Love rusty garden art? These ideas come from home gardens where the gardeners are clearly on Team Rust.
Rust in the Garden
Definition of Rust
- a reddish- or yellowish-brown flaky coating of iron oxide that is formed on iron or steel by oxidation, especially in the presence of moisture.
- synonyms: corrosion, oxidation
What is it about oxidized iron that makes it look so perfect in the garden?
I’m sure garden art started many years ago by circumstance. Long before there were landfills and we could send unwanted or too-far-gone items “away”, they were stashed in the yard, left to deteriorate over time.
But, of course, there have always been creative people with artistic impulses, and it would be rather irresistible not to turn that old metal bed frame and a bunch of rusted tools into some fabulous creature or ornamental statue for vines to grab onto. If it’s going to be there anyways, might as well make it spectacular.
Today, most metal garden junk is welded (something I wish I could do), but no matter how you make it or get it, it’s clear the love of rust lives on.
I’ve gathered some favorites from my garden and garden tours.
Want to buy some? I get lots of emails asking where to buy these items. If I know a source, I always list it by the image. Otherwise, it’s just something I saw on a garden tour and do not know the source.
Rusty Garden Art Ideas
1 Classic Garden Orb
Here’s a different rusty woodpecker on Amazon:
3 Metal Bee Skep
This one is in my garden. The bee is from a golf ball craft project. You can find the instructions here: DIY Golf Ball Garden Buggies.
4 Rusty Flower
5 Bike Parking
6 Rusty Welcome Sign
Not a great pic, but it’s a sweet piece.
7 Rusty Mermaid
8 Rusty Fish
I love this fish. He’s perfect over the dry pond. the garden art cattails are sweet too.
9 Rusty Wheel
10 Rusty Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces
11 Bed Time
Yes, brass does not rust, but it does get a good patina over time.
12 Shovel Bird
13 Rusty Shelf, Birdhouse, and Hardware
This display of rustic items was on a garden tour I attended several years ago. Love the hardware and tool box!
14 Rusty Garden Bells
I remember a version of these being popular for front doors years ago. This one is on a garden stake.
15 Bike Gear Trellis
16 Rusty Garden Birds
A new garden art piece that has rusty very nicely indeed.
17 Licence Plates and Old Tools
This is a scene from the same garden where I saw a fun ‘Hairy Potter’ potting bench, where Harry was apparently a mad scientist. It’s one of my favorite junk gardens ever. The artist is off-the-charts creative.
Are you on Team Rust or Team Paint?
I love a rusty patina, but I do paint when the lifespan of the item is in jeopardy. I painted this coal burner and use it as a waterfall by my little garden pond.
18 Rusty Garden Bird
Another contemporary garden art bird. I’d love to display one in a barbwire nest.
19 Rusty Old Copper Kettle
This kettle has been in my family for years. If you love old watering cans, also see Watering Can Garden Art.
20 Rusty Garden Orb
This one was also on a garden tour. I love the simplicity of it.
21 Rusty Old Tools
Trust me when I say you will probably never see a larger display of old tools! I’ll show the whole thing in an upcoming post. There must be 2000 tools on this shed wall.
22 Metal Garden Art Dog
This crazy looking guy is outside a junk/antique shop called McRatterson’s Collectables and Antiques at Kinmore, Ontario. The whole garden has some very clever junk ideas.
23 Garden Junk Pipe Men
These are made from old tin / metal pipes. They’re super simple but so cute.
24 Welded Tool Art
These are so fun. I love the creative minds that see old tools and metal junk and see what they can be transformed into.
You can see more details here: Garden Art Made From Old Tools
25 Vintage Wheel Garden Bench
26 Rusty Knight
27 Rusty Urn
Plant Ideas: This one is packed with plants including some bulbs (the green leaves), flowers (supertunias or similar), and ivy to spill over the sides. I also see some purple leaves (Tradescantia pallida, perhaps) for contrasting colors.
28 Rusty Sap Buckets
These are in my garden:
29 Rusty Pinecone
I really love this one. It fits my obsession with spirals in nature.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the world of rust in the garden.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