Antique outdoor furniture and décor is especially popular this year as the trend continues to create outdoor living spaces. Here are 5 tips on creating an inviting garden space with antique and vintage finds. These items can be purchased at flea markets, outdoor markets and, of course, garage sales. Durable woods (teak or bamboo, for example), concrete and cast iron are all materials that can withstand 12 months of outdoor life and all kinds of weather and temperatures.

Tip: If you find something you love at one of these markets and don’t have a car big enough to transport your new treasure, look for dealers who live in your are and may be willing to help transport it. We’ve always had luck finding someone with a pick-up or van to help!

Vintage planters. Decide where you want the container before you buy so that you purchase the proper size, shape, style and material. Big pots can create a focal point in a garden. Choose plants that complement the color and finish of your planter. Keep in mind how the pot will look in winter. Materials can be marble, concrete, terra-cotta, teak, bamboo, cedar or pressure-treated wood to reduce moisture damage. Look to see if there are drainage holes in the containers or pots and water accordingly. If there are holes, you may have to water more frequently. To help value your planter look for a mark, usually on the bottom. Verify the material of the planter.  Concrete will be rougher than terra-cotta or ceramic and marble.  Marble and colorful glazed majolica are usually worth the most.  You can find marks in our online marks guide.

Oversized statues. Remember that saying “go big or go home?” That’s what we are talking about here. Grecian statues or anything whimsical or classic can be a focal part of your garden. Again, look for something big and dominant. Fall in love.

Sundial. Nothing says fun like an old sundial. We’ve seen so many styles and examples we know you will have fun finding one at auctions or flea markets. You might even find them through online marketplaces! Remember you have to find a sunny space to put it (I know. We had to say it). And sundials have to be set just like clocks. Your next opportunity will be June 15. See for how to set it. And while you are at it, if you spot an old weathervane, they are great decorative pieces, as well as conversation starters.

Fountains, fountains, fountains. Why did we say it three times? Because we love tiered fountains and three tiers would be awesome. Not only are they pretty, they create a relaxing sound of moving water and waterfalls. They may also attract birds! We are always on the lookout for cardinals and blue jays.  When you are at garage or house sales, peek into the back yard. You might find a fountain or other large object perfect for gardenscape … at a bargain price! If you are lucky, you may find brands like J. W. Fiske & Company of New York City. The company was the most prominent American manufacturer of decorative cast iron in the second half of the nineteenth century. They are known for garden fountains, statues, urns and cast-iron garden furniture.

Ceramic “seats” and painted garden stands or furniture. Ceramic garden seats are a great way to add seating without having your whole garden filled with chairs. There are some beautiful ones out there! Older less valuable furniture can become a piece of art with painting and stenciling in waterproof paints. Consider the colors already in your garden from flowers, fences or other furniture. Painting pieces green or white often work.

Bonus tip: Outdoor furniture designed or made by certain companies are getting very high prices in auctions. Those designers include Walter Lamb, Salterini, Richard Schultz and Jordan Kartell. If you spot those names at a good price, snap them up! The investment will be worth it.

copper heron weathervane on stand

Vintage American copper heron weather vane on stand, $584.  Photo: Leland Little Auctions


bronze angels fountain

A bronze angels fountain statue, $13,800.  Photo: Super Auction Gallery


bronze mermaid fountain

Classical style bronze mermaid fountain, $4,920.  Photo: Leland Little Auctions


aronsson soner swedish armillary sundial on pedestal

Aronsson Soner Swedish armillary sundial, $1,046.  Photo: Westport Auction



pocket sundial and compass

Ornate West London gold tone pocket sundial compass, $35.  Photo: South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services Inc.


golf putter boy sundial trophy

Pinehurst Golf Club putter boy sundial trophy, $461.  Photo: Leland Little Auctions


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