It Happened Again! Arggh! Time for a New Dovecote for the Garden

Welcome to the 641st Metamorphosis Monday, a blog party sharing fabulous Before and Afters!

Do you ever go on spring garden tours? I love garden tours, they are sooo much fun and provide so much inspiration. For many years, whenever I would go on a garden tour, I would see these magnificent birdhouses in many of the gardens that we toured. Eventually, I found out who made them and dreamed of one day having one in my own garden. They were such incredible statement pieces, they almost stole the show in every garden they graced.

When I added the screened porch to the back of my home in 2008, in celebration I finally purchased a dovecote for my yard. This photo was taken not long after I placed it in the garden. The bluebirds immediately took a liking to it and decided to nest there. I kept them well-stocked in mealworms and they nested in the dovecote three times that year!


Over the years, the roof aged to a pretty silver color–still beautiful and still so grand! Seeing the dovecote in the garden always made me smile each time I arrived home and pulled into my driveway.


I love feeding the birds and have quite a few woodpeckers visiting my feeders each day.


I’m guessing it was a naughty woodpecker who did this to my beautiful Lazy Hill Dovecote back in 2016. 🙁


I was not happy when I discovered this damage. It took me a while to figure out how I was going to fix it.


I called up Good Directions, the new company that bought out or took over Lazy Hill, and they shipped me some new shingles. They had changed the type of shingles they were using on their dovecotes. I’ve forgotten the kind of wood they changed to but I knew it would weather out to a silver color so it didn’t manner if it didn’t match perfectly. You can read more about how I repaired the huge hole and added the new shingles in this previous post: Repairing a Woodpecker Damaged Roof of a Lazy Hill Dovecote


Here’s how the dovecote looked after I repaired the roof, gave it a good cleaning, and a new paint job with my white, exterior, house paint. I also repainted the post at that time.


Initially, you could see the newly replaced shingles, but it didn’t take long for them to gray out and match the others.


Well, it has happened again. A few weeks ago I noticed this from the driveway upon returning home. What the heck?!?!


I found this on the other side. 🙁


You may remember a few years ago when I redid all my foundation shrubs, I added a new dovecote to the front of my home. I went with this one shown below that has a copper roof. One huge advantage of the new dovecotes is how easy they are to clean out at the end of the nesting season.


With my old dovecote, when it was time to clean out old nests, I had to get on a ladder and stick a coathanger or whatever I could find into each of the little openings and try and grab the old nests and pull them out. They usually fell apart so it took quite a bit of digging and cleaning to get the old nests out through the small openings.


The nice thing about the house I added to the front a few years ago (seen below before I had painted the post) is the roof is removable which makes cleaning out old nests a breeze!


I decided it was time for a change. I hated trying to clean out old nests from the original dovecote and was really tired of fighting the woodpeckers.


So I ordered a new dovecote. It arrived on Saturday and the box was HUGE!


It was packaged really well inside, happy to see that!


The roof lifts right off the top so it’s easy to access the 8 nesting compartments when it’s time to clean out old nests.


Here’s how the lid looks underneath. It just neatly fits down onto the top of the birdhouse. This makes it even easier to clean out than my other cooper-roofed dovecote.


Though this one down near the front of my home is easy to clean out, you do have to unscrew the finial on top to remove the roof. If you look off in the distance, you can see the other dovecote silhouetted against my neighbor’s Crepe Myrtle trees. That gives you an idea of the location of the two dovecotes here in the front yard.


This spring I had bluebirds nesting in the dovecote near the house. That’s Mama Bluebird awaiting dad’s return with a fat, juicy bug. lol


With the new dovecote, to clean out the nesting compartments in the future, I’ll only need to lift the lid off of the house. Genius design!


Look how big it is! Wow! It’s even taller than my original dovecote! (Dovecote is available here: Dovecote with Copper Roof.)


Almost 33 inches tall–these dovecotes are truly the star and focal point of any garden!


Another wonderful feature about the new house is it doesn’t require any work to attach it to the 4 x 4 post. The old, original dovecote, the one that keeps getting destroyed by woodpeckers, required screwing it down to the post, as did the one below that I installed a few years ago down near the front of my home.


But not this new one! It literally just fits down over the top of the post! No screws or screwdriver needed! Another brilliant improvement!



The post itself was looking a bit haggard, time for another fresh coat of paint.


Getting the old house down was not easy! The screws had rusted so badly, they just turned around and around when I tried to unscrew them. One of the screws came about halfway out, but wouldn’t come out all the way out. Other screws wouldn’t come down and out at all. They just spun and spun. Argggh!


