock, open, drive through, close, lock again. But I feel it's well worth it. And besides, it provides a nice place to hang Christmas ornaments. Holiday gate decoration is fun.
 
gardener
Posts: 1264
Location: Middle Tennessee
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We have a gate at the end of the driveway where I'm building our log cabin. The gate came with the property when my wife and I purchased it last year as there had been a herd of cows on it for twenty years. The gate never had a lock on it, just a simple chain hooked to a nail protruding from a tree. I had no intention of putting a lock on it. I crossed paths with a neighbor one day back in the spring, after the foundation had started but before any logs had been delivered, and somehow the gate came up in conversation as I told him we were building and not living there yet. He said two nights prior he drove by at 9pm going home and the gate was closed, and 6am the following morning going to work the gate was wide open, and he closed it. Had I not run into him, I never would have known that people were sneaking onto the property in the middle of the night. I then put a combination lock on the gate, and put up a couple trail cams. About 4 or 5 weeks later, I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck changing my shoes, and right there in the gravel beneath my feet was a single bottle cap. Whoever was sneaking around that night was hangin out drinking beer. The place is way out in the country, very low crime, but I know if something gets stolen, I gotta have proof. The driveway is long and winds through some woods and my trail cams point down the drive so, heaven forbid some thief did happen by, I at least have a chance of getting pictures of them. I have totally relied on that combination lock to be my security, and keep the honest people honest, as the saying goes.

I open the gate in the morning and close it in the evening when I'm there so deliveries can come down the drive or neighbors can stop in. A few neighbors have come in, and it was a pleasure to talk with them. I love my new neighbors, but sometimes a simple stop by can turn into an hour long chat along with a twenty minute southern goodbye. Those visits are important to me, but they can really throw a wrench into my flow of work getting done building the cabin, so on some days I leave the gate closed as I don't want to be disturbed or distracted from work.

When we move there to live, I will keep the gate.
 
Posts: 405
Location: Middle Georgia
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I have a gate at the front (modest cattle gate) and I absolutely LOVE it. The whole area in front/around the house is fenced, so when I pull the car in it is inside the fence.

The canines can run out either the front or back door and completely around the house and NO ONE comes into the yard without permission (its like a mote with alligators). No need to lock the cars, or the house doors etc...   If you plan to get chickens or have other animals fences are important, as there is nothing worse for neighborly relations than someone's dog getting out and eating a neighbor's chickens etc...

Wouldn't have it any other way. After having it I would be creeped out by NOT having it since I really do not want people walking up near the house especially since I often run outside after dark to lock up the chicken coop, get something out of the car, call the dogs in etc.... Once you are used to a level of privacy and space that becomes important.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
Posts: 405
Location: Middle Georgia
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Another reason that gates/fences are good is because it helps establish a curtilage area around the house which is an important legal point in many states when it comes to home defense. That means areas that are heavily used next to the home are considered part of the home and can be defended as such.

For instance if I saw someone on my porch at 2 am that means we have a BIG problem and it would be treated as a home invasion. That person cannot claim "Oh, I just came by to ask if I could use your phone".

And if folks live in the country with a fair amount of privacy the line between indoors and outdoors blurs a lot and you do treat many of the outdoor areas as if they were another room of your house.
 
Erica Colmenares
Posts: 55
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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Thanks so much, everyone, for all these responses. It helps me think about the gate issue, and it seems like a good idea to keep it. Right now, the gate doesn't have side-fences attached to it, but only a walker, horse, or possibly ATV could get around it to the lane, so for now it should be fine. Once we start building, though, I can see how we want to keep the building site secure.

Off to look up what a Mighty Mule is!

 
Erica Colmenares
Posts: 55
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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Travis Johnson wrote:
Last week I had my neighbor come up and ask me if he could hunt deer on my land. He has 400 acres of his own land so I thought he was getting a bit greedy, but I still told him he could. My wife asked me why. The reason is, we park tractors worth $270,000 in our distant fields sometimes, if I had said no they would not have had a window left in them; every window would have been shot out. Sometimes people do not look at the bigger picture.



