Flea Market Gardens


Whether you have large landscaped grounds or a small urban lot, a garden decorated with flea market cast-offs, salvaged saves and tag sale treasures surrounds you with an outdoor setting that truly reflects who you are and the way you live. With planning and inspiration, a garden filled with vintage and found items can be as welcoming as any room of your home—and as integral a part of your everyday life. From thrifty diamond-in-the-rough projects to beautifully designed landscapes, Flea Market Gardens will provide that motivation and the know-how to apply our designs to your own space. The easy, carefree, no-rules approach of gardening with flea market finds will inspire you to make creative outdoor rooms that capture the imagination.

United States
Athlon Media Group


pieces of the past

One of the pieces of advice about their flea market finds that I hear repeatedly from gardeners is: “I didn’t have a place for it, I just loved it.” Or, “If you love it, buy it. You’ll find a spot for it.” The appeal of the object comes first, the placing second. And the best flea market gardens happen over time as collections and creations come together. It’s that love of old things and the joy of the search that make us embellish our gardens with pieces of the past, as well as the recognition that they bring a unique flavor and personal character to our landscapes. Nothing sets off a rusty or chipped-paint artifact quite like gorgeous blooms and colorful foliage. All the gardeners we feature in this issue would agree.…

tool time

Pull an old trowel from a garage sale heap, hold it in your hand, and close your eyes. You can feel its weight, balance, and utility. Hold it a bit longer, and it will tell you stories of new potatoes and old hands. That’s why garden tools are so collectible. Old tools were designed to do a job and were built with materials made to last, so many are still around, intact and usable. Look for them at farm auctions, flea markets, estate sales, and Etsy boutiques. While many gardeners look for old tools to use, the worn surfaces, peeled and chipped paint, and lovingly earned patina make vintage garden tools pieces of art to collectors. From antique ash-handled English trowels to floral-embellished Dutch dibbers (bulb planting tools), old garden tools deliver…

diy decor

Often, a unique find has a place in your garden just as it is. But once in a while, your flea market, yard sale, thrift store, hand-me-down, or salvaged treasures beg for a little embellishment. The trick is to look beyond an item’s original use and breathe a little fresh air into it. Imagine its new life outside amid the flowers and greenery. Each piece you create using these goodies becomes a work of handmade art to adorn your garden getaway. Bottle Mobile Make a musical mobile from an old chandelier and a selection of recycled and vintage glass bottles. Choose bottles in green, aqua, amber, blue, and clear glass for a fixture that sparkles with color and light. 1. MATCHING COBALT BLUE wine bottles make a striking effect placed upside down in…

light your way

1 BRILLIANT BASKET You need four elements for this cool pendant: a wire egg basket, a cozy nest of moss, three vintage Ball jars, and three candles. Hang it up by the handle, and admire the glow through the see-through sides. Add sand to the bottom of the jars to make candle wax cleanup a snap. Using Vintage Finds to Create Lighting With a mix of vintage, salvaged, and found objects, and a creative eye, you can dream up cool custom lighting for your porch, patio, or deck. Dig through your toolshed, garage, and kitchen cupboards, and you may discover charming chandelier and lamp parts just waiting to be assembled and enjoyed. 2 HIGH-WIRE ACT No electricity? No problem! Twinkling candlelight from above adds just the right kind of ambience. An upside-down wire…

on your mark

You know the difference between basil and rosemary. But does your spouse? Do your kids? That’s why you need plant markers. Those labels identify specific herbs, vegetables, and/or flowers—which makes it easier for you to remember what’s what and increases the chance of success when you send someone else to clip herbs for a recipe or gather veggies for a salad. Keep in mind: you’re not limited to writing names. With large enough labels, you can add maintenance instructions so everyone can help with gardening chores—even weeding. Provide all that key info while adding charm with these easy plant markers you can make in minutes. 1 SLATE YOUR CASE Count on reusable slate markers to enhance your garden’s natural charm. Write plant names with chalk, or use a chalk marker for…

recycled flea-for-all

Everyone knows it takes two to tango. It also takes two to create a flea market garden that can enthrall visitors for hours—that is, if those two are Ted and Gloria Hill. Some visitors know what they’re getting into, because they’ve been inside the Hills’ tract home, which is filled with antiques, collectibles, and one-of-akind vintage pieces. Other folks happen to be strolling by and get hailed by Ted to come and take a look. Pride talking? Not really. In fact, when pressed to describe his distinctive garden-decorating style, Ted says, “I didn’t know my garden looked so great. I just throw stuff in the corner and plant where I plant.” But of course there’s more to it than that. Ted and Gloria live two miles from the beach in southern California,…