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How To Layout Your Gate

Basic principles of gate planning and installation include the POCKET, i.e. the gate's distance from the turn into your driveway, SQUARENESS, i.e. the gate's angle to the drive path, IN-SWING/OUT-SWING, and HANDING, i.e. which side of the gate has the hinges.

1. The Pocket

It is most desirable to have a small "pocket" in front of your gate. If the gate must be right up against your road, a wider opening should be considered, if possible.




Allows you to pull off road while you wait for gate to open.

Prevents you from pulling off road as you wait for the gate. Prevents larger vehicles from making the turn in.

Doesn't allow a pocket, but allows larger vehicles (a moving van, etc.) to make the turn into the drive.

2. Squareness

Since automatic gates open only slightly more than 90 degrees, it is important to make the gate perpendicular to your drive path.




Curved driveways demand extra care in layout. No one wants their gate hit by a vehicle.




3. In-Swing / Out-Swing

The most desirable configuration for a swinging gate is to swing inward. However, certain driveway conditions can make it necessary to swing a gate outward. In the first case below, an in-swinging gate opens into the drive space.


when open, in-swinging gate protrudes into drive space.

SOLUTION (Right): change gate to out-swinging gate.


Another condition that may force you swing your gate outward is an upward sloping driveway.

Handing Gates 2

when in-swinging gate opens, it hits the ground. You can hang gate higher on the post, but more than 6" - 8" above grade looks bad.

SOLUTION (Right): install gate as out-swing. Has plenty of clearnance.


Handing Gates 1

Depending on whether the gate swings in or out, the gate operator you choose will need to be configured accordingly.

A linear gate operator can be set up as "Pull to Open" (drawing A) or "Push to Open" (drawing B). The gate swings in or out, while the operator remains inside the gate.

Works with Polaris gate openers.


An articulated arm gate operator can be set up to open inward (drawing C) or or to open outward (drawing D) but to open outward, the operator must go outside the gate.

Works with Elite and Liftmaster gate openers.


4. Handing Your Gate

Imagine standing outside your gate, then ask yourself, are the hinges on the right or left? See the four examples here.


5. Swinging vs Sliding Gate

A swinging gate is the first choice if possible. A swinging gate is generally less expensive, better looking and safer than a sliding gate. However, if you have one of the following conditions, you may want to consider a sliding gate :

  • Heavy snows that prevent the gate from swinging freely (note: a swinger can be hung up to 12 inches off the ground to overcome this).
  • An uphill driveway that prevents the gate from swinging inward. Typically, swinging gates swing inward to the property, however selected gate openers can be configured to push the gate open to the downhill side. See In-swing / Out-swing above.

For more information about sliding gates, see our Sliding Gates section.

6. Single Swing vs Bi-Parting Pair

If driveway is 12 feet wide or less . . . A single swing gate is most economical

If driveway is over 14 feet wide...A bi-parting pair (like French doors) is the answer. (Bi-parting gates need two gate openers configured as a Master/Slave.)

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