Thrifting Garden Treasures : What to Thrift & How to Use it

Embark on a journey into the world of thrifting garden treasures, a passion I’ve cultivated over the years. Together, we’ll uncover the items to seek, from planters and unique gardening tools to distinctive decorative elements and rustic garden furniture. I’ll share creative ways to incorporate these thrifted finds into your garden, creating a space that’s uniquely yours and brimming with charm.

A workbench decorated with garden pots, plants, planted chairs, and more.

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A Garden full of Vintage Treasures

Step into my garden, a sanctuary of thrifted treasures I’ve lovingly gathered over the years.

Vintage Garden Decor: Thrifted Finds and Ideas
picket fence art easel in the garden.

The excitement of the hunt at estate sales, thrift stores, and yard sales is a thrill I can’t resist. Each piece I find, from old wheelbarrows, garden arches and picket fences to vintage sinks and pots, brings a unique character to my garden.

The older and rustier, the better. And my collection of terra cotta pots they’re not just pots; they’re charming decor for both my home and shed.

The charm of thrift store finds lies in their limitless potential for creating something new out of something old!

I picked up an old white picket fence on the roadside a while back and have made this white art easel and a picket flower pot.


Today, I am thrilled to join the Thrifting with the Gals monthly blog hop as their guest. 

If you came over from my friend Rachel’s blog, @thepondsfarmhouse, I have no doubt that you loved her post on how to save money by buying furniture in thrift stores. 

The thrifting gals all live in different areas of the country, but they share a love for vintage, repurposed, and thrifted decor, like me.

Be sure to check out all of these gals and their beautiful blogs at the end of this post.

Why Thrift for Garden Treasures

Thrifting for garden decor is a sustainable, creative, and affordable way to enhance your outdoor space. It’s a treasure hunt that allows you to find unique items, each with its own history and story, adding a personal touch to your garden. The satisfaction of repurposing and upcycling old items makes thrifting a fun and rewarding activity, saving you money compared to buying new ones.

Thrifting tip from wendy:

Do not limit yourself to thrift stores, try shopping estate sales, yard sales, flea markets and junk shops.

Repurposed Containers for Your Garden


This old cement Fraser sink was a great find. It was hidden deep in the garage at an estate sale. There were no tags on the sink, but I asked, and they gave it to me for $50. It certainly was a bargain, but quite a job to get it out and into my garden as it weighs close to 500 lbs. But as the old saying goes, “If there is a will, there is a way.”

A vintage sink in the garden filled with impatience.
Baskets with greenery hanging around the shed doors.


I adore baskets of all kinds! They can be used to decorate your garden in creative ways, like the beautiful arch I created outside my shed, or even as unique planters. You can add faux greenery for a low-maintenance touch or place real plants in pots inside the baskets, making it easy to remove them for watering.

How to decorate with plants Vintage basket on the kitchen counter filed with plants

Metal Buckets or Pails

Old metal pails make great planters. Drill a few holes in the bottom and add some rocks for drainage before planting. Don’t overlook the painted metal pails; if they are the wrong color, you can always strip the paint or paint them a new color.

Vintage metal buckets at an open flea market.
A vintage sifter planted with succulents.

Vintage Teapots and Kitchen Items

Years ago, I hosted a succulent bar at a vintage pop-up shop, and I planted succulents in many different types of teapots, coffee makers, strainers, sifters, and more. The kitchen of an estate sale is a great place to find an excellent container vessel for your garden. Remember that you need drainage, so holes are necessary.

Old Wheel Barrows

Last year, I found many types of wheelbarrows. This darling wood wheelbarrow sits on my front porch or in the garden during the summer. I display flower pots in this wheelbarrow so I can remove them to water so I do not destroy the wheel barrel. You will need to add a drainage hole to allow for water to drain. Drill a few holes in the bottom of your wheelbarrow, then add some gravel, soil and some beautiful plants. Of course, the metal holds up much better in the elements.

