A Dovecote in the Garden

A Dovecote in the Garden Landscape

Recently, I posted about a kind soul who came to my “rescue.” That post contained lots of photos of the large dovecote in my perennial garden that runs along my driveway. I received several e-mails from readers asking for more information about this bird house and where I found it.

My interest in a dovecote for my garden came from years of going on garden tours. Often, while on the tours, I would come across these huge, beautiful dovecotes, and each time they captured my heart. But once I’d go home and price them, I would forget the idea of owning one. I could never understand why they were so expensive.

Lazy Hill Dovecote in Perennial Garden

Over the years, to satisfy my desire for a dovecote, I bought smaller birdhouses similar in design, and always, after just 2-3 years they totally fell apart…just rotted away. Four years ago, I added a screened-in porch and a front porch to my home. Since the front porch completely transformed the front of my home, I decided to spruce up the large perennial garden along my driveway with a real dove cote. The brand I had always seen on the garden tours was Lazy Hill. I could always tell because the Lazy Hill dovecotes have a small, copper plaque along the bottom of the house. I had been told many times by homeowners (while on the garden tours) that the Lazy Hill feeders had been in their garden for years, so apparently they held up well to the elements. I was beginning to understand why they cost as much as they did since all my other bird houses usually fell apart after only 2-3 years.  After my experience with the knockoffs falling apart, I was ready for the real thing.

The Lazy Hill dove cotes are really meant to be a focal point in the garden, a decorative feature, but don’t tell the bluebirds who nest in mine year after year.

Bluebirds Nesting in Dovecote

The roof of the Lazy Hill dovecote is cedar so it naturally grays to a lovely patina. At Christmastime, the dovecote in my garden gets a wreath. I love having this bird house in my front yard because I enjoy seeing it each time I return home. Four years later, I have to say, it has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my garden landscape.

Decorating Birdhouse Dovecote with Christmas Wreath_wm

When I bought mine, I priced them locally and online. The best price I could find was from Wildlife Cottage, a seller on eBay. I think he’s still on eBay…or at least he was last time I checked. The dovecote comes with mounting brackets and I used those to attach it to a 4 x 4 pressured treated post I purchased from Home Depot. I pre-drilled the holes into the post because those posts are hard as rocks. Then I just used the long screws that came with the house to mount it to the post. I painted the post with the same exterior paint that had been used to paint the front porch.

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia showing actual doves inhabiting a dovecote. Each cavity houses one pair of doves. Doves are supposed to make wonderful pets, according to what I read online. Interesting! It sounds like there’s a fair amount to do though, to keep them safe.

Dovecote

Dovecotes have a fascinating history dating all the way back to Roman days. Though many have disappeared over the years, during the 17th Century England had over 26,000 dovecotes on the grounds of monasteries and manor houses. Doves at that time were considered a food source, for both the eggs and the birds themselves. Dovecotes like the one below in Sussex England, often housed 500+ doves!

Dovecote Nymans Gardens in England

They were built in lots of different designs/styles. This dovecote is in a commune, Colombier at Manoir d’Ango in France.

Manoir d'ango Dovecote in France

My dovecote is around 4 years old and it still looks the same today as the day I installed it in the garden…except for the graying of the cedar roof. If you didn’t want the roof to gray, I would think you could treat it with a stain or whatever is recommended for a cedar home. I personally opted to let it gray since I like that slightly aged look.

In late winter, I clean out the old nests and my tool of choice is really high tech: a coat hanger.  The directions at the Lazy Hill site say the roof comes off for cleaning, but I’ve never tried removing it since the coat hanger technique works so well. My house is made of wood but I noticed online, they are now made of “solid cellular vinyl.”

Hope this information is helpful. I do recommend the Lazy Hill brand dovecote since mine has held up so well. My bluebirds would definitely give it a thumbs wings up.

Lazy Hill Dovecote in Perennial Garden

 

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Comments

  1. Pattie @ Olla-Podrida says:

    How absolutely CHARMING these pictures are! It's snowing like crazy here, but now you have me thinking of spring. 🙂

  2. AntiqueChase says:

    LOVE your birdhouse… Did you see the one I posted about last week? Sadly, I can't leave food out or I get rodents!

