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Reuse and Recycle With Your Vintage Garden!

Decorate your garden with things you have!

Decorate your garden with things you have!

Why vintage gardens?

In my part of Europe, a new type of garden is on the rise—a vintage garden! Also known as shabby chic, a vintage garden can be created in many different ways, but it should focus on reuse and quality, and not so much on consummation.

A vintage garden isn’t supposed to be perfect or even well organized. It should be a place where people can socialize, and relax. It should reflect creativity, personality, and harmony. There should be no room for stress or “must-do's”.

A vintage garden is about preserving the old and beautiful, while also a way of creating another way of life.

New Ways of Seeing Old Things

I will give you some examples of things that can be used to create a vintage garden. But remember, these are only suggestions. The point is to use things you have lying around. Try to see new ways to use those old things, remake old things, and combine items in fresh and exciting new ways.

You don’t have to turn the whole garden into a vintage display—again, it's all up to you. Maybe you'd rather have one area of vintage focus.

Use different material to sit on!

Use different material to sit on!

Make sure there are many places where you can sit down in your garden!

Make sure there are many places where you can sit down in your garden!

How Is a Vintage Garden Structured?

A vintage garden is best described as a delightful chaotic profusion! It isn’t supposed to look contrived and it is alright to have plants for food production mixed with flowers. Other important features are paths and borders, fruit trees, and of course, many places to sit down or for relaxation. The key is to make the garden look like it is a garden that is being used and not only for the eye.

Since a vintage garden is supposed to look nostalgic, it is best to divide the garden into smaller "rooms". That will create a feeling of shelter and privacy but also prevent the space from looking too "messy". You divide the garden to smaller rooms by making it a little like a cottage garden with hedges around, which will also give shelter from the wind.

Borders, Edges, and Walls

As said before, hedges are important in order to create that vintage feeling. As hedge plants, you can of course use the one you prefer, but for a vintage feeling it should be a hedge that is easy to multiply or that shoots suckers, and, most important, thrives where you live. Where I live, this means lilac hedges or old shrub roses in seasonal areas. Old rose bushes can be planted here and there in mixed borders. As you might have guessed, hedges that need constant care and pruning are not the best choice.

Other types of edges that can be used are paths that can consist of gravel, grass, or stone flat rocks paths. If you use rock or stone, choose something that can be found in your area instead of bringing in some texture that doesn’t fit in the natural environment where you live. You can also mix materials in pathways; in fact, it can be very effective with a mix of stones, gravel, and slabs in matching tones.

Another type of border is the low-growing plants that can be used at the front of the beds or beside paths. You can use them as informal ribbons at the edge of small borders or let them be tucked down here and there in a more unstructured pattern.

Use walls that already exist in your garden, or if you must make new ones, make sure they have a purpose and don’t pop out in an unnatural way from the ground in the middle of nowhere. If you make a new wall of any kind, surround the wall with flowers, climbers or make use of the wall for shelves, pots, or other things for decoration.

More for the eye than for a nap! From an exhibition in Sweden, Drottningholms castle.

More for the eye than for a nap! From an exhibition in Sweden, Drottningholms castle.

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Places for Relaxation

Use furniture from inside that you don't want anymore. It can be old beds, preferably made with an iron frame. That will lock just right in a vintage garden. As garden furniture, use the old wooden chairs and wooden sofa from inside the house. They might not stand in a hundred years but they will last longer than you think. And make sure to plan more than one area where you can sit down for a while. A vintage garden is supposed to be a garden where you can walk around, pick some flowers, sit down and look at the flowers, socialize with your family and friends, lay down and look at the clouds, or even take a nap!

Astrantia Major!

Astrantia Major!

Vintage Perennials

Vintage in the garden should be the same as quality, and there are many perennials that meet these criteria. Look for perennials that are hardy, easy to care for, and even self-sowing. Some great examples and some of my personal favorites are Columbine, Astrantia major, Peony, Bridal Veil, Larkspur, Lavendula, and Clematis. There should be perennials that flower so you can go out and pick a bouquet. The flower beds should be small or big, free-standing, and not look so pruned or chastened. Let the plants stand where they want and they will thrive.

