Three inspirational gates: garden, city, Bill & Melinda

OK, I know. You could be forgiven for thinking that I’m just creating as many blog posts with odd titles as possible. After all the last one was called: “Sweet, hope and poodle”. And this one has a pretty odd title too. But do not worry, dear reader. I am not losing my marbles… that I know of anyways!

Here at Phantom Screens we’re all about the best of outdoor living and opening up your home to the outdoors – without those bothersome bugs.  And that means I spend a lot of time thinking about outdoor living areas and how to make them look great. Which leads me to the first of my inspirational gates.

Some people – myself included – love front doors and porches. In fact there are whole websites dedicated to the front door. And I can totally see why. After my trip to England last year I fell in love with the multitude of front doors on offer there. After all, with all that history you couldn’t fail to appreciate the huge selection of entrances – from the grand and palatial to the sweetest little cottage front door, surrounded by roses.

But if you wander back up the garden path, you discover the garden gate.

I love garden gates. They mark the entrance to the place that I love so much – the garden. They come in myriad designs and often reflect the personality of the gardener and the garden beyond. Whether it’s a simple five bar gate or an ornate Victorian wrought iron design or even (and I can’t say I’ll ever love them) a contemporary garden entrance, I can’t help but be attracted to them.

Maybe it’s because they are designed to keep people out, and my mischievous side perks up because I’m being forbidden from entry, or maybe it’s because they’re a portal into the garden, but either way the truth is: I simply love the garden gate.

They’re perfect for just leaning on and taking a moment to appreciate what lies beyond, for chatting with neighbors over and for swinging wide and welcoming people in. That’s why garden gates are top of my list.

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

So now we come onto city gates. They’re not that common in North America. I know that Quebec City in Canada has some beautiful historic gates – as do many of the medieval and Roman towns and cities in Europe.

A quick history lesson here: city gates were built for security and defense purposes – as well as for taxation and protection. They fell out of favor in the 19th century and many have since been demolished.

Why do they make my list? Well, having grown up in a Christian home, there are many city gates mentioned in the Bible (and not just the pearly gates!). One of the verses that I remember so clearly from Sunday school is: “Enter through the narrow gate … small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” I know there are times and places for talking about faith, but I couldn’t really talk about this topic without mentioning it!

And my final inspirational gates?

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates

Well, it has to be Bill and Melinda Gates. The Foundation they’ve created is – and here I quote the Foundation’s website: “Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, it works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

“In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people— especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.”

And having given over $28 billion dollars to their foundation, you can’t help admire them for their philanthropy and what they’re doing to make a difference in the world.

How about them for a pair of inspirational gates?

What do you think? Do you love particular architectural details? Are you a fan of front doors? And what about Bill and Melinda Gates? Let me know your thoughts!