  3. Your birdhouse is really gorgeous….have a nice weekend, Flavia

  4. Morning Susan

    Your dovecote is beautiful I have always noticed it on your porch. There are lots of them in the historic properties we visit in the UK and I have seen the one at NT Nymans, Sussex in your photograph.

    Love the bluebirds you have visiting, we don't have those in the UK as far as I know!

    Have a lovely weekend, Jackie in Surrey UK.

  5. Andi's English Attic says:

    Your dovecote is beautiful. The coo of doves would be so much better than the ear-piercing noise of the crows that live locally.

    I am always amazed how folk in the US can have such wonderful things in their front gardens/porches and not have them stolen. Something like your dovecote wouldn't last a day in my front garden. xx

  6. i'm in love…..i need to check our local amish market and price these i know they are not cheap, and ty i found your post today very intersting and fantastic pictures.

  7. I've always loved your beautiful bird house. Thank you for the resource for purchasing. I too have priced them and it is a shocker but you are SO right about buying the real thing; it does last longer. I have a little mourning dove couple that returns each year to my front door wire wall basket-bye bye pansies when they nest. The last 4 years they have had 1 to 2 babies.
    Mary

  8. FOUR ALL SEASONS says:

    Love your dovecote! I think it is a great focus point in your lovely garden! I will have to check them out, I believe my garden could use one also! I have admired your porch and your blog for about a year. I just happen to find you one day and have been sharing your blog with my customers ever since! Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your life with us! We have lots of snow here in NW Ohio… so I'm going to close my eyes and pretend I'm sitting on your porch sipping sweet ice tea!

  9. Nice tidbit on dovecotes. Poor birds didn't know that their free rent abode meant they would be dinner.

  10. Pamela Gordon says:

    I love your dovecote and thank you for the little history lesson on them. Can you imagine having a huge stone structure like in the pictures in your yard?? We have lots of mourning doves in our yard and they roost and nest in our trees. I wonder if they'd like a dovecote? Have a great day! Pamela

  11. FOUR ALL SEASONS says:

    Love your dovecote! It is a great focus point for your beautiful flower garden! I will have to check into finding one for my garden also! Just wanted to thank you for sharing your porch and stories with us, I always look forward to see what is new on your blog! I just found you about a year ago and continue to share your blog with my customers! I tell them they got to check out this awesome blog! I really think we need to add on a porch just like yours to our house! Today in NW Ohio it is snowing again…but I will just close my eyes and pretend I am sitting on your porch sipping on a glass of sweet ice tea!

  12. I am such a fan of these and have several like this in my garden, but not a true dovecoat. Thanks for posting…what a breath of summer when we just got hit…again with snow. Terry

  13. I absolutely love birds and will put one of these on my christmas/mothers day/birthday list. Thanks for the information!

  14. Susan, I would like my hubby to make me a dovecote, can you tell me what the inside looks like? Are they separate little rooms?

  15. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Hi Megan, I can't really see down inside the dovecote well enough to tell you how it looks. I do believe there are individual cavities inside, though. Check online and you may be able to find a site that explains more about how they are constructed.

  16. Susan I love your Dovecote – after seeing yours years ago I started my search for a huge birdhouse for our garden. I was looking for something with a copper roof since in So. California the sun just dries out the wooden roofs so fast and they crack. I also found mine on ebay – great price. Do an ebay search and you'll see mine. "BirdHouse Amish-made with High Copper Roof 10-hole" I've had it for a couple of years now and it looks like the day I bought it (excluding the copper roof which is slowly darkening). Thanks for sharing your photos – I think I may need to buy another soon for our front yard now 🙂 You can never have too many…

  17. martinealison says:

    Très jolis colombiers…
    Bisous

  18. Thanks Susan, I have been looking. We may have to buy some plans to find out.
    We sometimes have some Mourning Doves here, I am sure they would like a nice home! Now to persuade hubby!! 🙂

  19. Samuel Hackwell says:

    I really like the old stone dovecotes like the image of the one in Sussex, and think they can be so beautiful as an accent or a focal point in the garden. I've also seen some beautiful dovecotes tucked up in the gables of cottages that were built in the same era (see Blaise Hamlet, for old stone cottages with dovecotes in their gables).

