If you like antiques but don’t want to subtract from the contemporary appeal of your interior, then consider the garden as a staging area for vintage pieces. Antiques give the outdoors an element of a bygone era frozen in time. With gardens, you also have the added benefit of using antiques that aren’t exactly suitable for indoor display.
Planters and Urns
Sure, you can always settle for the basic terracotta pot. If going the vintage route, though, then consider ornate stone urns. A matching pair actually goes great when flanked and placed at the base of an entryway. Similarly, you can use old stone troughs; place some flowers in them and let them slightly spill over to the walkway. Letting the trough collect a bit of moss also helps bring about an aged and untouched look.
Finally, you can also mix it up with antique planter boxes. These come in an assortment of sizes; some come in rusted wood or stone brick for a cottage-style charm. Feel free to mix and match a number of planters, urns, troughs, and planter boxes for really achieving a vintage botanical garden.
No garden is complete without a fountain or birdbath. Add some water, and you invite the birds to drop by and bathe. Fountains encompass all sizes; for a more extensive makeover, consider a large centerpiece fountain made from cast-stone. Some of the more elaborate models contain multiple tiers with an angelic or cupid-like figurine.
Another option is a wall fountain. Cover the stone wall in vines or overgrown vegetation. The center may contain some sort of engraving or a lion or other animal’s head with water coming out the mouth.
If the above additions are a bit much, you can always go for a smaller and movable stone birdbath. Anything made of stone by default has a timeless look.
Most gardens have at least a basic patio furniture set. A wrought iron table and matching chairs work well here. Adding a bench along a wall is also nice. Go for a wooden or stone bench. This provides a tranquil seating space for just admiring the scenery and tuning out the rest of the world for a brief moment. To add a few more accent pieces, other possible additions include a hanging wicker chair or vintage nesting tables. If you’re not familiar with the latter, these are a set of matching tables that come in different sizes. All the smaller ones can be tucked inside the largest one, much like the case in a Russian nesting doll set.
Antique Garden Ornaments
When it comes to antique ornaments, think beyond the conventional garden gnome or pink flamingos. There’s nothing wrong with those in of themselves, but we’re aiming for vintage here. The options are nearly endless. Some ideas include stone olive jars, vintage sundials, and statuaries of people or creatures.
You can also use vintage items that once had functional use. This includes actual garden accessories like a tin watering can, an old kerosene lamp, a vintage wagon, an old-style garden bed box, or turn-of-the-century aerator. If you have vintage hand garden tools, such as a pitchfork, trowel, rake, hoe, or Dandelion weeder, display these on the walls to showcase the old tools of the trade used by your grandparents’ generation.
If you’re willing to invest a bit more and have the space, you can install permanent fixtures. An example is a vintage cast-iron gazebo with ornate scrolled brackets and orb finials. If you really want to go the full mile, then consider a classically-styled stone greenhouse or conservatory.
Finally, any garden looks better with some sort of fencing. The typical white-picket fence never fails to provide that homely look. However, if going for vintage, then we suggest a wrought iron French-deco style gate. This can serve as the property’s actual fence. Alternatively, you can install fencing over the interior section of an existing stone or brick wall. Place some vines and foliage on the wall and let the leaves hang beyond the fence.
The garden provides whole new leeway for experimenting with antique displays. Aim for a variety to create a garden of magnificent wonder and awe.
Hannah Hutchinson is an interior designer based in London, currently blogging for Westland London. She’s always chasing new ideas and likes thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating fresh ideas to her client’s new homes.