View Full Version : Efficient layout and gate placement

Jul. 15, 2010, 03:18 AM
It's time to pin down exactly where the fence is going to go, and since this is my first time, I want some seasoned eyes.

Here's the property and the current plan:

The two pastures add up to about 4 acres. We definitely want to put in a sacrifice area, and the part colored is the worst, weediest part of the pasture. It seemed like the best part to sacrifice. There is already a 12x36 concrete pad where the run in will be. It will hopefully have swinging dividers and gates so it can be made into 3 stalls, but will typically stay open. It will have a 12x36 overhang on the front.

There is a natural swale that runs in front of the fenceline between the house and pastures. The property slopes slightly toward the woods and there is a creek/swampy area inside the treeline.

The fence to the left and bottom will be no climb and electric. The rest will be 3-4 strands of electric.

The two red markings to the left of the run in will be large (~14 ft?) gates into the pastures strictly for equipment. We were thinking about having these be tape/spring gates to save money. The two yellow marks and one red in the sacrifice area (color coordination: fail) will be horse/people gates.

My few questions:
Does this seem like a reasonably efficient layout and placement?

Is there any way to make a metal gate fold back flat along the fenceline? I've seen the stupids get 'trapped' in the 90 degree angle from the gate rather than walking through the opening.

What is a good size for horse/people gates?

Jul. 15, 2010, 06:22 AM
I have the metal tube gates and they fold back against the fence. My layout is very similar to yours and I added a gate at the end of the line that divides the pastures so I could open up the area and ride in both sides to be able to gallop my horse for conditioning. Instead of people gates I have a small gap in the fence that allows me to walk through but not big enough for a horse or pony.

Jul. 15, 2010, 06:22 AM
What a cute set up. The only thing I would suggest is make sure your gates swing away, so you dont get a "box" when bringing them in. We have a post "stopper" so the
gatedoesnt hit into the fence, if electric, the gate fires up too!

You may want to have a 12-14 ft gate between fields and into the one for the
fertilizer guy, or weed killer guy, they are grateful when they can get into the fields with out taking things down. It also is helpful if you have someone get your manure pile. Our "people gate" is about 3 feet wide, although we dont use it much, it was there when we got the place.

In good weather you can use the field to the left, and bad weather the one with the run in shed, helps your mind, since run ins are things horses seem to like to look at, but not use...:) The sacrifice area is a great idea when you have a ton of rain and dont want to trash your fields, or a huge blizzard and you just want them out for a bit.

Cute place!

Jul. 15, 2010, 08:17 AM
Yes, gates can be set so they swing flat against a wall or fenceline when open. It is how you set the hinges on the gate post that determines how far the gate swings. Being a bit of a safety freak about these things, I always set gates so that:

-the opening side is on the main fenceline, NOT in a corner. I hate getting trapped in a corner, trying to make the horse step back while pulling the gate open.
-there is a 'stop post' on the opening side, which prevents the gate from swinging all the way through the opening. I orient the gate and stop post so that if someone forgets to latch it, horses pushing on it will not be able to open it and escape
-the gate hinges themselves are slightly offset, so that the top hinge is closer to the closing position and the bottom is slightly (1 inch) farther away. This makes the gate swing closed by itself, so again, if someone is being frizz-brained, the gates protect against escapes.


Jul. 15, 2010, 08:26 AM
the most important thing I can think of is DO NOT put your gates in a corner. They did that here to save money, and it is a nightmare.

Jul. 15, 2010, 09:23 AM
I just have one heads up... the sacrifice area... you mentioned is already the most weeded/yucky section. Also- a swale is nearby and drains into the woods. Be sure the sacrifice area is not a low spot or wet spot- it will get worse!

Sacrifice areas are best high/dry so not to make a mud to their hip- pit!

Setup looks great! I agree w/pp about gate placement not in the corners- we did that too and wish I hadn't. Hard to move 13 gates with flex fence. ugh.

