A moon gate rises out of the earth, like the moon rises in the sky; both spheres celebrate the continuous cycle of birth and death…rising and falling…
A circular passageway designed to welcome visitors to backyards, botanical gardens, and important events like weddings, moon gates are quite stunning in their gravity-bending construction.
Traditionally constructed out of stone, brick, or stucco, nowadays you’ll see moon gates constructed out of everything from metal to more natural materials like wood and living plants. Read on to learn more about moon gates and check out some of our favorite designs from all over the world.
38 Stunning Moon Gates
Whether you have the perfect space in your garden to install a moon gate or are simply dreaming about ‘someday’, check out these gorgeous moon gates to inspire you in your landscape design.
1) Un-Mortared Granite
Moon gate, built of unmortared granite blocks, built in 1996 by Dave Araneo of Massachusetts. “It’s is one of the oldest technologies around,” Dave says. “You build a wood form, place the stones to either side, and build up. Then you finish with a keystone and remove the form. There is a wonderful energy to these structures.”
More recently, Dave constructed a small moon gate using flat pieces of stone. “I used a garbage can for the form, then kicked it out. It has survived storms . . . it may even survive grandchildren!” Photo found at Arts & Crafts Homes.
2) Chelsea Flower Show Winner
Stepping through a portal. Mary Reynold’s Gold winning Garden at Chelsea Flower Show, 2002, Tearmann sí – A Celtic sanctuary. More photos can be found on Mary Reynold’s website.
3) Tropical Escape
Tropical Moon Gate in Brief Garden, Near Bentota, Sri Lanka. Photo originally found at: im9.eu/picture/moon-gate-in-brief-garden-near-bentota-sri-lanka
4) George’s Moongate
George’s moongate. The top portion is 3/4″ external plywood made like a tube but covered with ceramic tile and grout and then painted with three coats of black waterproof roof paint to make it weatherproof. More information about this project is available at George’s Japanese Garden.
5) Rusted Gate
Moon-Gate that serves as a pedestrian passageway by Alec Finlay, 2008, Scotland. Photograph, Alexander Maris. This photograph is available at Cosmopoetics.
6) Wooden Planks
This wooden moon gate has a modern style, yet the planks create a more natural feel.
7) Denver Botanic Gardens
8) Cordwood Moon Gate
Austwick Hall in Yorkshire, built and designed by the owners. Find more pictures of what moon gates are available at The Galloping Gardener.
9) The Ivy Gate
Moon gate covered with vines. Fangta Park, Songjiang, China. See this moon gate and more at Jack Stumpes on Blogspot.
10) Scorpio Sculpture
Johnny Clasper’s Scorpio Sculpture. More work by Johnny can be seen at his Instagram page. Photo originally found at johnnyclasper.co.uk/
11) Modern Wedding Moongate
Often used in wedding services, moon gates can act as a beautiful alternative to a traditional alter. This moon gate is accented by a gorgeous display of yellow flowers. You can just picture the newlyweds now!
12) Pennsylvania Endless Mountain Fieldstone
Moon Gate in New Jersey. Built using 7.5 tons of Pennsylvania Endless Mountain fieldstone. Photo from In The Company of Stone.
13) Bermuda Moon Gate
White stone gives this moon gate an almost ethereal appearance, as if it was brought from the moon itself. Moon gates are certainly an important architecture of Bermuda, and you can find them all over this travel destination.
14) Azelea Garden
Moon Gate in Rhode Island. More pictures of this garden are available at Caspar’s Blog.
15) Pathway To The Moon
Andy Goldsworthy. With its large size, this eye-catching gate acts almost as a garden wall. Visit Andy’s digital catalog for more photographs by Andy Goldsworthy.
16) Steane Park
‘The Moon Gate’ – at Steane Park in Northampton shire, taken from a design by Mary Reynolds at the Chelsea Flower Show of 2001. Image by WindBlown2011 on Flickr.
17) East Meets West
A Chinese-inspired moon gate located in Mount Desert, Maine. Looking through the moon gate you get a glimpse of a garden filled to the brim with ferns.
18) South Carolina Moon Gate
Moon Gate designed and constructed by The Stone Man, South Carolina. The large moon gate includes a low wall for ornamentals to grow over. More projects can be viewed at The Stone Man.
19) Crescent Moon
This designer used the shape of a crescent moon to make this gate. Just imagine how stunning this sculpture must look at night with the moon reflecting off of it.
20) Gate Within A Wall
Moon gate integrated into stone wall. Bristol, Rhode Island. More information about this amazing estate is available at Blithewold.org.
