Transform your garden with creative budget-friendly DIY projects, secondhand finds, upcycling, and vintage goods to a little create cottage garden magic!
Once the Spring is here you will find me out in my garden. I’m always trying to add some pretty cottage style to it. One of my favorite ways to do this is by repurposing things that I have found on my thrifting, vintage, and flea market adventures.
Not only is using secondhand an eco-friendly way to decorate, but it’s also a great way to save a few bucks!
There are so many items you can repurpose for your garden, from old chairs to tables that will add cottage garden charm.
I’ll share my latest additions to my garden and some of my favorite DIY ideas for repurposing thrifted items for your garden.
Repurposing Secondhand Items for Your Garden
Choosing Secondhand Items for Your Garden
When it comes to repurposing secondhand items for your garden, the possibilities are endless.
Make sure to choose items that are suitable for outdoor use and can withstand the elements. At least for a season or two.
Sometimes when I am using budget-friendly thrifted finds outside I’m not worried because they were such a small investment to begin with.
Some of my favorite secondhand items to repurpose for the garden include:
- Old metal watering cans
- Wooden crates
- Wicker baskets
- Ceramic pots and vases
- Metal buckets and tubs
When selecting items, give them the once over to inspect them for any damage or wear and tear.
Ideas for Repurposing Secondhand Items in Your Garden
If you love gardening and thrift shopping, then you can combine both hobbies to create your own unique and budget-friendly garden decor.
Here are some ideas for repurposing secondhand items in your garden:
Creating Unique Planters and Containers
One of the easiest ways to repurpose secondhand items in your garden is by turning them into planters and containers. You can use old buckets, baskets, teapots, and even old shoes or boots to create unique and eye-catching planters.
Make sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom of your containers so your plants don’t sit in excess water.
In my garden, I love to use metal buckets and pails that I have found at flea markets to use as planters.
They add a rustic touch to the garden and are durable. Some of these galvanized pails I have had for 10 years.
A fun spot for your flowers is in some sort of wooden crate or box. Keep your eye out for unfinished wooden crates at the thrift store or on sale at the craft store.
You can paint them to match your own garden style. Like the above Patriotic Flower Crate that I made.
Vintage wood soda crates are fantastic for using as planters too!
Look for vintage bazaars or flea markets in your area. They are a great resource for finding unique containers to use for your plants and flowers.
You can never go wrong with using a basket for your flowers. Baskets automatically create a cottage garden feel!
A planter with daffodil bulbs tucked into a rustic twig basket was perfect for the early Spring.
A vintage French wooden decalitre container filled with mums in the Fall was a unique way to use this antique store find.
Decorating Your Garden with Secondhand Items
Thrift stores are a treasure trove of unique and quirky items that can add character to your garden. You can use old garden tools, vintage signs, and even old bicycles to decorate your garden.
These items can be used as focal points or scattered throughout your garden to create a cohesive cottage garden look.
Using vintage garden tools and terracotta pots I created a one-of-a-kind garden wreath.
In my gardens, I like to add as many water sources for the pollinators as I can. It doesn’t have to be a formal birdbath…there are so many thrifty ways to create your own using secondhand finds or things that you already have.
Here I spraypainted a tall wood candlestick holder that I found at the thrift store and added a small bowl on top to hold water.
This almost new chicken wire basket that I got for $3.49 at the thrift store was made for a kitchen but works perfectly in the garden to hold a collection of small vintage terracotta pots.
An old green shutter adds a cottage touch to the back of the garden. It’s leaned against the garden fence to make a backdrop for a planter of annuals. The flower stand is actually the base of a broken birdbath.
How To Add Vintage Finds To Your Garden
If you are drawn to the look of an English cottage garden one way to bring that style to your own garden is by adding vintage pieces throughout.
Flea markets and vintage shops are the best places to hunt for affordable garden additions.
Plus, isn’t it just fun to pick through piles of vintage stuff??!! It is definitely one of my favorite things to do!
It seems that every flea market that I go to has a good supply of watering can or old galvanized buckets that are perfect for a vintage garden look. The Vintage Bazaar New England is always loaded with great garden items.
It takes time to find the perfect secondhand items. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find something right away. Just keep looking and eventually, you’ll find what you’re looking for!
This watering can is my best flea market find at only 2 bucks!! Honestly, I think the vendor was just sick of seeing me that morning and only charged me $2 to get rid of me!!
This year I have moved my potting bench right into my cottage garden. Now I have a place to not only store my supplies but I can display some of my secondhand vintage finds!
It needed a little bit of a makeover! So I painted an earthy green in the Spring.
See the entire Vintage Inspired Potting Bench project
Repurposing Furniture for Outdoor Use
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can repurpose old furniture to use around the garden!
One easy-to-find secondhand item to keep your eye out for is old chairs. A chair not only adds a bit of charm to your garden but is a useful spot for a pot of flowers!!
I found a set of 2 of these chairs at the thrift store and spent a whopping $4!! They already had the perfect rustic, shabby look that looks perfect in a cottage garden.
This table was a free dumpster find! With a little paint I transformed it into a French country-inspired potting table for the garden.
Check out the step-by-step tutorial for repurposing a table for the garden.
Repurposing thrifted items in your garden is a great way to add character and charm to your outdoor space. By using your creativity and imagination, you can turn old and forgotten items into beautiful and functional garden decor.
DIY Budget-Friendly Garden Projects
A fun and creative way to personalize your garden is to create some of your unique projects. Here are a few budget-friendly DIY project ideas from my garden to get you started:
To create a cottage garden look in my raised bed, I’ve made a couple of new DIY Garden Towers. This is an affordable project that starts with the cheapest tomato tower that you can find! Then you will need a pack of bamboo garden stakes & roping or twine.
If you are a gardener you probably already have the supplies for this thrifty project in your garage!
If you don’t want to spend the money on pricey garden topiaries you can make your own! Here I used vintage croquet wickets ( I think they were $2 or $3 each) in one of the planters and pieces cut off of an old grapevine wreath in the other. Cottage garden style on a small budget!
See the complete step-by-step tutorial for the details.
A project that I had fun putting together was my garden girl scarecrow. Using scrap wood, a tomato cage, & some inexpensive clothes and accessories I have a new friend out in the garden!
One of my favorite little garden projects was this ode to Peter Rabbit scarecrow. Made out of felt & fabric glue…super easy!
Other Cottage Garden DIYs
An inexpensive bird bath idea to pop into your garden is to turn a terracotta planter upside down and place the saucer on top of it. Add stones or beads for a resting spot for pollinators and fill with water.
You can also DIY clay plant marker tags for a personalized touch to your garden beds.
One of my favorite DIY projects to create is a wreath. This Flower Pot Wreath was perfect for my garden gate and can be personalized with your own choice of greenery or flowers to match your mood!
So, head out to your local secondhand or vintage shop and use a little bit of imagination and you might find the perfect piece for your garden! You never know when you will stumble upon a hidden gem!
Shop my gardening favorites! Raised beds, plant supports, & tools to make your garden grow.