I ended up having to pry this metal plate (that attached the house to the post) slightly down and away from the house to forcibly bring the screws that wouldn’t come out, down a bit. Then I had to brace a flathead screwdriver under/against the screws as I unscrewed them to keep them from shooting back into the house. I’ve never seen screws do that when a drill is in the “reverse” setting. Any pressure sent them right back into the dovecote.

You know, whenever I start a project like this, I always feel a bit of anxiety welling up inside because I know that something is bound to go wrong. I just have to remind myself to take it one step at a time. If something does pop up, like old, decrypted, rusted screws that won’t come out, I will figure it out–because I always do!


So here’s Miss Dovecote on her newly painted post. Every few years when it’s time to repaint this post, I am reminded of the hilarious stories Erma Bombeck told in her book, The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. In Chapter 10, titled, Super Mom, Erma talks about her new neighbor across the street with the always perfect home, perfect children, and perfect life.


Shortly after the neighbor moved in, Erma wrote, “The moving van hadn’t been gone a minute when we saw her in the yard waxing her garden hose.”  I sometimes wonder if that’s what my neighbors think when they drive by and see me outside in the garden giving the birdhouse post a fresh coat of paint. Ha, Ha, Ha! I just can’t put a shiny, new birdhouse atop a yucky, paint-peeling post.


I’ve super happy with the new house, although I think they’ll be some disappointed woodpeckers around here. lol



If you would like a dovecote for your garden, you’ll find this one where I purchased mine here: Lazy Hill Dovecote.


Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters linked for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. WOW – that copper roof is gorgeous and should deter the woodpecker! Had a bird feeder at a previous home with a beautiful copper roof and it held up very well…until a bear took out the entire feeder and the post that was cemented into the ground. But, the copper survived. We now live in an apartment home and the people who live below us on the ground floor have several feeders. I love seeing the birds…but the feeders attract woodpeckers as we border a wooded area. The woodpeckers started to peck on the stucco finish surrounding our big windows. I bought a large plastic owl and put him the corner of our screen porch facing out. So far, so good…no woodpeckers yet! Have a great May week!

    • Dang! Those bears are strong! Thankfully, no bears around here, just the occasional deer. Smart idea about the owl, that’s awesome!

  2. Thanks for another wonderful party and I hope you have a great week.

  3. The dovecote is beautiful! I have long wanted one but didn’t know the damage a woodpecker could do to one.

    • Thanks, Nancy! I think I’m sticking with the cooper roofed ones from here out, although I may try to reshingle the old one at some point. Hate to just get rid of it.

  4. I’ve never noticed it around the birdhouses or in the flower beds. You sometimes see that around feeders but I’ve never seen it around a birdhouse.

  5. Even if they did poop in the flower gardens, I wouldn’t care. It’s worth it for the gift of song they bring to the garden. I love hearing them sing all day as I work in my office or while I’m out on the porch. Def worth a little poop around the feeders. lol

  6. Wow – crazy woodpeckers! They’re probably so happy you provided them with a lovely place to peck! 🙂 The new dovecote is beautiful – I’m already planning how one will look in our garden! Thanks for another wonderful post and for hosting our Monday party. It always starts my week off right!

    • lol Yeah, I bet you’re right…dang ole woodpeckers! I love watching the smaller woodpeckers (downy, hairy, and red-headed) come to the feeders. And I love seeing the incredible Pileated Woodpeckers that look like they escaped from a Jurassic Park movie, come down from the trees to eat the suet I put out, but the big ones can really do some serious damage.
      Barbara, you would really enjoy it, they are absolutely stunning in the garden, a showstopper!

  7. Tell me about the post this sits on. Where do you get it to be sure the house fits? They are so neat looking.

  8. Love it. I went to order one but it says out of stock.

    • When I ordered mine, it said they had two. Then I noticed it said none afterward, but then this morning it was saying that they had one in stock again. Vicki, keep checking, they may only be stocking 1 or 2 on the site at the time, so I bet they’ll restock it again when they realize that they are out again.

  9. Well, now, that’s one “new, improved” that truly is! I do like those features on the new dovecote.
    Thanks for always hosting this weekly party. Have a good one, Susan.

  10. I’m sure when the copper gets a patina it will be beautiful but it’s too bad the woodpeckers did so much damage. I kind of prefer the look of the shingles but don’t blame you for going for the copper. I guess nothing deters those darned woodpeckers.

    • I love the look of the one with shingles, too–but it’s a pain to keep repairing it. I’m going to see if Good Directions will sell me a bunch of shingles so I can try and repair it again. I’m hoping if I freshly reshingle the entire house and put it back up somewhere in the yard, maybe they will leave it alone since they will be brand new shingles and won’t be covered in moss and stuff which may have attracted insects. That may be what the woodpeckers were going for, not sure.

  11. Teresa M. says

    Bird brains, lovely to watch, feed and enjoy but they can do some damage. You would think the little pecker would have seen the holes a bit further down and looked in without destroying the roof. Lovely new addition to your landscape.