A wooden vintage wheelbarrow filled with terra cotta pots and springtime flowers.
An old metal wheelbarrow filled with pink geraniums and blue lobelia.

Old Bicycles

Vintage bicycles are so charming. If you can find one, lean the bike against a tree and add a few flowers to a basket. 

pink vintage bike of living large in a small house

Vintage Metal Chairs-

Look for old metal chairs; they are perfect for planting. Their sturdy construction can withstand the elements, and their vintage designs add a unique touch to your garden.

Planted painted tires in the garden.
I am finishing up planing my chair planter for the garden.

Old Tires

I have not tried this myself, but I have seen many others try it. You can paint them bright colors to add some charm to your garden. 

Thrifting tip from wendy:

Visit your local thrift stores on a regular basis as they are always getting new merchandise, and the turnover is fast.

Small Bird Baths or Fountains

Look for old cement bird baths that you can fill with soil and plants. They add great height and texture to your garden. 

Vintage Wood Dough Bowls

I adore a good dough bowl, and they make the perfect vessel for an outdoor centerpiece. 

An old water fountain filled with plants.
Wild flowers in a dough bowl that was thrifted.
Thrifting tip from wendy:

If you are looking for garden treasures, when you go to estate sales, look in the garage and outdoors first. Be sure to open cabinets and look inside of boxes.

Thrifty Finds to Use as a Garden Trellis  

I love finding unique and affordable items to use as trellises in my garden. I’ve picked up old wooden ladders, cow panels, and metal headboards. 

These thrifted vintage finds serve as functional trellises and add a lot of character to my garden.

Tip from wendy’s garden:

write your tip here.

Garden Tools- Head for The Garage

I adore the charm of vintage garden tools, both large and small. The colorful handles, hand-held clippers, and uniquely shaped trowels add a delightful touch to my collection. I make a beeline for the garage or shed whenever I’m out thrifting, especially at estate sales. These spots are treasure troves for garden finds, often at great prices. Be sure to dig around and open boxes—you never know what gems you might uncover.

I love displaying these vintage tools in my house and shed. Large shovels, rakes, dustpans, and other garden tools have found new life as creative planters. Additionally, I’ve crafted the cutest outdoor clock using an assortment of these thrifted treasures.

I also have quite a collection of galvanized watering cans. I use them for vases, display them on shelves, and use them in the garden. 

watering can used as a flower vase

Decorative Elements for the Garden 

You’d be amazed at the vintage treasures in thrift shops. Keep your eyes wide open and be sure to walk down every aisle.

Look for cement statues, topiaries, birdhouses, birdbaths, wind chimes, lanterns, and anything else that catches your eye and can withstand the elements. These items can add charm and character to your garden.

I’ve found some great pieces that now live in my garden and contribute so much to its unique character.

Tip from wendy’s garden:

Embrace the rusty charm of old metal pieces, they will love living in your garden and will add so much charm.

Garden Furniture and Fixtures

Every garden needs a potting bench or something similar. Even an old dining room table can be converted into a fun and functional potting station.

She shed potting bench

If you come across old wooden doors, consider using them to build a small shed or a unique bench.

Keep an eye out for interesting light fixtures that could be used outdoors, or old metal gardening baskets that can be transformed into light fixtures, just like I have done.

Garden bench made out of old doors and windows.
Outdoor table set for fall. Showcasing the hanging garden baskets that are used to make light fixtures..

On my covered back porch, I found an old card catalog that fits perfectly into my decor, adding both charm and practicality.

Look for vintage pieces like this table and chairs that I found at a junk shop for thirty dollars. 

Vintage garden tools decorate a chest sitting in the California room off of the kitchen.
Garden table and four chairs that were thrifted.


Wrapping Up

As you can see thrifting for garden treasures is a delightful adventure that adds character and charm to your outdoor space. Next time you visit a thrift store, keep an eye out for hidden gems that make your garden one-of-a-kind.

Next up on our hop is my dear friend Robyn @robynsfrenchnest, be sure to visit her blog today to see what beautiful glass cloches she has found and how she styled them.