Use old jars as vases!

Use old jars as vases!

Use an old aquarium and decorate it with the things you like!

Use an old aquarium and decorate it with the things you like!

Other Things That Will Make a Vintage Garden

  • Use water jugs in zinc or other old watering cans, use old coffee cans and jars as vases, use gadgets that are worn and are painted in many layers. If all layers are visible, the better! Make small organized areas with selected objects and flowers as art here and there in the garden. Have bouquets outdoors, and let old tools with history become part of the décor.
  • If you don't have the desired items yourself, pay a visit to a car boot sale or maybe you know someone who would be glad to get rid of old stuff in their houses. There is no ending to what can be used in a vintage garden. If one starts to look at things with new eyes, almost anything can be used!
  • An aquarium can be transformed into an exhibition spot where you put precious things or just things you like for the moment. Next week you can swap the items in the aquarium and you get a totally different appearance.
  • Use old trolleys, bicycles, shelves, tables: Everything can be of use, the only thing that can restrict your creativity is your imagination limits!
You can use almost anything for planting! This is one part of an antique potato peeler!

You can use almost anything for planting! This is one part of an antique potato peeler!

© 2011 Christina Lornemark

Comments

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 09, 2014:

Thank you starstream for the encouraging comment. A vintage garden is so fun to create and almost everything can be used.

Tina

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on March 01, 2014:

I loved reading your article! It communicates the creativity and atmosphere of a vintage garden. I collect vintage and enjoy writing about it here too. Now, I must find a way to acquire a garden space to decorate and enjoy this special idea.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on February 17, 2013:

Hi Snurre, Oh, I wish you much fun with your summer project! It sounds as if you have plenty of good vintage material to work with:) I appreciate your visit here!

Tina

Snurre on January 29, 2013:

I really like the idea of a vintage garden. Sounds like a project for summer 2013 - turning my overgrown garden full of my dad's junk into a designer vintage garden with quaint old things!

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on November 04, 2012:

Hi Eiddwen, I am so glad to know that you liked this one, and I hope you can make use of some ideas somewhere in your own garden. From the photos I have seen from your garden I know it looks fabulous already! It is always great to see you Eiddwen and I value your comment!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on November 04, 2012:

Edgar Alan Cole, that sounds great and I hope you have fun while you transform your garden! Thank you for reading and for the comment!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on November 04, 2012:

Hi CrisSp, a mini-rock garden sounds like a good idea and I can imagine it look great. Perhaps you have some space left in your garden where you could have a smaller vintage garden, if so, you can have both! Thank you very much for your kind words, and for the votes, I appreciate it and it feels good to know you liked this hub and got some inspiration from it.

Tina

Eiddwen from Wales on October 30, 2012:

What a wonderful hub and thank you so much for sharing . Eddy.

Edgar Alan Cole on October 22, 2012:

I love this hub. It gave me ideas on how to turn my back yard into a paradise of relaxation. Thank you for sharing.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 21, 2012:

Love all the ideas in here, I love all vintage and shabby chic stuff and this is just wonderful. Happy to have landed on this hub. I should have seen this last summer when I was looking for some inspiration to do our garden. We ended up doing a mini-rock garden and I do like it too. I think rock-garden is neat and easy to maintain. But this vintage garden is beautiful.

I enjoyed reading this. Voted up, beautiful and interesting and will absolutely be sharing for those who have missed it.

Thanks.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on May 19, 2012:

Hi justmesuzanne! Yes, a vintage garden is a perfect solution in some gardens and it is so fun to create this style. I love the idea mostly because I can use old things in a new way, and it is also a great way to make your garden personal. I hope you will enjoy your vintage garden and have fun while you transform your garden. I know it will be awesome! Thank you so much for the comment and the votes!

Tina

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 17, 2012:

What fabulous ideas! I must bookmark this and refer to it often. This is the perfect concept for my shamble-down house and yard! Voted up and awesome! :)

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on May 09, 2012:

Hi mizjo, That is a great description of a vintage garden! Even though a vintage garden can be almost everything, depending on the gardener, the name vintage garden really give me that picture too. Recycled things and the typical cottage roses and shrubs. I have seen the vintage gardens in England on TV and they look so wonderful and I would love to see them in real sometime. Thanks for this lovely comment, I appreciate it!

