I’ve always had a soft spot for using vintage pieces and antiques in my gardens. Even before I had my own gardens, pictures of upcycled vintage garden decor would speak to me. I think it’s the joy of taking that vintage item and pairing it with brightly colored flowers that keeps me doing it. Visiting flea markets, estate sales, antique shops, thrift stores, and yard sales looking for vintage finds that I can add to my gardens has become a side hobby for hubs and me. And, I’m excited to show you some of my vintage treasures!
Recently updated with lots more ideas!
So what is upcycled vintage garden decor? It’s taking vintage pieces not originally intended for use in the garden and bringing new life into them. And then adding those unique pieces to your gardens and outdoor spaces. It’s not just about sustainable living, it’s about creating a space that is full of personality and beauty, and a space that you love.
I realize this type of garden decor isn’t for everyone. I think there’s a fine line between adding some whimsy and making things look junkie. In my gardens, I draw the line at using bathroom pieces or car parts. Haha! Really though, everyone has their own style and as long as it includes flowers, I love it! Creating these fun little vignettes brings out my creative side and I like to see what I can come up with and how I can use the same piece in different ways from year to year.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on
one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission
at no additional cost to you. See full disclosure here.
The Best Vintage Garden Decor Ideas
I have lots of ideas both from my gardens and from other gardens that I’ve visited, so let’s dive right in.
Up first is this sweet grouping featuring a replica of a vintage iron gate. I looked and looked for a real vintage gate like this one, but the prices were ridiculous, so I settled for a replica and it’s a great addition to my gardens. My daughter and I made the sign from an old piece of cedar fencing. The milk can and the galvanized watering can were flea market finds. I usually pick up wicker baskets for use in my gardens at thrift stores.
Here’s the same garden gate a few years later styled completely different.
Use Old Chairs in the Garden (even if they are broken)
An old chair with a pot of flowers sitting on it makes a charming focal point in a garden. I purchased this old chair several years ago from an antique store. The salesperson was so shocked that I wanted it even though it didn’t have a seat. I could have fashioned a planter into the seat where the caning was missing, but I never did. I think I paid two or three dollars for it.
It had a place in my gardens for several years until it finally fell apart. I even gave it a paint job to extend its life. Of course, wood chairs will not last forever in outdoor elements, but they will last several years.
The plants in the galvanized container include caladium, impatiens and creeping jenny. The plants around the bottom of the chair include; Ivory Halo Dogwood, Coleus, Pulmonaria (lungwort) and foxglove (I wish they were blooming, maybe next year.)
Just a side tip: The Creeping Jenny plant is a perennial in Zone 4, so I dig it out of all my planters and plant it in the ground in the fall, and then I don’t have to buy new plants in the spring.
And because I love it so much, here is the same chair in my gardens another year. I added a cute sign and some faux birdhouse stakes from my decor collection to create a cute display.
Because chairs look so cute in flower gardens, I found a new old one and painted it bright pink.
Love these ideas? Save them to Pinterest for later.
Old Ladders in the Garden
My old ladder is another one of my favorite upcycled vintage garden decor pieces. I picked this ladder up at an estate sale several years ago and have used it in my garden every summer. Wicker baskets can always be picked up cheaply at garage sales and thrift shops, and they make the best repurposed planters. I just style the ladder with small plants and small thrifted items that I have in my stash.
This little step ladder used to be my Dad’s and I love using it on my tiny front porch to add some welcoming charm.
This next grouping is a great example of how you can use junk in your yard to make garden decor. Logs come in very handy if you need to add height to a container, or to use as a table. My hubby made the ladder out of tree limbs from our yard. If you’d like to learn how to make your own wood ladder from tree limbs, check out Easy DIY Garden Decor Using Tree Branches.
Upcycled Antiques in the Garden
Antique milk cans are readily available at flea markets and I’ve had this one for several years. It was pretty ugly when I brought it home, but I knew I could fix it with a can of spray paint. I find a place for it in my gardens every year.
The old, blue milk can is getting chippy, but that just adds to its character. In the photo below, it holds a pot of lantana.
Old Bikes Can Add So Much Charm to a Flower Garden
Old bicycles make such a statement in a flower garden and are a great way to add some charm. This sweet ride was found on Craigslist. The lady I purchased it from thought I was going to ride it, so she told me where I could get the tires aired up. Little did she know… I dreamed about this very vignette ever since we moved to this house and I was so happy the year I was finally able to make it happen.
