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Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds

One of my favorites things to do in my gardens is putting together little vignettes of junk I’ve picked up at garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales or flea markets and incorporating them into different areas of my garden. This post is filled with lots of pictures of some of these little garden decor groupings I’ve put together over the years. I hope you’ll come away with some ideas of ways to add a few vignettes using flea market finds, upcycled or repurposed junk in your flower gardens. Have fun and enjoy the virtual garden tour. 

Do you know what a “vignette” is? I love the definition of vignette on vocabulary.com: “A vignette is a brief but powerful scene. A good vignette leaves you wanting more.”  As a general rule of thumb, whether indoors or outdoors, decor vignettes look best in odd numbers.

Sometimes the best place to start creating garden vignettes is to look around your own yard and/or garden shed for junk you can repurpose. A great example is this chair hubby made out of sticks and limbs from a maple tree we cut down.  I parked a wicker basket of annuals on the seat and twined a Nelly Moser clematis around the back. Mr. or Mrs. Robin liked it too and stopped in for a visit. It looks super cute tucked into this flower garden.

Garden Vignette using a DIY chair made from limbs and twigs.

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Vintage milk cans look awesome in a flower garden. They work great as planters. I can’t get the lid off of this smaller size vintage milk can, so I simply set the basket on top of it.

Vintage milk can used in a garden.

Here is a larger old milk can that I use as a planter. I simply place a container inside it that has enough of a lip at the top so it doesn’t slip down into the milk can.

Image of a vintage milk can in a flower garden.

Old Ladders as Garden Decor

Vintage ladders make such fun vignettes in the garden. They are very easy to find at flea markets, estate sales or garage sales. Perhaps you have an old ladder tucked away in a gardening shed. This ladder was an estate sale find several years ago and it’s made an appearance in my garden every year since then. 

Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds

Most of the little junk pieces or knick knacks are also easy to find at thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, or estate sales. This is the same ladder styled completely different.

Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds

Just to show how garden vignettes can be changed up from year-to-year, here’s another cute ladder idea.

Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds

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Another great example of upcycling for the garden is the use of wicker baskets. I love using wicker baskets as planters and you’ll notice them in lots of my garden vignettes. They are really easy to find either on sale, or second-hand. Wicker baskets generally only last a few seasons outdoors, but I always feel like I got my money’s worth.

Zinnias in a Wicker Basket

Here’s a little vignette from a few years ago featuring antique mason jars which are also readily available at flea markets. The bench was constructed out of old barnwood. I loved this one so much that I had a canvas print made and it hangs in my office.

Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds

Another cool piece made from barn wood is this sweet cart I picked up at a flea market. The old gentleman that I purchased it from told me all about how he made it from old barn wood.

Image of a flower garden with an old barn wood cart

Upcycled Wheelbarrow Planters in the Garden

Old Vintage Wheelbarrows make awesome flower planters in the garden. If it doesn’t already have some holes in the bottom, be sure to drill some for drainage. We purchased this old wheelbarrow at an estate sale several years ago and I love filling it every year with plants. For some reason this wheelbarrow seems to always end up in the shade and filled with shady annuals, like impatiens, begonias, caladium, ferns and creeping jenny or vinca vine.

Old Wheelbarrow filled with creeping jenny, begonias, caladium, impatiens and ferns

Here’s another cute garden vignette featuring my old vintage wheelbarrow.

Garden Vignette featuring a Vintage Wheelbarrow filled with flowers.

And one more garden vignette featuring my vintage wheelbarrow.Vintage Wheelbarrow filled with flowers.

Using Upcycled Chairs in the Garden

This old chair was missing the seat, so I was able to snag it for a few bucks at an antique store several years ago.  I didn’t care if it had a seat, because I knew immediately that only a pot of flowers was ever going to sit on it.

Old Chair With A Cute Basket of Flowers

Here is the same old chair styled with a wicker basket filled with morning glory vine, zinnias, calibrachoa, lobelia and creeping jenny.Old Chair with a Basket of Flowers - Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds

This next one is my favorite. A galvanized pot with creeping jenny, lobelia, impatiens and caladium is looking lovely sitting on this old, junkie looking chair.

Old Chair in the Garden With A Galvanized Pot Full of Flowers


The hubs knew I was looking for an old water pump to use in the gardens and he found this one. It was in pretty awful shape, but we used a wire brush to clean it, and then spray painted it. The updated water pump still has a cool chippy old look and it adds some character to this whiskey barrel planter. Spray paint is an awesome way to spruce up or change the look of your flea market finds.

Image of a flower garden

Finally, here’s my junk garden this year. I loved putting this together. As I stated earlier, both the ladder and wheelbarrow came from estate sales. Hubby made the bench several years ago and it’s now showing age which I love. All the other stuff just came from my collection of garden decor and junk. Excuse the shadow of yours truly in the picture. Some day this old shed will become one of my makeover projects, which will be fun because I’ve always wanted a “she-shed”. That’s pretty far down on the project list though.

Junk Garden with Ladder, Bench & Wheelbarrow Planter

Here is a list of items you can easily find at flea markets, estate sales, thrift stores and garage sales to upcycle and add to your gardens:

  • Ladders
  • Chairs
  • Old Wheelbarrows
  • Galvanized Milk Pails and other containers
  • Galvanized Watering Cans
  • Vintage Milk Cans
  • Wicker Baskets
  • And many, many more. Pick up your printable list in the Gardening Resources Library. Get your password by completing the form below.

If you like using upcycled vintage junk and creating garden vignettes in the garden, you’ll enjoy

Creative Garden Ideas
Garden Decor and Garden Art
 Upcycled Vintage Garden Decor
Shade Border and Junk Gardens
Creative Container Flower Gardening.

I’ve been inspired over the years by following the blog, Organized Clutter. Carlene has an incredible talent for upcycling and adding all kinds of junk to her gardens to create some really awesome garden vignettes.  I also love Flea Market Gardening.  It’s a website that focuses on using flea market finds in the garden as well.

I’m so happy you stopped by Gingham Gardens today! Do you like to decorate your gardens with repurposed junk? If so, what are your favorite pieces of garden junk? Please leave a comment and let me know. As always, if you have a gardening question, just ask. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and come back soon!

Happy gardening,


p.s. Go ahead and feel free to “pin” these pictures. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away. There are also pins to share at the bottom of the page. Thanks a bunch!

p.p.s I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy.

Here are some pins to share on Pinterest:

Image of a garden with Text Overlay - Garden Vignettes using upcycled and recycled junk

Image of a flower basket with text overlay Garden Vignettes using Flea Market junk