Jul. 15, 2010, 09:35 AM
Yup, move gates one post away from corners for easiest use. (for both horses and vehicles)

Also do you own land into those woods at all? If so, maybe consider one gate out of one of the paddocks into the wooded areas for bringing the tractor through to dump old leaves, down branches, etc. However do make sure that's a good strong gate and for one like that I'd add a chain and lock for safety's sake. It won't be used often and the lock won't be an annoyance.

Also if it's possible and you own some of those woods...consider fencing into them a little bit off one paddock or both. Clear the undergrowth out if you fence in part. On hot summer bug-filled days often woods are much cooler and big free than a run in out in the open can be. More comfy for the horses and easier for you so you won't be using electric to run fans in the run in and they wo't be standing in there filling it with poop and ruining bedding. :winkgrin:

Great idea having the sacrifice area visible from the front of the property. If possible, scrape topsoil off and grade the area so it has a gradual slope away from the buildings and into the woods for rain run off. Adding some packed process helps keep it muck free which makes everything easier. :yes:

Overall what a nice little set up! Love all those extra small buildings. Great spot for the hay barn and getting to it with trucks. Maybe consider a small driveway/wide path of stone of some sort from buildings to horse area so moving hay there is easier if the ground is soaked.

I'd love to have 2 large grassy grazing areas right off my barn like that! :yes: Very cute!

Jul. 15, 2010, 01:01 PM
This is exactly why I posted. I know perfectly what you guys mean about not setting gates in corners, but it never crossed my mind when drawing the plans.

I also understand what you guys are saying about setting the hinges so the gates can fold back. I wasn't thinking that through very clearly this morning.

The sacrifice area will be scraped, have geotextile put down and rock/footing added. Generally speaking, no part of the pasture seems wetter than any other, but that will be built up accordingly. There used to be another barn there that was torn down before we bought the place, and there are big ruts in the ground. Besides being horribly weedy, our thinking was that dumping the amounts of rock needed would both smooth the ground and eliminate and potential leftover debris from surfacing. Just went through one nail in the hoof. Don't want another!!

We do own another 5 acres into the woods (mostly straight back from the house, and about ~50 ft on the side). Our first thought was to try to run fence into the woods, both for shade and added space, but it's so dense that we ended up nixing that idea. For now at least. I'm not sure what kind of equipment we'd need to get that tamed down a little, but it would be a nice bonus.

I don't know if putting in a path from the hay barn to the pasture is in the cards right now, but it's a great thought and certainly something to put on the "I want" list.

Thanks to all who posted, and please keep them coming!

Jul. 15, 2010, 02:37 PM
Do you have room to ride around the outside of your fencing?
We pulled our fenceline in 12 feet so we could ride/mow, etc around the perimeter of the property. We can put some jumps along the outside of one long paddock and build a gymnastic line.
It's nice too if (ha, when!) there's repairs, we can drive the truck all the way around.

Jul. 15, 2010, 04:31 PM
Second Baysngreys on fencing in from the wooded section, especially if the 4 strands of electric are running along those two sides. You'll want room to
work to keep the vegetation trimmed so that it doesn't touch the fence.

While gates in corners might not always be ideal, it is often very cost effective when using tensioned products as it saves a great deal on install costs by not duplicating bracing and extra tensioners for short spaces.

Jul. 15, 2010, 08:48 PM
I dunno, I've always put gates in corners and never had a problem with it. A simple "get back you idiots" usually does the trick. Gates in corners also make it easier to herd something that's being a butthead about being caught- it only takes one person to get them through the gate and into a smaller area.

As for horse/people gates, I have couple of 5' pipe gates. They're about perfect- big enough to safely lead or ride through and light enough so that they don't sag. Speaking of sagging- the big 14 and 16' gates like to do this. I don't like using wire and turnbuckle because of safety reasons, so we drive a piece of treated lumber alongside the post, and make sure we set the gate on top of it so there's no pressure pulling on the hinge post.