It’s so cute I can hardly stand it. Every year it leans up against this tree, just as I imagined. Below the bike is back again a few years later with the perennials filling in nicely.
Sadly, the old tree was sick and had to come down, but I found a new spot for my old bike up against the fence. Our resident squirrels thought it would be a good idea to eat the seat off of the bike. True story!
My neighbor friend and gardener like to exchange yard art ideas. Below is here charming bicycle using a bushel basket as a planter. So cute!
Galvanized Washtubs in the Garden
A garden is the perfect place to upcycle an old galvanized washtub. They make the most charming vintage garden decorations and serve a purpose as beautiful planters too.
This old galvanized washtub was picked up at a flea market many years ago and it makes an awesome and practical garden planter. The pump is another flea market find and it underwent a spray paint makeover.
See how we turned a galvanized washtub and the antique water pump into a water fountain planter in this post.
I used a galvanized tub as a planter to cover a tree stump in one of my flower gardens. Again, hubs made the super cute faux birdhouse stakes from fallen tree limbs in our yard.
While I’m on the topic of old vintage washtubs, my neighbor is letting me share her washtub hanging on a shepherd’s hook. I love it and someday I want to try doing this with an old washtub.
Wheelbarrows as Garden Planters
Wheelbarrows makes the best rustic planters. Just be sure to add some drainage holes if yours doesn’t already have them. Plants just go crazy in them. This wheelbarrow is full of coleus, impatiens, vinca vine, a fern), a begonia and caladium.
The old wheelbarrow planter is so full that it’s hard to tell it’s an old rusty wheelbarrow.
My creative friend also has a dressed up wheelbarrow planter in her garden.
More Upcycled Vintage Garden Decor Ideas
My old potting bench isn’t vintage, my hubs actually made it, but I can dress it up to look vintage by adding vintage garden tools, old clay pots and other vintage items to it. Not only is it cute, it works well as its intended purpose in my vegetable garden area.
I may have an obsession with old watering cans, and they are hardly ever used for their intended purpose. Watering cans that leak make the best rustic planters.
Never toss out an old mailbox. Spray paint it and add it somewhere in your gardens. Not only does it add character, you can store extra garden tools in it.
Farmhouse Antiques in the Garden
Old garden tools and farm equipment look so charming in a garden. Here’s a chicken feeder made into a planter. How cute is this?
I found this old spreader at a barn sale and knew it would make a unique planter for my garden. I lined it with landscape fabric to help hold in the soil. You could also use a fiber mat.
Don’t toss those old broken gardening tools. Upcycle them! I used this old broken rake to hold one of my favorite garden signs.
This old rusty shovel was my dad’s. I was pretty sad when the handle broke but we repurposed it into a rustic garden sign. I love it!
Nothing vintage about this next little vignette, but I think it’s cute. And this little yellow watering can is one of my all-time favorite thrift store finds and it finds a place in my garden decor every year. It’s the perfect example of using cute little nothings in your gardens to add character.
The little yellow watering can another year hanging from a shepherd’s hook. If you hang around Gingham Gardens for long, you’ll see it in lots of my pictures.
Thanks a bunch for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. I hope you enjoyed all the upcycled vintage garden decor ideas. Perhaps you’re walking away with some ideas to add some whimsy and character to your own gardens.
Shop the look:
If you’d like to see more of my junk garden decor, check out Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds and Garden Decor (Lots of Creative Ideas for Your Garden).
With a little creativity, you too can add some timeless charm to your gardens with upcycled vintage garden decor. How about scrolling back up and saving some of your favorite ideas to Pinterest. There are also some pinnable collages below.
More Great Things on Gingham Gardens
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters full of gardening tips. You’ll also get access to our Gardening Resources Library and all our helpful gardening printables.
More places to find Gingham Gardens:
- Visit Gingham Gardens on Pinterest.
- If you’re on Facebook, Gingham Gardens is also on Facebook.
- Stop by Gingham Gardens’ Amazon store!
- Love Etsy? Come see us on Etsy too.
Save a pin to your gardening board on Pinterest, so you can remember this post later: