When you are trying to imagine your perfect home or ranch driveway gate, it is easy to get  excited and overwhelmed with all the options.  But, deciding whether you want an arched vs straight-line design is a fundamental first step.


The factors that might influence the shape of your gate include your preference, home style, natural property features and cost.  Let’s discuss each to help you move the needle on your ideal gate design.



Is it just me, or does anyone else get stuck with worry about making a mistake? Or, paralyzed with concern over what other people think? I do so much that I forget about what I like!


What you prefer should influence your gate design.  Don’t forget it can really be that simple.

vase for gate inspiration

One client could not decide on the gate shape she wanted.  We asked her to tell us about something she liked, so she gave us a vase for inspiration.  The resulting gate design complimented her home style.


By the way, that is typically how it works.  It is rare that you would have a preference that doesn’t generally fit your home style.  So, relax.  Just be able to communicate what you like to your designer in some way.



I don’t have an example of a gate that we’ve built where the home style didn’t in some way influence the gate design. However, I can site times when it was the primary driving force for a design.  This might be the case for your ideal gate so let me show you a couple of examples.

porte cochere iron gate

The porte-cochere defined the size and shape of this gate.  The gate details complimented the overall Mediterranean-style home exterior


modern-french matte-black driveway gates

A simple low-bell arch looked best here because of its contrast to the straight lines of this modern-French style home



You may want to take into account natural property features like trees, hills, or ponds.  Using an arched or a straight-line design can add to the visual appeal of a treasured property feature.


A dipping-arched design can be used to frame up a beautiful old oak tree.  Or, a stand of tall pines might need a substantial straight-line design in order to stand out.

gate framing oak tree

faux wood painted ranch style gates with header

Take pictures of your property entrance and any features you want to highlight to discuss with whomever is designing and building your gate.



Just so you know, there are additional costs to fabricating arches.  That’s because an arch is an added step in the fabrication process that includes the use of additional machines and labor.


Depending on the design and the metal profile, arches will either be mechanically rolled, or box framed.  Most of the time, rolling costs less than box framing.  However, there are limits to what can be rolled.



Most square, round or rectangular metal tube profiles can be mechanically rolled depending on the radius of the arch and the thickness of the metal.  The thickness must be adequate to prevent it from buckling or creasing.

driveway iron gate details

4″ x 2″ rolled rectangular tube

white gate with overhead arch

8″ x 8″ square-tube header


To keep the weight of the gate down and prevent the metal from buckling on an arched design with a greater radius than rolling will allow, we use the technique of box framing the metal.  This method is where we weld the edges to create the custom arches of bulkier designs.


box framed aluminum

Box-framed arch

Besides creating a gate design that has an arched shape, we use box framing to round some corners.  Here we used the technique to add an interesting arch to the top corners of this gate.

iron gate box framed corners



Our clients want custom gates that are beautiful, but at the same time they want them to look substantial and secure.  So, we have a high demand for hefty and/or imposing-looking gates.  But, the law of diminishing marginal returns applies to installation, automation and shipping because gates can become too heavy to be practical or even feasible. (Quick shout out to Dr. Graves, for introducing me to the term, “diminishing marginal returns”, in Ag Economics 101 at Texas Tech University.)


Gate weight is a big reason we have been transitioning a lot of clients to aluminum from steel.  While the thickness of aluminum still applies for rolling vs box framing the metal, we can add to the substantial appearance of the gate without adding weight.


And, the benefit of NO RUST is huge. Especially on our gates with a matte-black finish or faux-wood-grain paint.  No one wants to see rust on those when we are done – including us!

box framed aluminum gate

Aluminum finished with matte-black and faux-wood-grain paint

woodgrain painted iron gate

Faux-pecan-wood-grain painted gate with matte-black brackets


Start designing your dream gate entrance with our 3-step, kick-start guide.  The guide includes a full page of traditional gate shape options.  Be sure to keep us posted on how it is going.  Send us your pictures!  Comment below if you have any questions.

aberdeen gate color logo

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