If you want a unique and truly beautiful addition to your garden, a moongate could be just what you are looking for.
A ‘moongate’ is a traditional Chinese garden feature. They are circular ‘gates’, usually made of stone, that can not only be used as entryways but are also perfect for framing part of a garden. For visitors, stepping through a moongate into a beautifully maintained green space can feel like being transported to another world!
A bricklayer or builder with the right know-how can construct a more traditional looking moongate, but for a truly magnificent result a stonemason will be your best bet. They can chisel and shape stones to fit your designs, ensuring that the completed product looks completely seamless and grand.
Although moongates can be made of any typical building material, such as wood or brick, they are usually built with stone. A circular wooden support is used to support and shape the construction. Pieces of stone are gradually set around it and eventually secured with a keystone. They can be built with or without mortar, although for the sake of safety mortar is usually advised.
Trying to achieve this shape without a support is much more complicated, and so usually if you do not have the skills to make one it is not advised to try and build a moongate yourself. Having said that, many smaller examples have been built using tyres or even trash cans to hold up the stones.
Moongates are slowly becoming more popular in the west, but as they are not very common at the moment it may be difficult to find a tradesman to do the job. It all depends on the materials used. Wooden moongates are basically wooden frames; they can be built off site by a skilled carpenter and then easily installed. A high quality landscape designer should be able to help you source the necessary tradesmen and materials if need be.
Before you get started, think carefully about where you could put your new moongate. As part of a wall, or even a trellis, they provide a beautiful gate way for guests to step through. An open round entrance could also look beautiful for an outbuilding.
For something different you could install smaller moongates in your garden simply as a way of framing the spots you are most proud off. Want a way to draw attention to a vibrantly colourful flower bed on the other side of your garden? A tiny moongate at eye level will draw attention on its own, before giving your guests a perfect spot to enjoy the view.