21) Hand-Chiseled Stone Gate
The moon gate frames the pagoda style pavilion and the “good karma” boulder. Masons hand chiseled each stone on site and set the stone against a wooden arched form which was later removed. By McHale Landscape Design, Upper Marlboro, MD. Additional work by McHale Landscape Design is available on their website.
22) Chinese Garden Of Friendship
Moon gate, in the Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney, Australia. Photo by Jon Harley on Flickr.
23) Tropical Wedding in Bermuda
The sleek white color of the gate looks incredible against a backdrop of blue water.
24) Moon Gate In Suzhou
Moon Gate by A. Wee. Suzhou, China. Photo credit to A. Wee on Flickr.
25) Ross Priory
Moon gate at Ross Priory. Loch Lomond, Scotland.
26) Red Accent
The bright, red interior emphasizes the form of this moon gate.
27) Claydon Gardens
The moon gate at Claydon Gardens in Buckinghamshire. Find additional information and pictures at The Galloping Gardener.
28) Live Hedge
Green moon gate, window in a hedge, Orsan. Image by Francois Berraldacci. Go to Francois’ website for more photographs by Francois Berraldacci.
29) Trellis Moon Gate
A moongate set in a trellis provides the separation between a dining terrace and small garden beyond. By Leonard Design Associates, Arlington, MA. Other projects by Leonard Design Associates is available on their website.
30) Outdoor Kitchen
Wooden moongate to an outdoor kitchen, Pleasantville, NY. This is a great example of how moon gates can act as passageways from one area of the garden to the next. Additional work by Fivecat Studio can be found on their website.
31) Western Moon Gate
The moongate with a western bent. A half circle trellis frames a garden. Dayton, Ohio. Go to Custom Outdoor Structures to view more of their work.
32) Gate Within A Door
Moon Gate with Asian Inspired Gate Latch by Sean Hennick of the San Francisco Bay Area. More details about this gate are available at 360 Yardware.
33) Green Tiles
Ivy and green tiles give this moon gate an earthly appearance.
34) Palm Grove Gardens
Moon gate, Palm Grove Gardens, Bermuda. Photo by Klotz (Jerrye and Roy Klotz MD) at Wikimedia Commons.
35) Symbol Of Love
Moongates are a common feature in Bermuda gardens. It is regarded as a symbol of love and Bermudians believe people who walk through a Moongate are blessed with good luck. Copyright Scott on Flickr.
36) Rhode Island Show
Moon gate at the 2011 Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show. More photographs and information about this garden are available at Ledge & Gardens.
37) Snowy Moon Gate
A garden covered in snow is magical and the moon gate takes it to the next level.
38) Tropical Walkway
This moon gate serves as an entrance and an exit. With a backdrop of paradise, this structure is quite mesmerizing. Photo by Kansasphoto / Flickr (Creative Commons).
Whether they’re on the properties of large gardens like Green Spring Gardens or just tucked away in someone’s small secret garden, moon gates are more than just functional garden gates. They add beautiful visual interest to whatever space they inhabit.
An Ancient Moon Gate in Cornwall
The Mên-an-Tol, (the hole stone) Cornwall, United Kingdom. Also known as the Crick Stone for it heals a crick in the back. This Bronze Age monument has been standing in West Cornwall for nearly 4500 years and local legend claims if a woman passes through the stone hole seven times backwards on a full moon, she will soon become pregnant.
Moon Gate by Magma Design Group, 2013. The existing stones act as both a support mechanism and as a foil to the textures of the stone that they brought onto the site. After a few years, the moongate stones will age and blend in with the rest of the stone on the site. Massachusetts. By Magma Design Group, Inc.
Chinese Moon Gate
Doors either did not exist or were left open. (Socially, closed doors were not considered courteous since they implied exclusion, while the open door symbolized the welcome extended by the essentially out-going Chinese temperament with its spontaneous and natural relationships developed over the ages in the highly socialized life of a large family). Doors were often only a means of enhancing a view into the garden or to the scenery beyond, such as the moon door, a beautifully placed circle framing some special outlook. Not only was every aspect used to its full natural advantage but “if one can take advantage of a neighbour’s view one should not cut off the communication, for such a ‘borrowed prospect’ is very acceptable.From the Yün Yeh, a Ming treatise on gardening.
The garden was not, however, merely aesthetic but creative and a reminder of, and contact with, the creative forces and the great cycle of the seasons, birth, maturity, decay, death and rebirth.From The Symbolism of the Taoist Garden by J.C. Cooper.