Today we’re going simple, dialing down the DIY and grabbing some fast garden art ideas. Come see what you can do with little or no effort, making use of stuff you may already have.
For tutorials, also see Garden Art Project Tip Sheets.
Thrifty Garden Art
There is a trap that many of us fall into when we’re brand new to gardening: we think we have to buy everything we need to get started. And we want it now!
And, while it’s probably very likely that many items will come from shops, there are all sorts of cheap or free ways to move things along faster.
Many of us know the magic of thrift shops, yard sales, and curbside finds for furnishing a home, but what about using them to create a whimsical, one-of-a-kind garden?
12 Super Simple Garden Art Ideas for Your Garden
1 Chandelier Oriole Feeder
I got this chandelier at a yard sale ages ago and could never quite figure out what to do with it.
The answer came the other day when the Baltimore orioles and hummingbirds were competing at their sugar water feeders.
I hung the chandelier from the arbor and added fresh oranges on the light bulb holders.
The orioles were delighted and immediately took over the orange feeders. The hummingbirds were happy to get rid of the orioles and resume fighting amongst themselves for food.
Apparently there is an unwritten rule that orioles will only do cool things if you step outside without your camera, so I haven’t been able to get a photo of them at the chandelier but I did manage to get this guy at the other bird feeder using a zoom lens (hence the blur).
On a safety note, any fresh fruit should be removed before it begins to mold, rot, ferment, or become otherwise gross. You don’t ever want to put something out that could make the birds ill.
2 Trash Finds
This next vignette is brought to you by trash day. While I do not condone hoarding, it is rather astonishing what one can find on the curb on trash day. And my only words of wisdom are, you snooze, you lose. There’s no coming back in a couple of hours to get it. You see something cool, you move heaven and earth to get it home a.s.a.p. because, if you don’t, someone else will.
Here I have a strange wooden chair, a white metal plant stand that is sort of falling apart, a fabulous old metal cauldron, and a metal tire rim.
The moral of the story is, seize the moment and use what you have. If nothing else, it will create interest and be unique.
3. Dish Art
When I planted these lobelias, I knew it would be weeks before they were big and overflowing the planter. Old dishes to the rescue!
Pick a style or colour theme and display what you have. Use anything that’s not precious and can withstand the weather.
I also like dishes for fence art.
4 Drawer Knob Hose Guards
All those poor, unwanted kitchen drawer knobs and handles from the 1970s are waiting for you to give them a second life.
I made use of the shape and design of these ones to create rosebud hose guards.
Hose guards are very useful around the garden. Place them strategically to prevent garden hose from crushing plants as you pull it along.
5. Show Off Retired Tools
This idea has been around forever—which, for emphasis, should be pronounced FOE-EV-AH.
Any old garden or building tools made of wood and metal are pretty much guaranteed to make delightful garden art. Stack them together to form trellises. Hang a bunch on a garden gate. Or arrange them on wall.
Ta-da! Classic garden art.
This display is from the garden of a wonderful folk-art artist.
6. When Life Gives You a Wall, Add a Window
Old wooden window frames are irresistible for all sorts of projects. If they are still quite sturdy, a mini greenhouse is one option. If they are rickety, a faux fence window may be the perfect choice.
7. Paint a Ladder
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who want old wood and metal left as it is. And those who like them painted. Fortunately, the choice is yours.
Here I painted an old ladder to create a focal point in one of my garden beds.
After much indecision, I opted to use bold colors throughout my garden.
8. Give Your Flowers the Boot
It is tragic when good gumboots split beyond repair. But there is some solace to be found by turning them into quirky planters.
9 Simple Classic Beauty
Clay or terracotta pots are a quintessential, romantic garden accessory. Sometimes it’s the simplest display that has the greatest effect.
I love these tarnished pots and saucers are arranged in a row, complete with white geraniums.
These flower pots are from a garden tour I attended years ago. The gardener had lovely, country-garden style.
10. Go Zen
A surplus of rocks and a shady spot where nothing much grows are all you need for a spiral rock zen garden.
11. Natural Selections
If you garden organically and let nature have the upper hand in your garden, the most beautiful accessories of all will move in.
Having frogs settle in my pond tells me I’m doing something right.
My little garden pond is home to lots of frogs and toads these days. And it provides water for all sorts of wildlife including birds, bees, dragonflies, and butterflies.
If you would like a little pond, here’s advice for getting started.
12. Plant a Chair
Old wooden chairs—painted or plain—make fabulous planters for succulents and annuals. Be sure (of course) that yours does not have lead-based paint.
Love the chair idea? Here’s a gallery of more garden art chair ideas.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