Driveway Gates- Automated

The last few times this was brought up it was pre- 2020- looking for updated technology and ideas!

Our farm has one entrance/exit on to a busy road, currently we have a normal metal gate with a wheel on the bottom- it gets opened at breakfast, and remains open for the day. After turn in is complete, its shut. Boarders, vets etc, are expected to “leave it as they found it”. Everyone is wonderful about doing it.

I just have a low level worry about it being open all day, when everyone is riding and horses are moving around! An automated gate could be shut 24/7 and only open when needed (with a sensor or key pad). We are in MA, so snow is a concern- many farms have issues with the divided gates pushing through snow (before the driveway is plowed). Does anyone have any brand recommendations or installers? Do you have one and wish you did something differently?
thanks so much!

This is one of @clanter’s areas of knowledge.

I have no owner experience with them but most horse farms and acreage in our exurbs have these. We are probably a high crime region in terms of nonviolent property car theft, etc. Because guns are more rare in Canada, less mugging and violent crime than the US. But absolutely we have addicts and low life driving around the exurbs looking to make off with anything that can be lifted, then fenced or pawned.

I expect like all gates you’d need to shovel snow out from under their sweep.

We finally put an automatic gate in, many here are doing so, is safest to have a closed gate any more due to the drug traffic thru the expressway here mostly.
We had several incidents where someone being chased by police came thru, went thru fences, etc.

We had a local company install it, is very costly, but wonderful peace of mind.
It runs with a solar panel and an app on your phone to open and close it from anywhere you may be in the world.
It also has a keypad by the entrance that some can punch their numbers in to get it open, like the fire and sheriff’s department.
If we expect someone, or deliveries or trash pickup, we open the gate for them in advance, only time gate is open now.
Any more, we have them call us and we open it for them, so few need the number.

Ours is a sliding gate hanging on rollers, not on a track.
Has worked fine thru mountains of tumbleweeds, expect to work thru snowdrifts also, better than any swinging gate ever did.

Do check who installs those locally, they will know which brands are working best where you are, in your weather conditions.

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Mighty Mule is still by far the most commonly found brand around my area. If your primary goal is just to make sure the gate is always closed to prevent horse escapes, you could just install a keypad and a note with the code so that anyone who pulls up can easily enter without bothering you, or even a simple single push button.

The last place where I boarded did the posted code thing, and it was a huge boarder morale improvement over the manual gate it replaced. One Christmas they gave all the boarders their own remotes, which was a very nice touch. No more rolling down windows in the rain. If you have not had Mighty Mule or similar gate before, you can even program one of the garage door buttons in your vehicles to open it. A remote makes it really nice especially when you are towing your trailer and can open the gate as you approach it from the road.

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We have a Mighty Mule system on our driveway gate. [We have a gate because some GPS - including whatever Amazon drivers use - think our driveway is a road… leading to many confused people driving places they didn’t belong. Now we sometimes get Amazon packages that aren’t ours left by said gate, but at least we haven’t needed to pull any idiots out the manure pile since.]

We have a solar panel that keeps the batteries charged. The gate works via remote, so you can either use an old school clicker or the newer vehicles have buttons you can program right in them. We do have to keep the snow plowed back from where it opens.


@Bluey mentioned this, plus I’m pretty sure I’ve asked before, but how does everyone with gates deal with trash pickup, deliveries, service calls, etc.?

We have double gates, but leave them open all the time because a) we don’t have an automatic opener, and b) we get so many deliveries. We work outside the home, so a shut gate is appealing… but that also means we aren’t here to let someone in or home in time to swing by the post office.

Answers from someone who does not have a gate - Is your trash pick-up in a dumpster? If it is a trash tote then just roll it to outside the gate. (In my part of the world if your trash tote is not at the end of your driveway, they do not pick it up.)
Service calls I assume are scheduled and someone is home for them.
Deliveries, I know several people (who do not even have gates) that have a locking drop box for their delivery packages so one of those could be put somewhere accessible outside the gate.

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Our current house is 1 mile from the gate, the previous headquarters used to be 5 miles away.
You can’t just wheel a trash bin over to the gate so easily.

