The asymmetrical gates open into a sunny stone courtyard dotted with brightly colored potted plants with a hilltop view of Charleston's West Side across the river. And even Matt, their "escape artist" dog, can't find a way out.
After about six months of renovations to their Edgewood home, Tom and Paula Flaherty knew their contractor Steve Mooney of M&M Builders well. When they asked him to build a gate and arbor into their secluded hillside backyard and gardens, Tom, a lawyer who happens to enjoy woodworking, suggested they work together on the project.
"They worked in collaboration. Steve is a really skilled woodworker," Paula said.
They sketched a rough plan, and then built the arbor and gates that open into restful gardens designed by Loflin of lush, shade-loving plants, stone walls and relaxing dining and reading areas. The wood lattice gate and arbor hints at the gardens within, but serves a practical purpose as well.
"We really did it for privacy," Paula said of the space in which the Flahertys often eat quiet dinners or host parties and celebrations.
Don and Sheryl Sensabaugh had a blacksmith work a rose into the design of the wrought-iron gate into their well-established rose garden. He designed the gate to complement the iron the Sensabaughs added to the top of a stone wall surrounding the backyard of their home in Edgewood.
Joe and Faye Guilefoile relocated a driveway that dominated an area they converted into woodsy gardens and inviting brick patios and seating areas not long after they moved into their South Hills home 26 years ago. Eventually, they added a wooden arbor with a bench to the gated entrance to their outdoor living space.
The driveway comes off a sloped road, from which the back of the house is visible and more accessible than the front.
"Everyone always comes to the back door anyway, so I wanted to make an entrance to the backyard," she said. "The arbor and gate set it off."
The bench under the arbor provides a handy place to set packages, but also retracts to allow passage of large items.
Previously an antique dealer, Faye discretely placed some of her treasured finds into her shady hillside garden, including a rusty set of iron fence sections that points visitors down a stone path leading toward a quiet seating area.
Like an open gate anywhere, they invite people into an enclosed space.
Reach Julie Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1230.