Tina

mizjo from New York City, NY on May 07, 2012:

A vintage garden - the very name conjures up graceful old Victorian ladies having tea in some shady rambling rose arbor. Clumps of hollyhock by the brick wall of the house, a few strawberry beds, a couple of vintage apple trees inside the old swinging wooden garden gate. Recycled chamber pots holding miniature roses, and hodge podge beds of pelargoniums and Michaelmas daisies and some camellia bushes. That's my idea of a vintage haven. I think the best vintage gardens are in England. They are so cleverly uncontrived. Thank you for your lovely hub, Tina. I would love to visit one of your vintage gardens in Sweden next time I'm over that way.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 22, 2012:

Hi Made and thank you for the uplifting comment! It is so inspiring to start with a garden project and once you have finished one part the inspiration to do the rest will follow! Thanks for the votes too!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 22, 2012:

Hi Shawn May Scott! It is so nice to meet you here! Oh, you have so many opportunities with a huge garden and I am sure you will create a wonderful vintage area somewhere in it. I wish you a great time creating your vintage garden! Thanks for this encouraging comment, I appreciate it,

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 22, 2012:

Hi msorensson and thanks for this wonderful comment! I am so glad you liked this!

tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 22, 2012:

Hi Ruchira! We can all do something to recycle and reuse and the garden is a great place to use old things! Thanks Ruchira for reading and for sharing, and for the support!

Tina

Madeleine Salin from Finland on April 21, 2012:

I think I want to have a vintage garden! We have hardly anything in our garden yet and this hub gave me many good ideas. Thank you! Voting up, awesome, beautiful and interesting. Tina, you rock! :)

Shawn May Scott on April 20, 2012:

Wow!!! I love this idea. I have a hugh garden. Cannot wait to get started!!!

msorensson on April 20, 2012:

Wow.. I love the concept..Thank you for sharing..

Ruchira from United States on April 20, 2012:

with earth day coming...such a fitted hub. I would like to share it across for people to get ideas on respecting our mother nature.

Beautiful hub with great ideas, Tina.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 08, 2012:

Hi celebritie! I hope you can use some of these ideas! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 08, 2012:

Hi LaBrashear! Wow, your garden sounds like a wonderful vintage garden! And such creative ideas! It sounds as if you have made the most of the items you have found. It is great to be able to use old thing that others had thrown away in a new way, and personally I think all old things look great in the garden. It is something about the vital growth from nature which goes so well as a contrast to all the old and used things that makes it beautiful. Thanks for all the creative ideas and for the votes and for sharing!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 08, 2012:

Hi hectordang, and thank you for the comment! I am so glad to know that you liked this article! Thanks!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 08, 2012:

Hi Billy! Thank you for the positive and encouraging comment! It is great to know that others likes these ideas and I hope Bev will like them too! Good luck with your new garden, it is so fun to plan a new garden.

I always appreciate a visit from you! Thanks

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 08, 2012:

Hi MovieM! I am so happy to share some ideas with you and I know you will have a wonderful vintage garden. This type of garden is very suitable to old houses! Thank you for reading, the votes and the positive comment! I hope you have a great weekend!

Best wishes

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 06, 2012:

Hi Emma Harvey, I am so pleased to meet you here! I know that you will create a fantastic vintage garden that suits you and your family! There are so many ways to create a vintage garden and we all have our personal style so use the things you like!

Thanks for reading and for the positive comment!

Tina

Hi susanm23b! I am so glad to know that you liked this hub and I would love to see how it turns out in your garden! A perfect garden can be very beautiful too but I prefer the vintage style and it suits my life right now! Thanks for the votes and for the comment. I appreciate it!

Tina

Hi mary615, Wow, a vintage garden would look great to an old house but we must adjust to the weather conditions where we live. It sounds like a real challenge to be a gardener where you live and it means that you will have to be very creative. I am glad if you found some ideas from this hub, to share ideas with each other is one of the big benefits with hubpages. I also live in an old house and love the special atmosphere in old houses. I have been thinking of writing about my house too, so it would be interesting to read your hub! I will look for your hub as soon as I get a chance! Thanks for the votes, I value your opinion!

