How can I fix my driveway gate so my dog cannot escape under it?
July 6, 2010 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Our driveway is on a very small incline. At the bottom of the driveway, which exits onto the street, is a gate attached to our fence. The gate swings inwards, so when the gate is closed, there is a small gap at the bottom to accommodate the incline when it's fully open. Our dog can escape out of this gap. Other than plugging it with a long piece of scrap wood while we're out with him, how can we solve this problem?

A few ideas I've had include:
- mudflaps - long flaps of rubber that will bend back when the gate is open, and fall fat when the gate is closed
- some kind of hinged piece of fence or wood - we could kick it up with our feet when the gate is closed, and kick it up to lock it up when the gate is open
- install a plastic speedbump (like this) or pour some asphalt/concrete in a bump on the outside of the gate to reduce the gap.
- install super strong magnets (or hooks) on the back of the fence, and get some wood or rigid plastic cut to fit properly, which we could attach easily onto the fence when it's closed. Not convenient but might work.
- whatever it is needs to be able to withstand opening and closing the gate 1-2 times a day.

We're not going to install a wireless dog fence right now, plus it's not exactly the right solution for our special snowflake dog. I don't want to elaborate much on this at the moment -- suffice it to say we've looked into it, and asked trainers, and they've all recommended against it for the time being. I'm also not keen on a tie-out stake, but if we can't solve the fence problem, it's an option if we're out there for an hour or so together.

The gap is about 6-7 inches total. Our dog is small - 11lbs. He won't be out there completely unattended, but we like to sit in the backyard or work on projects/gardening out there without wondering if he's going to get out of jail around the front.

We'd love any suggestions for this project! If photos would be helpful, let me know and I'll try to post some tonight.
posted by barnone to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rehang gate so it opens outwards; at same time increase drop of gate? Is that allowed?
posted by londongeezer at 1:43 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: New gate that rolls to the side, rather than swinging?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:46 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't think we can reverse the gate -- it opens right into the street. It's a busy enough street that it would be hard to jump out and close the gate again.

Rolling to the side is an interesting idea. I don't have the skills or time for that, but could probably call a local fence place for a quote. Not entirely sure whether there is room for it but it could work.
posted by barnone at 1:54 PM on July 6, 2010

Can pour some concrete so that the area where the gate swings open is level and then you step down through the gate to the street?
posted by bajema at 1:58 PM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: You need something like the concept as an upside-down drop-side crib. Basically, cut a piece of material - wood, screen, lattice, etc - wide enough to cover the gap, then mount it so it can be easily raised/lowered when needed.
If you use something very heavy, it could bend your hinges, but a lightweight material should suffice for a small dog.
posted by smelvis at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you re-hung it so it opened outward, could you just leave it open while you're out and about? You could secure it open, so it wouldn't be hanging out into the street.
posted by galadriel at 2:05 PM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: Readjust the hinges so their swing line is tilted enough from vertical (plumb) to be perpendicular to the driveway incline. The bottom of the gate will be in line with the ground when open or closed.
posted by rocket88 at 2:16 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would think that a sufficiently motivated doggy would just push through a mud-flap, but that's the general direction I'd go. I would think that a speed-bump or anything else you attach to the ground is just going to be a magnet for catching toes and tripping people.

I'd think that a hinged piece of wood attached to the inner part of the gate, which you flip up to open (maybe put it on a cord so you don't have to bend over, and attach a magnet to hold it open while you are out) and then when you return, you close the gate and flip down the doggy-flap to block the exit.
posted by quin at 2:18 PM on July 6, 2010

(swing line = axis)
posted by rocket88 at 2:18 PM on July 6, 2010

Rabbit Fence (Guard)

rabbit guard

Attach it to the gate with zipties or metal wire...

I did this with my cast iron gate that had about a 4-6" gap at the bottom.

I am able to open/close the gate, the wire only hits the ground in a couple places...

If its going to 'scrape' on the driveway... use the plastic stuff and see how it works... maybe leave a lot of slack at the top so you can lower it down more if it gets worn...

This keeps my chickens, dogs, and rabbits inside the fence...
posted by anthroprose at 2:32 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take a pole with a caster (free spinning) wheel on the bottom and adhere it to the gate in such a way that it can move up and down as the gate opens and closes. Simplest way to achieve this is to have that pole simply "float" inside another larger pole which is attached to the gate.

If you put several of these on the gate you now have something which moves up and down as the ground under the gate changes position. Attache chicken wire or something else more attractive to it and you have a gap-filler which doesn't have to drag on the ground. If your outer guide poles are shorter than the inner floating poles you will be able to attach the screen/shield at top and bottom w/o having it prevent movement.

Make sense?
posted by phearlez at 3:13 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tilt the connection points of the gate. Basicly re hang it lower but with the top pin closer to road then the bottom pin. The end of gate should swing up a little.
posted by ihadapony at 3:51 PM on July 6, 2010

How does your dog feel about water? Maybe a sprinkler in front of the gate would deter him from even going near it.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:24 PM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: I'd probably way over engineer this and do something like attach vertical extensions to the existing gate (in line with the current vertical pieces), with something like an inline-skate style caster on the bottom. This extension would have travel up and down slightly greater than the total change in elevation.

That way, when you open the gate, the casters roll, the extensions move up to accommodate the change, and when you close it, they move back down.

No idea if that makes sense to you---but in my head, it's flawless.
posted by TomMelee at 7:15 PM on July 6, 2010

As rocket88 said. Should have previewed.
posted by ihadapony at 9:18 PM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: Riffing on TomMelee'a idea: Mount the gate onto a tube at the hinged end. Slide the tube over a post to act as the new pivot point. Then put casters at the base of the gate. When you open/close it the gate rolls on the casters and slides up/down the pole. That way the base is always the same height off the ground.
posted by TDIpod at 10:56 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Attach a 2 x 4 or really anything that will block the gap to the gate in such a way that it easily slides up and down on wooden dowels or thin metal rods. You could probably just zip tie the rods to the gate itself and not have to do anything permanent. Then simply release the block when the gate is closed and lift it up when you need to move the gate.
posted by COD at 5:40 AM on July 7, 2010

Response by poster: You're all geniuses! I like the idea of attaching something on the bottom, like an extension that moves up and down when you open the gate. Seems like the easiest solution that I could complete on my own. I have no idea how to readjust the hinges on a slant -- maybe a handyman could do it for me.

I just tried the plastic mesh on the bottom and it ends up bending, leaving a kinked piece of plastic through which the damn dog can escape.

Anyone in Boston who wants to do this?

Thank you all!
posted by barnone at 10:00 AM on July 7, 2010

You could probably do the adjusting part (depending on your fence) with something like zip-ties, pvc pipe, and re-bar (that'll be about the cheapest metal bar you can find. Dowel rods or 2x2's would also work, but would require bigger pvc. Attaching the casters to rebar might be challenging.

TDIpod's suggestion is really, really good. Will require a ton more muscle up front, but it's a much more elegant solution.
posted by TomMelee at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2010

« Older Having a (not that) unconventional relationships   |   I am getting so hot that I want to take my clothes... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.