One thing you might consider when you build your run-in shed is hay storage, at least enough for a few days or a week. If you're located anywhere where winter can get nasty or spring super muddy, you'll appreciate having at least a few bales in the barn.

I like your set-up, it's very cute. I wish I had an aerial photo when I was trying to figure out where I wanted my fences to go!

Jul. 15, 2010, 09:24 PM
Ooo, definitely a nice thing to have a riding/working track around the fencing if possible. :yes:

For a person to access in and out I have a walk through built into the fence line. No gate to open and close and it works well for me, however carrying bags of feed through mine can be tricky due to it being narrow.
My fence goes up to the barn on two sides...the end post on the house side is set and braced about 1' from the corner of the barn. I an easily slip through this without opening gates, the horses can't. I do keep a chain across it in case on gets the idea to try to squeeze through, but no horses have tried it yet.

It isn't that hard to semi-clear a small section of woods. Much easier than actual clearing...you leave all the mature trees standing and just remove the brush and saplings to make move around room but keep the shade. A small to medium tractor that fits through the mature trees can be used to shove over the smaller stuff so it pops out by the roots without leaving stumps. Then you can use plain thick coated wire and staples or eye screws to run a few lines from tree to tree for fencing without worrying about hot fence shorting from branches and having to put in posts.

I'm waiting to have time to do this to a big wooded piece of land I have so I can have "clean woods" for a summer shaded turnout. Also as something with a little more interest than an plain open paddock, but then I don't have large open grazing areas like you have and grass tends to hold their interest just fine, LOL!

For large gates...I use gate anchors. They're great IMO...I can swing the gate any which way and then just shove down on the anchor pin to lock it in that position and to also support the weight of the gate so I don't wear out my gate posts and have droopy gates. This is the type of anchor I have:

These are my gate latches:
very easy one hand operation...just lift one pin and give the gate a slight nudge and it swings open. And if you hang your gates level, you can just give it a push and it swings closed and relatches itself. I've found you never forget to leave a gate open with these because you don't have to stop, go back and latch the gate. They're also super easy to use while mounted.
I did have one gelding a while back who figured them out...but he was sort of an evil genius anyways. When I had him I just added chains with carabiners. With the two I have now no chains are needed.

ShakyTails, have you checked to see if your property has a satellite photo? This site has some pretty good overhead photos of most areas:
After typing in the address, you can click birdseye view for a photo like the OPs.
I wanted to do the same when I was planning mine...but my overhead view when we bought this place was a photo of trees. The place was too wooded to see the topography or even any buildings, LOL! (or the street, that was invisible too)
They've since updated the photos again and were smart enough to take the photos late fall/early winter when the leaves were down and you could see something other than trees. Of course I already had my property laid out by then...and the new photo showed my new paddock and barn, LOL! A tad late methinks.

Jul. 15, 2010, 09:56 PM
MistyBlue- thanks for the link (I'd never tried Bing), but the photos are still only slightly updated. It looks like maybe 6 years old since I can't see any fences or equipment, but the barn is up at least. And of course it won't let me do Bird's eye, just aerial. Ahh, the joys of living in rural Kentucky- and I'm only an hour from Louisville! A couple years ago we did get an aerial photo when the photo people came knocking on our door. It's kinda neat- in the picture DH is bush-hogging the big pasture. I wish I'd known they were taking pictures so we could have had all the equipment lined up nice and pretty.

Jul. 16, 2010, 12:22 AM
I agree about a riding/working track along the edge of the pasture. The farm where I keep my horse has this and it makes a nice addition to the trails in a patch of woods on one side of the farm.