I would have made the same decision. I prefer to keep things as friendly as possible with the neighbors, within reason. It can bite you in the butt, though. My mom let a guy use our lane as his driveway, even though he had access easement through another parcel, and then he sued her to make it legal. Luckily, we were able to purchase his land this past January, so his "driveway" is now gone.
 
Tina Hillel
pollinator
Posts: 161
Location: Virginia
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Sorry Erica, I meant to explain the Mighty Mule.  It is the brand of the motorized opener that attaches to a gate and acts as a swinging arm.  It needs to be attached to a pretty sturdy post. It needs to be hooked up to a battery.  My husband set it up with a second next to it so if it ever went out while he was out of town, I could easily swap wires instead of trying to find and lug a battery from the workshop. Great guy! He also used a marine battery so as not to worry about it out in the elements.

I don't know if all the models have them, but ours had a clicker like a garage door opener which made life easy not getting in and out of the car.  Ours was bought on a great sale with a coupon, but after all these years I don't remember the price. I know the husband was eyeing for a while before he decided to get it, so guessing not cheap.

I highly recommend setting it up with a grounding wire for storms.  While it was impressive to see the lightning strike, it really did a number on the motor.


 
pollinator
Posts: 620
Location: Victoria BC
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I've got one; I put it up asap after acquiring the property, on the advice of the neighbours.

Local custom; lots of gates like mine around here. Other places, putting one up is clearly not the done thing.

I keep it closed and locked unless I know someone is coming who doesn't have a key. This is not very friendly-like, and less in keeping with local custom, but my property was empty for decades while the previous owner left everything to decay, except when he was logging it. Lots of people got used to it being empty. The damage is surprisingly slight, but I don't want someone wandering in to smoke a joint and stumbling on... well, everything I own.


You can walk around mine if you need to, so a legit visitor without my cell number has the option.

I think of gates that are only shut when the owner is away, as 'rob-me' notices. Unless there is a dog/serious physical barrier, the main result is to announce.your absence. If you want to rob me, you're going to have to come back where I can see you to determine whether I'm home.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
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Dillon brought up a very important point. Closing the gate only when you're not home simply tells thieves casing your neighborhood when it's safe for them to enter your property. And it tells less desirable neighbors that your place is empty. I have one of those kind on my road but lucky for us he's terrified of our farm dogs. Plus he thinks we have hidden trail cams, so he doesn't take a chance on our place. He has been caught inside another neighbor's house, who instantly installed a gate & lock after that incident. And was caught walking around another neighbor's property, who instantly got in the habit of keeping their gate closed and locked. I don't consider that I live in a bad area, but we do have that one shady guy on this road. Plus with meth being a big problem in a subdivision about 10 miles away, those meth users will cruise around looking for a property to steal from. Oh they get caught often enough, but you usually never get your stolen stuff back.

I never leave my gate open, even if I'm expecting company. With everybody having cellphones nowadays, my company can text me from the gate when they arrive. Then I'll just give them the combination to open it. I can always change the combo if need be.
 
Posts: 226
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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I like gates, they’re visual indicators of ‘someone lives here, so be respectful’. On both properties (urban and rural) I’ve got gates that are appropriate for the prevailing needs.

There are a few unwritten rules in rural Australia:

  • 1.
  • Leave a gate how you found it. So, if it’s closed, go through it then close it behind; if it’s open, leave it open, if it’s locked, go away! (A farmer may be using the gate for stock management, changing it could deprive animals of water, feed, or change pasture rotation practices. None will win favour with the property owner or manager.)
  • 2.
  • In a car full of people, it is the responsibility of the person seated in the front passenger seat to open and close property gates. This can be a real pain in the butt when it’s several kilometres to a house, there are several dozen pasture gates to negotiate, it’s night time, pouring rain, near freezing, and the ground is ankle deep mud and cow shit – been there, done that!
  • 3.
  • Gates are sometimes omitted in preference to cattle grids. ANECDOTE: we were once caught behind a very long and painfully slow moving road-train on a narrow dirt road in an isolated part of NE South Australia. We couldn’t communicate with the driver because we had a CB and they use HF. At EVERY cattle grid crossing the truck would slow right down then slowly accelerate. It was driving us nuts. Eventually, at one point the truck came to a complete halt, started again, then stopped and we saw the driver rig a single strand of fencing wire with a pink ribbon attached back onto a post. We took the opportunity to have a chat and enquire about the strange behaviour. We were advised that the road is a major thoroughfare connecting isolated communities, but is on private land. The property owner was getting angry at repairing all the cattle grids due to speeding road trains, so initially banned all traffic on the road. Eventually, the property owner compromised and put a single strand of wire at EVERY cattle grid – it acted as a ‘gate’. So truck drivers had to stop and go through the motions of opening and closing them. It worked – no more damaged cattle grids. Eventually the owner agreed to remove all but one of the wires, and the truck drivers kept their end of the bargain and reduced through speeds. (A Road Train is equivalent to three or more 22 wheel semi-trailers carrying anything and everything from mining equipment to two tiered cattle carriers or three tiered sheep carriers.)
  • 4.
  • Don’t mess with fences e.g. cutting them or otherwise changing them. It’s definitely not a good idea and could lead to a shallow grave in the bush! Consider that some properties have fence lines hundreds of kilometres/miles long, and they’re damn expensive to install and repair, not forgetting the potential for stock losses and feral animal intrusions.

    Also, in regards to gates, cattle grids or strands of wire; their existence or absence is no indication of habitation. Almost every property has very aggressive working dogs that are NOT pets - visitors and intruders alike be aware that being maimed is a real possibility!

    Automatic bump or solar powered gates are a great idea, a work colleague had some type of pneumatic hose set-up, but he left work before I had the chance to ask how they worked.

     
    Tina Hillel
    pollinator
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    We also leave ours closed for the most part.  When expecting a delivery I leave it open and on occasion if runniing an errand and someone is still at home, I tend to leave it open.  

    Our gate is now part of a fence. Keeps our dogs in and the chicken killing neighbor dog out.
     
    pollinator
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    Now that we have farm dogs, that gate allows the dogs to have freedom to do their job. We don't have to worry about them leaving the property.



    This is the reason that our budget for the fence required a gate. There is absolutely no reason to have a fence that is not competent. Then it just is a funnel. I initially was putting in a deer fence, but it turns out that it is cheaper to install a dog fence and dogs than anything that will keep out deer.

    We live in a low-crime area but have the usual kids trying to drink beer, hunt etc. I see them on our drive every couple days (you would think word would have gotten out). There also is a guy on the street that has a craigslist-based business and another who has summer parties. So a fair amount of traffic on a dead-end road. The people we know will have access to the gate, the rest generally don't stop to look, around here a  gate means layered security, and a big dog in the yard means move on. Rural living has pretty much the same rules as F Agricola notes in Australia. It's funny, you could transplant a rural Aussie to a great deal of the rural US and they would be considered locals pretty quick. I found myself more at home in rural Australia than in Boston, easily.

    Travis, I am surprised your neighbor would even consider vandalizing your property. Here that would be considered a huge insult, and lead to ostracism and often "beggar thy neighbor" tit for tat. I would imagine this individual has embraced the ostracism. We initially had a local who used to hunt our property at all times of the year. I caught him in the act and told him this was the only warning, I will not have my family and animals at risk. I try to be at peace with all men, but there are always a few that need a little help. With the availability of cheap game cameras (they will be <$20 after hunting season) the risk of someone getting caught and getting a trespassing conviction is high, and most people here adapt, because they would lose their hunting license capability if caught hunting on the property, and hunting with a suspended license here is a BIG deal. You may have made the right call in the sense that the offer to let him hunt does not mean he will ever hunt (it is used around here as a way of saying they are welcome on your property), but anyone who would shoot out your windows is not someone I would extend that to. That makes it complex. Plus this same guy pulled the power play on my neighbor, which suggests bully behavior. If you don't stand up this time, there will be another opportunity and another. The other ploy is to say "not right now" like with a kid. They have a hard time figuring that one out since bullying is a really immature mindset.
     
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