Tina

celebritie on April 05, 2012:

I like these vintage garden ideas, especially with recycling items.

LABrashear from My Perfect Place, USA on April 05, 2012:

This only helped fuel my desire to be outside gardening. I am passionate about my garden and love vintage. A couple of years ago we changed around some of our beds. We live in the country and have many irrigation ditches around. We found lots of old bricks - some broken, some not - and some old metal dining room chairs dumped in one of the ditches. We hauled them back, made bed borders from the bricks...I have the center circles pointing up and grow moss rose in them as an addition to the border. As for the chairs, the seats were already out, so it was just the frames. In one, I put a really deep pot and grow patio tomatoes in it. The other I put in a garden bed and use it as a "tomato cage" and let morning glories grow around the sides of it. I love turning trash into useful art! Voted up and shared.

hectordang from New York on April 05, 2012:

I like the vintage garden. The pictures look amazing!

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 05, 2012:

Hi Rusticliving! Spring is really the best season of the year, but I am sorry to say that spring this year in Sweden is very cold! I hope it will change though, because I want to get out there too:)) I hope you can use some of the ideas and thanks for the votes and for sharing! Hugs and Happy gardening season!

Tina

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 05, 2012:

Wow! Look at all the comments! Great hub with some wonderful ideas. I'm giving this to Bev so maybe we can incorporate these ideas into our new garden plans.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on April 05, 2012:

I love a vintage garden, we live in an old property so this sort of garden is very fitting!

You have some wonderful inspiring ideas here, thank you I have enjoyed reading and voted up.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 05, 2012:

This is the kind of garden I would love to have. I live in a house that is truly vintage: 100 yrs. old (I wrote a Hub about my old house), and a garden like this would be perfect. We have so much rain here in S. Fl not to mention the hot sun, so many of the things you mention would just rot away shortly. I'm going to use some of your ideas, though. I voted this UP, etc.

susanm23b on April 05, 2012:

I really love this! Your garden ideas create areas that look like they have evolved and been loved over time. Beautiful! Everything doesn't have to be so "perfect"--it should be what WE like. Your hub has inspired me. Voted up! Beautiful :)

Emma Kisby from Berkshire, UK on April 05, 2012:

Beautiful - I am totally inspired! I would love to vamp up my garden in this way. I love the vintage style and these ideas are truly amazing.

Liz Rayen from California on April 04, 2012:

Tina... what a GREAT hub! I love anything vintage, especially gardens! Beautiful pictures and wonderful ideas! I'm excited that spring is here so I can get out and get my hands dirty! lol :) Voted up and shared! Lisa

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 28, 2012:

Hi Victoria, I know what you mean and I am the same:) Straight lines in a garden must be accompanied by some curved lines or some chaos, otherwise I don't enjoy being there. I hope you got some inspiration from this and the best thing is that a vintage garden will look fantastic, even if it isn't so well polished and well managed. It is a blessing for anyone with limited time. Thanks for reading, sharing and for the comment! I appreciate it!

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 28, 2012:

NotTooTall, That sounds great, old roof gutters with some patina will be so useful and look fantastic in the garden! I have not thought about using them, but I will think about it next time I see one! I know it will be great for seeds and flowers. Thanks for reading and for sharing your great idea!

Tina

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 27, 2012:

I love this! I love vintage and shabby chic and a little bit of chaos. I don't like streamlined order in yards, gardens, or houses. This is perfect for my back yard--as soon as I have more time to think about it! Voted up among many others. Sharing!

NotTooTall from The Land of Pleasant Living on March 27, 2012:

Hi thoughtforce,

I really enjoyed your Hub. It is fun to reinvent new uses for unusual items, and incorporate them into a garden.

I just found some old roof gutters that I'm thinking of using to sow some seeds in this May.

Thank you for an inspiring Hub!

N T T

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on March 12, 2012:

Hi Jamie, Thank you so much for the positive and generous comment! I love the aquarium too and look forward to take it out on the patio every summer! I am glad you like this!