Happy thrifting!


Other Gardening Posts from WM Design House

Planted chairs in the garden

How to Make A DIY Vintage Chair Planter for the Garden

Get creative in the garden this year and plant an old chair

Showing a finished shovel that is planted with succulents and leaning against a chippy wall.

How to Repurpose Old Tools into Succulent Planters

Learn how to turn old garden tools into the most beautiful planters

Check it out
Garden Sphere of lights

How to Make Lighted Garden Spheres Out of Hula Hoops

Create beautiful lighted garden art out of hula hoops.

More about me!


Hello, I’m Wendy – a dedicated homemaker with a deep passion for decorating, gardening, cooking, and crafting. I find joy in harmonizing beautiful elements to fashion a space that is both comfortable and inspiring. I will help you create a beautiful home, one project at a time.

Connect with Wendy

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  1. That was a steal for the sink! My goodness, what a find. As I was showing my mom an old sink similar to yours, she told me that my father in their younger years broke up the old soapstone sink that was in their basement to remove it, I nearly choked… I said why on earth would you let him do that? Oh the things I wish I had now that he removed from their home… you were so lucky to find such a beautiful piece. Your gardens sure are an inspiration. You know I struggle to grow anything, so I am working on a rock garden now, lol! I give up, so I am going with my strength, things that do not need me to keep them alive, doesn’t get any easier than rocks. Enjoy your week!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Cara. Yes, the sink was quite the find. I’m so glad I came across it. I’ve had my share of gardening fails. It is an adventure, but I really enjoy it!

  2. So many beautiful ideas Wendy, lovely inspiration.
    I had a cute galvanised metal watering can that I planted up a few years ago that looked lovely but sadly it rusted right through so one day when I picked it up the tops and sides came away leaving the base and a column of soil and plants behind! I must keep my eyes open for a replacement.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Oh, no! I’m sorry to hear that Julie. I hope you can find another one soon. I usually have good luck at thrift stores around here. Good luck on your hunt!

  3. So many great gardening finds! My favorites are your garden entrance arbor and the pink bicycle! Thanks for sharing all of your amazing finds!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thanks Missy. I love thrifting. It’s always an adventure and so fun to find new treasures.

  4. Your gardening ideas are sooo fun! My plans for gardening seem to always stay just that–plans! But when I do create my dream garden, your post is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Robyn. Your home is so beautiful. I have no doubt that when you crate a garden some day it will be just as gorgeous.

  5. Loved seeing you amazing thrifted finds worked into your gardens, Wendy; such a treat! The garden tool clock and your basket arch have always been my favorites. Yes, there’s no better combo than crusty vintage and foliage:) Thanks for joining in the fun today!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thanks so much Lora. Happy I could join the fun as well!

  6. Wendy , Love your Shed and gardens. $30 for your table and chairs!!!! Be still my soul!!! Great find. I’m watching for one at a local auction. Found 2 chairs and a small table for $15. It was rusty and everyone ran from it! Not me! A wire brush and several cans of spray paint later and we are enjoying it.

    1. Thank you Barb… there is nothing more gratifying then finding a great piece where you can see the potential. Spray paint can fixso many problems. I hope you find the larger table you are looking for soon. I know that the prices at estate sales and thrift stores have really gone up.

  7. Wendy
    I love vintage garden finds and you have an amazing collection. I love all your repurposed ideas as well. The clock has always been a favorite. So glad you joined us this month.

    1. Thank you, Rachel; I was so honored to join you ladies this month.

  8. Wendy, I love your new picket fence easel! Very creative! Great post! Thank you for sharing your creative ideas!

    1. Thank you so much Jan. I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead.

    1. Thank you, Rachel; I do have a thing for anything galvanized. There is something so charming about it.

  9. Wendy, what a beautiful post today. That clock with the vintage garden tools always gets me, I just love it so much. Thanks for joining us today so glad to have you along!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you, Ann. Happy to join!

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