Should A Driveway Gate Open In Or Out?

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A driveway gate is a great way to add value and style to your home. If you’re considering installing one for your driveway, there are some design questions you might have. Specifically, should the gate open in or out? We have researched this question to bring you the answer. 

Your driveway gate should be installed to open inward toward your property, except in rare cases. Driveway gates can also be installed to open outward or even slide, but opening inward is the recommendation for three main reasons: 

  • Building Codes 
  • Safety
  • Convenience

We will discuss the reasons that installing your gate to open inward is the best practice. We will also explain when another option might be a better choice and discuss what you need to consider when choosing another option.

The front of a large luxury home in an expensive subdivision, Should A Driveway Gate Open In Or Out?Why Your Gate Should Open Inward 

Building Codes

Believe it or not, it can be against the law to install your gate to open outward. The direction of the gate opening isn’t the issue here. Instead, it is prohibited for a gate on private property to open onto a road, path, sidewalk, or highway. If your gate is too close to the end of your driveway and extends outward, you might be at risk for breaking this law if your property is situated against public property. 

Safety 

The driveway entrance and open gate to large Florida home

While it seems a bit extreme to have a law governing how your driveway gate opens, the law was put into place for good reason. If your gate opens outward and your driveway isn’t long enough, you run the risk of your gate opening out into oncoming traffic. It is sometimes difficult enough to pull out of a driveway in time to avoid oncoming cars, but it is even more challenging to open a gate and get out of the driveway with enough time before the next car goes by. 

Your outward-opening gate may also obstruct your vision, making it difficult to see when other vehicles are approaching. Alternatively, you may be hidden from passing cars, and they may not be aware that you are exiting your driveway. 

Inconvenience 

A similar problem can occur if your driveway ends at a sidewalk. Pedestrians move more slowly than cars, of course, so you will have more time to open your gate and get out of your driveway before you risk colliding with a pedestrian. However, if your gate opens up onto a sidewalk, there is a good chance that the gate will block the sidewalk while you leave your driveway. This is inconvenient and unfair to those that are using the sidewalk. 

When Gates Can Swing Outward 

Red Brick gates open to a path and a garden

There are instances where it’s okay, and even necessary, for your gate to swing outward. 

Length Of Driveway 

If you prefer a gate that swings outward and you have a long enough driveway, you won’t have any issue doing so. To determine if your driveway is long enough, keep in mind that your gate will have enough room to swing out without blocking any roads or sidewalks. Your driveway needs to be long enough that cars can give the gate enough space to open without the vehicle itself blocking any roads. 

Barriers

Having a gate that swings inward requires a significant amount of space. The gate should be able to open entirely without blocking or colliding with any necessary area in your yard, such as your home, parked cars, or any yard activities. If you don’t have enough space in your yard for the gates to work appropriately, it may be necessary to install a gate that swings outward. 

Keep in mind, though, that not having enough space in the yard does not exclude you from the rule that prohibits gates from blocking the roads. If you cannot install an inward swinging gate and your driveway isn’t long enough to establish an outward swinging gate with sufficient space, you may need to consider other alternatives or forego a gate altogether. 

An Alternative Option 

Automatic wooden sliding driveway gate

If neither an inward opening gate nor an outward opening gate is a viable option for your property, you may consider a driveway gate that slides open instead of swings open. A sliding gate decreases the amount of space that you will need in your yard because you don’t need extra space to accommodate the gate as it opens. Instead, the gate will slide into the fixed section along a track, much like the automatic doors you see in grocery stores. They tend to be more expensive than traditional swinging gates, but they offer more security and look attractive on your property. 

Does A Driveway Gate Improve Home Value? 

A driveway gate can improve your home’s value if the gate you install is high-quality. For example, if your gate is equipped with an automatic gate opener, your home’s value will increase. Also, the gate will be more appealing to potential buyers, adding the extra value of increased marketability. If you want your gate to increase your home’s value, however, you must keep up with the gate’s maintenance so that it is in good working condition when you are ready to sell your property. A neglected gate will be a hassle or an added expense for potential buyers, and it might deter them from purchasing your property.  

How Wide Should My Driveway Gate Be? 

To determine how wide your driveway gate should be, you need to know the width of your driveway. The gate should be at least as wide as your driveway, with a little bit extra on each side. For example, if your driveway is nine feet wide, your gate should be 10 or 12 feet wide. 

Do Driveway Gates Deter Thieves? 

Driveway gates can contribute to deterring thieves. Having a gate on your property makes breaking into your home more time-consuming, and thieves may deem your home to be too much of a risk to attempt to break into. However, you should not rely upon a driveway gate as your sole method to secure your home. A security system is also recommended.

Summary 

Ultimately, whether you choose to install a gate that swings inward or one that swings outward is a matter of preference. However, you must take accurate measurements before planning to install an outward swinging face. You want to be sure that your property is large enough to accommodate this type of gate without violating laws or creating a dangerous situation. 

Are you planning on remodeling your driveway or installing a fence to complement your new gate? Take a look at these articles for inspiration. 

13 Types Of Fences For Your Backyard

7 Best Paint Choices for a Wood Fence

21 Asphalt Driveway Ideas To Inspire You

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