IDIDN’T KNOW A PINTLE FROM A GUDGEON, but I knew I had dragged home some rusty, clunky iron tag-sale finds over the years that I’d grown tired of moving around the garage ever since. And so were born my trash-to-treasure style garden gates last week, thanks to a crafty friend who knows his hinge parts and a thing or two more.
This is not my first such adventure. Some 25 years ago, when I first bought this place, I explored the woods around it and found two foundations of homes long gone—and in one an iron bed, with its decorative headboard and footboard rusting among the collapsing stones. The headboard (above) became a gate by the house and seasonal home to a clematis; the footboard used to support a rose that I have since lost or cast out.
After that, I kept bringing things home, but never doing anything with them (sound familiar?). Two small panels with an open basket-weave, like a fancy pie crust, were probably once the grating or protective shutters over a low, arched window. Now they hang on pieces of plumbing pipe, marking two narrow pathways bisecting one big border.
My handy friend knew to ask: Did I want the pipe to rust like the “gates” that would be suspended from it? Yes, I said, and so he chose black pipe (capped, above), used for heating and gas lines and such, rather than galvanized, which is already less new-and-shiny looking. The black pipe will wear rather than remain gleaming silvery outdoors. The gudgeons are improvised with a pair of giant eye bolts that pierce the pipe, with a locking nut on the opposite side.
The other new gate (top photo and just above) was actually also a gate in its former life, and now hangs between two 8-by-8 posts I’d had lying behind the barn the last who knows how many years, since the spot where they once stood got dug up and changed when a piece of terrace went in. The posts will look better once vines do their camouflage thing, but we’re off to a good start, anyhow, and it now “announces” the entry to a series of raised vegetable beds. Fun.
Only problem: I am eyeing roadside tag sales with a new hunger again, now that I’ve managed to clear some space in the garage.