We’re all guilty of tending to our homes more than our gardens, but with summer days stretching out into balmy evenings, now is the time to stamp some style on your plot.
Here’s how to hunt out unusual pieces of salvage and and reclaimed stonework for your garden:
Know where to look
Reclamation yards and decorative antiques shops – even skips, for that matter – yield old pieces of beautifully weathered or aged garden furniture, statuary, gates, terracotta pots, plant supporters and unusual objects, which can accentuate an existing theme or bring character to a specific area in your plot.
Take your time
Hunting for such items can take more time than buying new, but it’s well worth the effort. Not only will you save money and find unique pieces that will make your garden an expression of your style – you’re also helping the environment, by reusing and upcycling.
Choose pieces carefully
Giselle McCarthy, senior buyer at Petersham Nurseries, recommends taking time when choosing each piece. ‘We’re always looking for genuine character, authentic patination and beautiful form when we’re sourcing architectural salvage, whether it’s a petite stone goose or a life-size 19th-century statue.’
While an old carved stone plaque is a thing of beauty in its own right, it can easily be converted into a wall fountain by drilling some holes into it. Tom Hart from LASSCO Three Pigeons also suggests cast-iron boilers as fountain centrepieces, old iron gates as trellises or panels used as screens.
Once bought, take a look at the garden and think carefully about placement. Giselle McCarthy suggests considering the existing textures and tones of the setting to see what will blend in. Enjoy it – play with scale as well as expectations.
Make a focus
Alternatively, use salvaged pieces as a focal point. Tom Hart explains: ‘Rustic doors, for example, can be used purely decoratively to add interest to high garden walls. Garden fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular, with stone chimney pieces evoking a baronial feel to evenings spent outside around the fire.’
WHERE TO BUY GARDEN ANTIQUES AND SALVAGE
Beeston Reclamation, Whitchurch Road, Beeston, Cheshire, CW6 9NJ. 01829 260299; beestonreclamation.co.uk
The Cotswold Reclamation Co, Unit 2, Sandy Lane Court, Little Rissington, Glos, GL54 2NF. 01451 820292; cotswoldreclamation.com
English Salvage, North Road, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0AB. 01568 616205; englishsalvage.co.uk
Insitu Architectural Salvage, 252 Chester Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 4EX. 0161 839 5525; insitumanchester.com
LASSCO Three Pigeons, London Road, Milton Common, Oxfordshire, OX9 2JN. 01844 277188; lassco.co.uk
Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB. 020 8940 5230; petershamnurseries.com
Keen to learn more, find out what Drew Pritchard’s must find garden antiques are here.
Images: Stephanie Wolff/Petersham Nurseries; LASSCO
Words: Catherine Muxworthy