How to Style a Retro Garden

If you are a fan of vintage home décor or antique pieces, why not extend the retro theme to your garden as well? Here are some tips on how to give your outdoor space a great retro chic look.

Do your research

Especially if you are into history, you may want to do some research into the kinds of plants, ornaments, architecture and design styles which were popular at the time you are basing your garden décor on. This article charts gardening trends in the USA through the twentieth century, and another interesting period to explore might be the Victorian era, when gardening became a popular hobby—for instance, you could replicate some of the trends of the Victorian fern craze and maybe even install your own Victorian-inspired garden pavilion.

Choose a starting point

Coming up with a whole design scheme for your garden can be daunting. There are plenty of choices to be made, from colors and materials to the positioning of plants and decorations, and you might be wondering where to start the process. A good way to get started would be buying vintage garden ornaments or other statement pieces. Choose something you really love and then build the rest of your garden décor around that piece. For instance, you could decorate your whole garden with plants and architectural styles which were popular at the time your vintage ornament was first made, or you could use colors and materials which complement it.

Keep the seasons in mind

As always when designing a garden, you need to keep in mind which flowers and plants bloom in which season. If you are being historically faithful to a past decade and only using plants which would have been available in your area at that time, you might need to pay particular attention to their seasonal patterns in order to ensure that your garden looks its best for as much of the year as possible. Just because we are used to seeing certain flowers around doesn’t mean that they are in season, or even that they would grow in our area—a whopping 82% of cut flowers sold in the US are imported, mainly from Colombia, which can really give us a false impression of the variety of plants which would have been available further north before international trade became an everyday occurrence.

Don’t forget architecture

Designing a garden is about much more than just plants, though those are obviously extremely important. Just like with plant choices, look into how architecture and interior design trends have changed through time, and pick your garden ornaments, gates, fences and furniture accordingly. If you are designing a garden inspired by the 1920s, for example, you might want to consider purchasing an iron gate with ornamental geometric patterns in the Art Deco style which was popular a century ago. If your inspiration is the 1960s, on the other hand, why not invest in a brightly colored sculpture of a daily object inspired by the pop art movement? The possibilities are endless!