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Landscape Design

Decorating with Garden Antiques

Five garden elements that capture attention and add style to your yard

When you purchase an antique garden ornament for your landscape, you're really buying a story, an experience. This is how you add drama to your garden space—and become the envy of all your garden-geek friends.

Antique garden elements add charm and class to a garden, and a sense of permanence. They grab a visitor's attention and draw them into your space, begging the question, "Where on earth did you get this magnificent piece?"

This is where the fun begins. Now you can share the unique back-story: I found this at an 18th-century estate I visited while in France and yada yada..." And, if you don't have a cool story, you can simply make one up!

Now, for your inspiration, I give you the finest in garden antiques...

Planters and Urns:

Ornate Urns Urns sitting atop a pedestal make for an ideal focal point in a garden. A matching pair can flank and mark the entrance to a walkway or garden room. Here, ornate English urns sit on vermiculated plinths from Detroit Garden Works

Old Stone Troughs Old stone troughs with flowers spilling over the edge work well on a sunny patio or along a shady path planted with ferns and mosses. This photo shows a 19th century stone trough from Hungary, from Trellis & Trugs

Antique Planter Boxes Antique planter boxes of wood, stone, or lead, as shown here, come in a variety of sizes. This antique lead cistern and lead planter box are on display at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Garden Structures:

Antique Iron Gates Antique iron gates and other metal work add structure, unique patterns, and charm to any garden setting, whether being used for a purpose or simply leaning against a stone wall as is this French deco-style gate detail, from Detroit Garden Works

Cast Iron Gazebos Antique cast iron gazebos make a statement in any garden, as do pergolas built of reclaimed lumber. Here is an acid washed steel pergola with graceful scrolled brackets and orb finials from Detroit Garden Works

Old Greenhouse If you have the garden space (and the $$$) why not just reconstruct an old greenhouse, conservatory or orangerie, such as this classically-styled orangerie built of cast stone from Haddonstone


Multi-tiered Fountains Multi-tiered fountains, such as this antique French cast iron triple-tier fountain with basin from Detroit Garden Works, make for an impressive centerpiece in a garden.

Centerpiece Fountains Cast stone pool surrounds with a centerpiece fountain exude class and a touch of whimsy, such as this one from Haddonstone.

Wall Fountain Dress up a plain Jane wall with an antique lead wall fountain like the one shown here in the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Garden Ornaments:

Antique Olive Jars Once predominantly used to store olive oil in countries such as Italy, Spain, and Turkey, antique olive jars now serve as unique elements in a garden setting such as this one in the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Antique Statuaries Large or small, antique statuary adds a bit of drama to any garden. This photo shows an English composite stone figure of a boy holding a rabbit, from Detroit Garden Works.

Antique Sundials Antique sundials make for a great centerpiece as the focal point in a classic knot garden or contemporary herb garden. This antique English limestone sundial is from Detroit Garden Works.

Garden Furniture:

Antique Wood Bench To truly experience a garden, you must create destinations within your space. What better destination than an antique wood bench at the end of a path, such as this English park bench from Detroit Garden Works.

Stone Benches Simple stone benches, like this antique English Edward Holloway stone garden bench from Detroit Garden Works make for a relaxed seat in the shade—and a perfect home for moss and lichens.

Antique Table & Chairs Afternoon tea and cake with your garden friends? An antique table and chairs makes for a perfect setting, as seen with this Woodard bistro chairs and antique iron table courtesy of

Contributing Author:

Chris Heiler, contributing writer for Landscaping Network and president of Landscape Leadership

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