When designing a landscape garden, an antique-style urn can add a focal point and a touch of sophistication – without necessarily needing to break the budget. We've picked out some of the best antique and classical-style urns on the market today for you to consider for your garden design.

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What is the difference between an urn and a planter?

An urn is essentially a large container with a distinctive bowl shape which tapers to a stem with a larger base to create an elegant curving shape. They usually have some decorative swags and floral elements for an ornamental flourish. Garden urns are staples of stately home driveways and gardens, often seen in pairs for a pleasing symmetrical effect and raised on plinths to add grandeur at the bottom of a sweeping set of steps up to the main house.

They are often based on classical shapes and forms, but can also be plain, and are usually made from materials such as terracotta, concrete, composite stone or limestone. Because they live outdoors and therefore become weathered and covered in moss fairly quickly, it’s notoriously difficult to date an antique urn.

Planters are a more general term which includes urns, and covers all sorts of shapes and styles, from deep rectangular troughs to round pots.

Searching for garden planters? You can see our round-up of planters and plant pots here.

10 best antique-style garden urns

The Clarence Urn

The elegant Clarence Urn features leaf moulding around the rim and ornamental decoration (gadrooning) to the bowl. Inspired by the designs of the Regency period, the urn has been carefully crafted by Haddonstone and comes in a range of colours. It is also frost proof and will weather beautifully over time.

Buy The Clarence Urn from Haddonstone (£159)

Haddonstone urn

Want to bring an urn inside? Check out our guide to how to incorporate garden antiques into your interior design.

Mid-Victorian-style garden urns

Lassco urns

This stately pair of urns in the manner of the Victorian ornamental terracotta manufacturer John Marriott Blashfield have a stylised lotus-leaf shape on a pedestal plinth base. They have been cast exclusively for LASSCO in a weather-resistant patent stoneware.

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Buy pair of mid-Victorian-style garden urns from LASSCO (£3,500)

Antique Mediterranean urn

Home Barn Shop urn

Antique urns like this were originally used for storing olive oil. Their sculptural form means they look beautiful left empty within your home, but can also be used outdoors as a planter for a small tree or trailing plants. In winter, simply turn them upside down so that they can't fill with water which will then freeze. Each pot is around 70-100 years old with a pleasingly patinated look which will vary from pot to pot.

Find out how to spot a fake antique here.

Buy large antique Mediterranean urn from Home Barn (£395)

Classical-style composite urn

English Salvage garden urns

These sturdy urns have bulbous bodies and heavy rims and are attractively weathered with lichen.

Buy classical-style composite urn from English Salvage (£160 each)

French Medici urns

Vinterior urns

This gorgeous pair of urns date to the 1800s and are the perfect containers for flourishing French lavender.

Buy French Medici urns from Vinterior (£518 for two)

Draped urn

Burford urn

If you're after an urn with plenty of decorative flourishes, this could be just the ticket. Featuring a mighty lion and gentle swags, along with a lid topped with leaves, this urn errs more towards the sculptural. The lid is removable and inside you'll find plenty of space to use this as a planter.

Buy draped urn from Burford (£350)

Decamp metal urn

Wayfair urn

This modern urn is a realistic-looking take on an antique version. It has two handles at the sides to assist with lifting and positioning, and a hole at the bottom for drainage. Just pop in your chosen plants and you're away!

Buy Decamp metal urn from Wayfair (£94.99)

Vintage Swedish cast-iron urn

Pamono Swedish urn

A very rare 19th-century Swedish cast-iron urn with the mark 'Norrahammar No.5' in an attractive forest green.

Buy vintage Swedish cast-iron urn from Pamono (£5,150)

Classical garden urn

Holloways urn

Largely unadorned, this classic urn is crying out for some colour and foliage in the form of trailing foliage. Made in two parts, it features a bowl with twin handles and an egg and dart rim supported on a fluted octagonal foot.

Buy large classical garden urn from Holloways (£480)

Reclaimed antique cast-iron urns

UK Heritage urns

Though not stamped, these are most likely by the Handyside foundry as this double lotus shape, based on earlier Georgian designs, is unique to them. Finely cast and finished with old paint.

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Buy pair of reclaimed antique cast-iron urns from UK Architectural Heritage (£975)

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