  20. Susan,

    I love your dovecote! If I ever buy a single family home it will be my first purchase! I own a small townhouse with a little garden…and I have had the smallest Lazy Hill birdhouse since 1999! I haven't had a bluebird family for a while. Both bluebirds and wrens have come to nest! A woodpecker came and "drilled" a back door in the house!

    Betsy

  21. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Betsy, I had a woodpecker on the back of my house early this morning…trying to find insects in my hardy plank. LOL He didn't stay long. 😉

  22. Interesting post. I've always liked the looks of a d/c, but never purchased one mostly b/c I'd be the one having to secure it in the ground. Thought of you last night as I was deleting e-mails. Had one from Pier 1, and while you probably have already seen them since you bought your chair there, I saw some nice springy chair cushions under either 'seasonal' or 'new arrivals'.

  23. Hi Susan,
    I have always loved your dovecoat. I have bought a cheap one but it is falling apart-so someday maybe!

    Enjoy your weekend,

    Carolyn

  24. Miss Merry says:

    I never knew that style was called a dovecote and thank you so much for sharing the history and meaning of the house! It is such a charming addition to your landscape and so beautiful.

  25. FABBY'S LIVING says:

    Beautiful bird house Susa…wish I had a garden to do that, when I lived in a house we had one and my small girls loved putting food and bread for the birds to come eat. I live in a Pt. House apartment now, I love it though.
    XOXO
    FABBY

  26. Thanks for the information, Susan. I've always admired your dovecote. It would be fun to add one to our garden. ~ Sarah

  27. Hi Susan,
    What an interesting post. I will be going to England this summer and I will be on the look out for dovecotes. Hopefully I will bring some photos home.
    xo
    Betty

  28. I heart your dovecote! I love even more the sweet story you told about the knight coming to your dovecote aid.

    I have a question if you have a minute. I assume the "thing" you have attached to the dovecote is for your mealworms. Can you tell me what it is or where you got it?

    Thank you for your wonderful blog. I enjoy it so very much…and learn so much, too!

  29. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Hi Anonymous! Thanks so much! Yep, that's a little tray for mealworms. I bought it at Wild Birds Unlimited. I actually bought two of them. The one on the dovecote is just tied around the pole, but the other one I bought to use near the feeders in the back yard, has sort of support thing attached to it. It has a hook that will allow you to hang it on your feeders. If you have a Wild Birds Unlimited near you, they may have them, too. I just googled for it and didn't find anything quite like the one I have but if you check some of the online birding sites, I bet they will have one. It's just a little plastic tray and it sits on two metal things that are have a hook at the other end for hanging it on a feeder or hook. It's sort of hard to describe. Just check with your local birding places for a "mealworm" tray. Hope you find one.

  30. Thank you Susan! I'm actually going to Wild Birds Unlimited today, so I will inquire. Last season I did not have much luck with getting my bluebirds to eat the mealworms I had bought them. I thought this contraption might help…or maybe my birds are just a little slow. HA!

    I apologize for posting this question here as I see now I probably should have emailed it to you directly. Thank you for answering…I really appreciate it. And best to you and your birds!

  31. Great post. I have always liked the look of those type of birdhouses, but never knew they had a special name. I have quite a few doves that come to my birdfeeder, but now I'm wondering where they live. Maybe I'll have to get them a house.

  32. Robynne's Nest says:

    Hi Susan, I've just found your blog and am fascinated with the bluebirds on your beautiful new dovecote. I've never seen them before and they look like quite striking birds. I'm having a love affair with robins here in England at the moment…being my namesake and not having them in Australia, I am totally enjoying watching their antics in the garden. I also love your historic house tours…you have a new follower as I love to have a stickybeak at different houses. Robx

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