What Are Your Gate Options When Space Is Limited?

The cheapest and most conventional type of gate will be your typical swing gate. The problem is that swing gates require a decent amount of clearance when they open up. If you don’t have a good few feet of clearance, then the gates are going to knock into things.

Thankfully, there are gate options for those that may have limited space. They aren’t going to be as cheap as a swing gate, but at least you will have a gate that won’t be bashing into everything in its path. 

What Are Your Gate Options When Space is Limited?

If you are looking for a space-saving gate, then you have three options available. 

Sliding Gates

This is the most common space-saving gate.

Sliding gates, as the name suggests, will slide rather than swing open. They tend to be automatic, however, you will be able to get manual sliding gates if you want to save a little bit of money.

Sliding gates will work best in properties that have horizontal space available. After all, you are going to need to completely slide that gate open. The gate is going to need to go somewhere. This means that it will only be a great option if, once you install the sliding gate, it is not going to be sliding on to somebody else’s property.

That being said, there are newer designs of sliding gates available. Rather than slide horizontally, you can slide them around the corner. These will often need to be custom-made. Because of that, they can end up being a lot more expensive. 

Lift Gates

Lift gates are going to be one of the more expensive options, but probably one of the best for those lacking in horizontal space.

As the name suggests, a lift gate will lift the gate up. They tend to be automatic, although you can get manual versions. Although, the manual lift gates tend to be pretty tricky to move.

While lift gates are going to be useful in most situations, they won’t work for everything. You have to remember that the lift gate is going to need to lift up high enough to allow a car out. Most will do that. However, if you have a larger vehicle e.g. RV or tall truck, then chances are that the lift gate won’t lift up high enough to accommodate that.

Some taller people may even find that they need to crouch down if they want to walk under a lift gate! 

Bi-Fold Gate 

This is is likely going to be the cheapest option, but it won’t be the right option for everybody.

With a bi-fold gate, your gate will essentially be broken into several parts. As the name suggests, this will typically be 2, but it could be up to 4/5.

Each of these parts will be hinged together.

When you open up the gate, the parts will fold onto one another.

As we said, they may not be the best option for every situation. Unlike the previous two options, you will need to have a bit of clearance space when you open the gate up. If you have less than a few feet between your vehicle (or whatever is behind the gate) and the bi-fold gate, then this option won’t work. Bi-fold gates tend to be best suited for those that have some clearance, but not quite enough for a typical gate.

That being said, a good gate installer may be able to work around your clearance space issues by building you a custom bi-fold gate. In theory, the more parts your gate is broken up into, the less clearance space you will need.


How Much Space Do You Need For a Sliding Gate? 

If you are opting for a sliding gate, then you will need to have horizontal space (assuming that you are not getting one of the gates that slide around the corner)

The amount of space that you will need horizontally will be dependent on the gate that you have.

Generally speaking, you will need at least the size of the gate plus an extra 2-3 feet of horizontal space to allow the gate to slide into position properly. In most cases, this means that, at a minimum, you are going to need to have around 12-feet of horizontal space.

What Is The Best Material For a Gate In a Limited Space?

Unless you have serious space issues, pretty much any gate material is going to be fine. There won’t be a huge amount of difference in terms of thickness.

Nowadays, most people opt for aluminum gates. Not only are they ever so slightly thinner than other options, but they are a bit harder wearing. In fact, pretty much the only gate type that can beat aluminum in terms of sturdiness will be a wrought iron gate. However, these can be a bit more expensive to purchase, and you may have fewer options available.  They also require far more regular maintenance to keep them looking brilliant.

Can You Install a Gate Yourself? 

While it is certainly possible, most gates for limited spaces will need to be custom-made. Even the simpler options such as a bi-fold gate will likely need to be specially designed for the area.

Some people that have a lot of experience in DIY may be able to install their own sliding gate or lift gate. However, it is likely going to be far more hassle than it is worth.

Since your gate is likely going to be the first thing that people see when they come to your property, you want it done properly. This means that you should hire an expert to do it. It is going to save you so much time and aggravation.

Final Word

Just because you may have limited space available, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a gate installed. You do have options available. The main ones are a bi-fold, lift, or sliding gates. The right one for you will be dependent on your budget and situation. Talk to a gate installation company to find out what they recommend. 

Driveway Expert