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The addition of vintage and antique items to your garden or yard will add charm and interest as well as show off your plants and flowers. If you love decorating and gardening, then these ideas will help you create some magic right in your own backyard. These ideas can be used in any size garden and collecting and arranging items can be an ongoing project that you can work on all year round. 

1. Creative Ideas for Planters

Almost anything can be a planter: barrels, wheelbarrows, wagons, wash tubs, chamber pots, drawers, kitchen implements like sifters, bowls, cooking pots, ceramic pickle tubs, vintage food tins, sinks, teacups, cake pans, milk cans and more. 

Add some drainage holes so your planters don’t gather standing water and you are good to go. Shop your local yard sales and antique shops with an open mind and you will see that almost anything can become a planter. 

2. Vintage Tableware

Antique shops and yard sales are overflowing with vintage plates of all sizes. They make great garden decor so don’t pass them by. Hang vintage and antique plates on the fence, and you can layer them together and bond them with epoxy for more depth and interest. Plates can even be used as edging by wedging them in the ground around garden beds.

3. Bring a Magical Glow

Antique outdoor lighting such as a Victorian style lamp on a post makes a stunning focal point when set in a garden. Surrounded by flowers and nearby trees, it can create a moment out of a fairy tale while beckoning visitors to take an evening stroll in the garden.

antique lamp

Image Source: MR.RAWIN TANPIN/

Shop Our Selection of Vintage and Antique Outdoor Lighting

4. Create a Pergola

A pergola is an archway or framework for vining plants. Typically built to shelter a seating area, a pergola can really be any size or shape. Shop your local salvage shop for materials to create a happy home for your trailing plants like roses, wisteria, trumpet vine and more. Pergolas can be wood or metal or a mix of both. Look for items like vintage framing, gutters and downspouts, wrought iron fencing and lightning rods. Vintage bed frames make great pergolas as do antique bicycle frames and more. You are only limited by your imagination. 

5. Old Windows Add Sparkle

Vintage windows are a very common find. Lean one against the fence or prop it in the garden with a “window box” of flowers beneath. Hang an old window from a tree branch over a garden bed for some whimsy. Old windows are also perfect for making your own cold frame, which is basically a little greenhouse close to the ground that you can use to extend the season in your garden. 

6. Add Height with Ladders

Vintage ladders and step stools are perfect for creating height and visual interest in your garden, and even on your patio or courtyard. Stack planters on the rungs along with various vintage items that you like to show off. In a bed of climbing vines, ladders make a great frame for them to clamber up and reach for the sun.

construction of pots, plants and herbs

Image Source: Lana Tavits/

7. Mirrors for Magic

Antique and vintage framed mirrors can be hung for added glitter and glow. Ideally, you would hang mirrors under overhangs or on a nearby covered porch for protection from the weather, but they could be set fully outdoors as well. There, they will reflect beautiful blooms and greenery to give your garden a more expansive feel. 

8. Household Items

The use of old household fixtures and items such as sewing machine bases, water pumps and old sinks as planters and focal points creates interest and whimsy in your garden. Arranged in clusters, they add even more visual interest. Kept in their run-down condition or refurbished with a new finish, these items can’t help but bring the charm.

autumn scene with candlesticks

Image Source: Galina Grebenyuk/

9. Vintage Outdoor Furniture

Refurbished vintage porch furniture like rocking chairs and glider couches bring back memories of summer days at grandma’s house. Restoring an old piece of furniture can be a great project, or just updating some of the outdoor furniture hardware can improve a piece’s function and add some sparkle. 

Find All Your Vintage Furniture Hardware Needs at Van Dyke’s

10. Create an Oasis for the Birds

Birds add grace and beauty to any garden, so don’t forget to add attractions for them. Create a birdbath from a shallow cake pan or enamel tray. They look great stacked on a milk can or chair. Place some rocks in the pan to create different levels and just add water and watch the birds flock to their new favorite place. 

11. Vintage Doors

Old doors make great additions to fencing. If you are handy, you could even use a vintage door as a functional gate. Or use an ornate door frame as a gateway in your fence or garden. Leave the doors in their vintage distressed condition — or if you are artistic, use the door as a canvas and paint something beautiful.  

Create Charm Without Blowing Your Budget

These antique garden decor ideas can be achieved without going into debt. Make your antique garden a long-term project and add pieces as you go. Enjoy the process of browsing garage sales and using your imagination to see that almost any vintage item can become a charming addition to your yard or garden.