Jul. 16, 2010, 01:22 AM
Buy the gates before you set where the posts will be for them. For example, if you buy an 8' gate, depending upon the maker, it will likely be 7'6" +/- 3", not a true 8'. In fact, the one thing I can promise you is that they will NOT be 8' long. :)

I have a 16' gate into all of my areas, and there have been times when I've needed every inch of that for some heavy equipment being maneuvered here or there. My sacrifice area is the last-ditch turnaround spot for any rig that is too large to turn around anywhere else. 12' or 14' is only adequate if you know that you'll have a straight shot before and after. Vehicles that have come on to the property, in addition to horse trailers and various construction deliveries, include a long hay squeeze and a 40' container.

I think tape/spring gates are fine for gates you won't be using frequently. If you decide they're not, you can always put in 'real' gates later.

I also have a riding track on the outside. Very nice.

Jul. 16, 2010, 06:16 AM
We do own another 5 acres into the woods (mostly straight back from the house, and about ~50 ft on the side). Our first thought was to try to run fence into the woods, both for shade and added space, but it's so dense that we ended up nixing that idea. For now at least. I'm not sure what kind of equipment we'd need to get that tamed down a little, but it would be a nice bonus.

Rent some goats:yes: You'd be amazed how quickly they can clear out underbrush in the woods - and then you can just pick and choose which trees, if any, could be cut out.

Jul. 16, 2010, 06:36 AM
One recommendation I'd make, is cut each of your fields in half the long way so that you have four 1-acre fields.

I have about 3.5 acres of grass and it's cut into 7 pieces.

I have three horses.

Depending on how fast they eat the grass I move them a lot. Often, they're moved each day. I want to make sure they don't eat their favorite spots down to nothing.

Move them when the grass at it's shortest in any spot is no less than 3 inches.

Your basic set up looks nice.

Jul. 16, 2010, 06:36 AM
Put in the widest gate you can where you want truck & equipment to have access. If 16' is unwieldy consider paired 8' gates.
You can always put in a ground post to keep one of the pair fixed.
I have a 12' gate at the front of my barn and already an excavator has torqued one hinge getting his equipment in & out.

Also put in more gates than you think you'll need. Picture yourself walking across an area and not having to go out the same way you came in.
I did this for my small (1/2ac) pasture but - D'OH! - not for the large 2ac one.
So much fun to have to drive the mower allllllllll the way back to that one gate to get out.

Ditto keeping a path mowed around the fenceline.
My horses keep a 2' wide swath "mowed" by grazing through the fencing.
I use my mower or pay someone to bushhog to widen this to 10' and have a path to ride around the property.
Inspecting fenceline from horseback beats walking ;)

Jul. 16, 2010, 06:38 AM
I desperately want some goats to clear some of the woods, and have done a lot of research into keeping them. It's just the initial fence stringing that worries me! :lol:

Jul. 16, 2010, 12:17 PM
For large gates...I use gate anchors. They're great IMO...I can swing the gate any which way and then just shove down on the anchor pin to lock it in that position and to also support the weight of the gate so I don't wear out my gate posts and have droopy gates. This is the type of anchor I have:

This is what I have for one of my paired 8' gates in a 16' opening. I drilled a hole into a piece of scrap 4x4 to be the 'hole' to hold it in place. Easy to move, but it doesn't move when you're trying to work with the gates.

If you're pairing gates, it's especially important to buy the gates first. Regrettably, my opening is a bit too large for the two 8' gates.

Jul. 16, 2010, 06:55 PM
not to hijack this thread but we have 2- 8' gates that overlap a bit...which way should they swing, in towards the field or out? i like this idea

Jul. 16, 2010, 07:24 PM
i like it a lot! it's darn near perfect but here's how i'd tweak it.
1) i'd face the run-in openings toward the pasture on the left, so you can see into it from the house.

2) add an equipment sized lane between pastures and around your entire perimeter if at all possible. god knows i wish i had more access points onto my property!

it will make the pastures a bit smaller, but you can rotate ponies into more individual space this way--horses can mow the lanes quite nicely, as it turns out! extra excercise for them too!

plus, god forbid your guys get out they'll still have a perimeter fence to contain them.

3) add more gates at the bottom of each paddock as well for easy tractor access.