Trash pickup once a week is at 5 am, we had to drive to the gate to open it for them before that.
A few times a year there was a rattler right around that gate at 5 am, you had to watch for that by flashlight.

Easier on everyone now when you have an app handling gate opening.

I use GTO Pro, which is supposedly a Mighty Mule upgrade. I just have a single push button at each gate, so the dumpster driver and deliveries can come in, but I also call it “my intelligence test” because it is surprising how many people can’t figure out how to push just one button to open the gate. (Including a friend of mine who climbed my fence instead :roll_eyes:.) So while it’s mostly to make sure animals stay in, it’s pretty good at keeping people out as well! :smile:

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Talking about general intelligence tests for the masses.
Our post office installed more boxes for extra large packages.
The new boxes for some reason have two keyholes practically by each other.

You are given one key numbered to the box your package is.
Hard to believe how many have to ask why key doesn’t work, never see the second keyhole, inches from the first one. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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@Texarkana, you can stay old school where the delivery person leaves the package outside of the gate, just as if the gate was the front door.

Or get a little fancy and put a deck box outside of the gate and attach a “Packages” sign you buy off Etsy, in case the deck box wasn’t obvious on its own.

Or get fancier with a locking drop box. The fanciest have staff to receive deliveries at the farm entrance. Fancy shmanchy.

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Phantomhorse - I am loving your gate and the pups! It looks fairly far away from the buildings. Did you have to do anything special to get electric out there? or is everything running off of solar? I am in Illinois and we have just enough gloomy days I am not sure solar alone will be sufficient. Thoughts? An automatic gate is on our project list for next summer as we got the driveway paved this summer. Amazon can leave my things outside the gate - I don’t want them tearing into our new asphalt (which cost an arm and a leg).

When my DH first bought this property (back before we got together), he did run electric from the house down to the gate - and yes is was a distance! He thought running 3 lines would give him one for the gate and two backups… and that did work for many years. However, changing things to the second line only worked for about a year and then we found the third line was also dead. Best guess is tree roots breached the conduit, eventually ruining all 3 lines. Thus the addition of the solar panel, which is oversized for the application. That was intentional to help offset our often gloomy days… so far, that has worked!

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In our area (Central Florida) most farms and actually many rural homes have electric gates. As others have mentioned — a keypad out by the gate and some remotes. Boarders, regular service providers (vets, farriers, etc), regular delivery drivers (hay/feed) know the code. UPS/FedEX deliveries are left by the gate — although the suggestion of a large box for deliveries is a good idea. Emergency vehicles in this area have some sort of “universal” code so they can get in in an emergency without having to know all the different codes. We have a 15 acre farm off a fairly busy road – having the gates always shut provides peace of mind for turnouts/turnins and when riding in case a horse were to get loose. And of course it stops curious folks from driving in to “look around”. The gate opening mechanisms can be tricky and have to be repaired periodically so you need to have a local “gate guy”.

All automatic gates have safety measures like magic eyes that work to keep gates from closing on a vehicle, stop motion if you cross those.
Those have to be aligned just right and if not, the gate won’t work.
Is simple to re-align them if they are bumped or shaken out of line.
Here tumbleweeds piling up on a gate sets them off, you have to clean those out of the line of sight so the gate can open.

Automated gate here ~ it’s kept shut 24/7 to keep four legged friends safe (no boarders) ~ code outside gate is not given out ~ intercom to house / though we’re usually outside ~ all delivery services have notes/ instructions to leave packages at the gate. Works here ~ I do not want snoops on the property leaving gates open or feeding horses or bumping into fences or buildings. Police and Emergency groups have special key at intercom for emergency access.

We guard against Surprise Accidents !

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We always request that delivery drivers carefully lower small to medium packages inside our front gate (pipe gate with wire mesh insert). We feel okay about this as we live on a dead end a couple miles back off a larger road, so no through traffic, and very little traffic of any kind.

Thief would have to climb our gate to get to a package, then climb back out with it. Could happen, but not that likely in our neighborhood.

You don’t have many fedex deliveries, huh?

@BUSY could you edit that photo out? I covered the mailbox numbers in my replacement photo