Antiques guide: where to buy rustic garden antiques

We reveal to the best antiques shops and flea markets to buy weathered garden antiques for your home and garden

19th-century French cast-iron garden urns, £580, Lichen Garden Antiques.

From antique troughs, watering cans and urns, to curved wrought-iron dining chairs and benches, there are a huge array of garden antiques available from flea markets and antiques shops which make a characterful addition to your home and garden. Here’s how to buy a piece of your own…

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What are garden antiques or gardenalia?

Garden antiques, or gardenalia, are any piece of furniture or practical accessory that was once intended for outdoor use. Garden antiques are often sought-after for their beautiful patina (weathered look) and are sometimes covered in lichen, rust or moss. When shopping, look out for old pots, watering cans, galvanised troughs, tin baths, cast-iron urns, tools, stone statuary, seating, deckchairs, tables and all manner of weird and wonderful salvaged items that will make a real statement on lawns, terraces and in flowerbeds. Did you know that old aluminium salmon traps are perfect as sweet pea frames? Or that reclaimed scaffold planks make brilliant raised beds?

How to use garden antiques indoors

Using garden antiques indoors is an easy way to lend an organic and rustic look to your home all year round, even if the weather outside is miserable! Pots, trowels and planters are really made for manual labour in the garden,  also make brilliant interiors accessories, and help to usher the bloom of the great outdoors into your home. For inspiration, take a look at our guide to decorating with rustic garden antiques.

Victorian wrought iron garden furniture can add sculptural shapes to your home, and this curved seat would look beautiful in an entrance hall, or as an occasional seat in a bedroom. Photography: Katya de Grunwald.
Victorian wrought iron garden furniture can add sculptural shapes to your home, and this curved seat would look beautiful in an entrance hall, or as an occasional seat in a bedroom. Photography: Katya de Grunwald.

How to use garden antiques outdoors

When decorating your garden, apply the same principles that you would use in your home, considering proportions, texture and colour. Remember to have a mix of different materials and don’t be afraid to put things in the middle of the space, rather than just along the perimeter. A small garden doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be bold with colour or put something large in the space. To make sure that your garden antiques stand the test of time, take a look at our guide to caring for antique garden furniture.

Unusual garden accessories are the perfect way to create a decorative, vintage look in the garden. Bench ends, pot stands and painted garden chairs all add visual interest among potted plants, especially when placed to the front of an outhouse or shed. Photography: Katya de Grunwald
Unusual garden accessories are the perfect way to create a decorative, vintage look in the garden. Bench ends, pot stands and painted garden chairs all add visual interest among potted plants, especially when placed to the front of an outhouse or shed. Photography: Katya de Grunwald
A collection of vintage bowls, vases and jugs filled with spring flowers.

Where to shop for garden antiques

Whether you prefer to shop at flea markets or antiques shops, there are plenty of brilliant places to buy garden antiques at affordable prices.

The beat flea markets for garden antiques

Good fairs for gardenalia include Malvern Flea, Shepton Flea, Knebworth, Ardingly, Lincolnshire, Sunbury, Newbury, Carmarthen Flea, The Frome Independent, and the Decorative Home & Salvage Show. Remember that reclamation yards will also often yield practical and decorative garden items. You can also take a look at our flea market diary dates to find an antiques fair near you.

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The best antiques shops for garden antiques