    • Bird brains, indeed! Ha!
      I think they may have thought there were bugs in the roof to eat. This issue only started happening as the roof aged and got moss and such on it, so maybe they were going for some bugs or something they thought were in the shingles.

  12. It looks beautiful Susan!

  13. We have lots of woodpeckers at our feeders, but we haven’t had any pileated woodpeckers, but I’m glad because they can really cause major damage. Are you sure the latest damage is from a woodpecker. It almost looks like squirrel damage to me. They will eat anything. We have a French bistro set on our deck, and every year the squirrels eat the little plastic pads off the chair legs. They have chewed on the metal chair seats also. This winter they chewed big chunks off of my two ceramic mushrooms I had in my flower bed. They are a real nuisance.

    • You may be right. I had some really nice outdoor wicker furniture (table and 4 chairs) on one of my decks. It was beautiful and something ate the tops of all the arms of the chairs to the point where you couldn’t sit in them, it was too painful to rest your arms. I had to have it carried away. Broke my heart because I never even got to dine at that table or really enjoy it. So maybe it was squirrel damage. The hole looked more like a woodpecker made it the first time it happened. So far, they’ve left the copper-roofed houses online. It is amazing all the damage they can do. That’s awful that they keep damaging your chair seats and the pads on the chair legs. Why would they want to eat something like that???

  14. Thanks again for hosting such a charming party!! It is greatly appreciated!!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

  15. Beautiful, but sadly it would make a great home for wasp or hornets nests here. 🙁

    • So have a lot of wasp and hornets here in the south but so far none have ever built inside my birdhouse/dovecotes. Hope that never happens!

  16. I love the copper! It’s beautiful Susan. The shingles one is really pretty too but I understand about dealing with the hassle. I don’t blame you for switching it up. Thanks for another great party. XO- MaryJo

    • Thanks, MaryJo! I loved the shingle one, too. That’s why I kept trying to save it. I hope I can find more shingles for it. Good Directions wants to charge me a lot per shingle, so I can’t buy the shingles from them, plus I don’t think they have enough to redo the whole house anyway.

  17. Thank you for hosting this week, Susan! I love the bird houses and the shingled roof looks so much better! I hope you have a wonderful week!


    Tee @ Teediddlydee

  18. It’s beautiful. Could you put a whole new copper roof on the damaged one ?
    For the past two years, I have heard a baby woodpecker. They make strange noises when they fly about.

    • No, the original roof structure is connected to the body of the house and it doesn’t look like it could ever be removed. Good idea, though!

  19. So excited to hear about the improvements as I need to replace mine. I have the same cedar shingle one. Getting the ladder out and removing the old one to clean is such a hassle. I accidentally dropped it a few years back and cracked it. I need to replace it and it sounds like cleaning the new ones will be so much better. Thanks for your post.

  20. Janice Fincher says

    Love your dovecote bird house! I have one one order and would like to know specifically how you installed the post. To what depth and width did you dig the hole, and did you need to secure it with concrete? I just want to provide the best foundation for this beauty.

    • Here in the south, the ground is heavy clay so I didn’t have to dig the hole for the post as deep as if it were sandier soil. I used post-hole diggers to dig the hole. The dovecote will come with instructions (I think) saying the recommended depth to dig the hole.You can read more about how I installed the post in this previous post:

      • Thanks so much. I am here in Acworth and understand the heavy clay. The bird house came yesterday and we will be working on the install this weekend. So excited to have this stunning piece in my landscape! Hopefully the birds will like it as well.

        • Janice, just be sure it’s a pressure-treated post that you buy, otherwise termites will eat the portion that’s in the ground. You are going to love your house, they really are stunning in a garden/landscape! You can tell how much I love them because this was the third one I’ve purchased. 🙂

          • Thanks, Susan. We recently had a neglected portion of our property landscaped and the bird house will the the focal point of that area.
            We did get the pressure-treated post and should be painting it this week.
            Love all your post!

  21. Cyndi Raines says

    What a beauty! Looks stunning in your yard. I like the shingle one too, but like the ease of cleaning it out and of course hopefully no pecking on this one ! Would love one of these in my yard!

  22. PATTIE Small says

    The woodpeckers are after insects that are under and in the wood. So it is good that you are replacing the cote. We had them pecking holes in our wood paneling over our chimney and siding –When we replaced the siding we found many many hornets nests –that is what they were after, they don’t usually peck wood for any other reason

    • Yup, that’s what I figured it was and the guys at the birding store where I buy my seed thought that, as well.
      I know you were glad to get rid of those hornets’ nests! I’ve seen videos where bees build a nest in the wall of a home and it was shocking how big it was when they opened up the wall.

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