Tina

Jamie Brock from Texas on March 10, 2012:

Tina, this is another great hub... with lots of great tips and beautiful photos! I LOVE the old aquarium with the rocks and plants in it. I love to repurpose and reuse things too. Voted up!

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on February 23, 2012:

Hi sgbrown, It is great to meet another vintage gardener! Old watering cans and a broken pot with flowers is so beautiful and can be put almost everywhere. And it really sets the right feeling! Thank you so much for the comment and for the votes and I will take a look at your blog,

Tina

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on February 23, 2012:

Hi Viking! Thanks for the positive comment and I am glad to share my ideas! It is so easy to spend big amounts of money on the garden, but it isn't necessary to buy everything new. Many of us have many old things that need a new life and a new use. I appreciate the votes and all!

Tina

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 22, 2012:

I love this hub! I guess you could say I have a vintage garden...I love to use things that I find in my garden. I use old watering cans and even broken pots. I will lay the pot down on the broken side and it looks like the flowers are spilling out into the garden. You have some great ideas here. Voted up and awesome! Going to put this one on my blog! :)

L M Reid from Ireland on February 22, 2012:

What a great article about creating a vintage garden. I love the ideas and the photos.

Thanks for SHARING. Up and awesome

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on February 16, 2012:

yellow2mato, 10x10 is small but I am sure you can get the vintage feeling anyway! I often start in a small area and extend from there and if you only have a small area you can try to then change small things in that area until you are happy with it. Use old things that you like, and if you like romantic things you can add some of those. Thanks for the comment and I hope you try it even if your yard is small,

Tina

yellow2mato from Texas on February 15, 2012:

My yard is too small, but I'd love to try something like this. My garden is only 10x10'. Thanks for sharing this.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on January 29, 2012:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals, I am glad to hear you got some inspiration from this hub and I know you will create a fantastic vintage garden! Just use things that you like, start in a small area and take it from there! Thanks for your comment and for pressing the buttons! I appreciate it,

Tina

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on January 28, 2012:

Tina, wonderful ideas. I have often thought about creating a vintage garden and was vague about how to accomplish it. I now am armed with some wonderful ideas. Beautiful pictures. Up, useful, interesting and amazing.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on January 06, 2012:

Hi Tammyswallow, it is great to see you! I can imagine how hard it must be to have a garden where you live. But I think you can do well with a vintage garden since it doesn't have to be so many flowers or so. You can focus more on beautiful old things instead, stones and candles, and combine them with plants or shrubs that can survive the heat with just a little help. You can also use fabric in green and other bright colors to get it more "green"!

But you are always welcome back here to my garden:)

Thanks for the visit and the comment!

Tina

Tammy from North Carolina on January 05, 2012:

That is just beautiful! I love hubs on gardens and landscaping.. this is the prettiest and most detailed one I have seen. I have always tried to garden this way but I live deep in the south of the US and the heat kills everything. Glad I can come visit this nice garden though.. LOL!

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on September 17, 2011:

EuroCafeAuLait, Thank you so much for reading and I am glad you liked it!

Tina

Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on September 15, 2011:

Very nice, almost poetic to read. Voted up, and thanks for sharing.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on August 31, 2011:

Hi Vocal, You are so welcome to visit this hub as well as my garden! It would be grate if we could meet:)) If it was possible I would organize a great garden party for all cyber friends. For now, we will have to settle for visiting each others corners!

Thanks for stopping by vocal,

Tina

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 30, 2011:

These ideas and photos are great! This is actually the second time I haved enjoyed this hub. It just makes me feel good. :) I love gardening. Would I ever love to visit yours! Thank you Tina.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on August 11, 2011:

Hi Ingenira! It is easy to get more ideas once you get started. One thing leads to another and there are so many ways to use old things. Something happen in the meeting between flowers and old things that show signs of being used. Thanks for this very appreciated comment!

Tina

Ingenira on August 09, 2011:

You are so creative. Your garden must be filled with beautiful pots of flowers. Vintage garden is such a great and refreshing idea !

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on August 06, 2011:

Thanks Julie McM for coming by and leaving a great comment! It is good to know you liked this hub!

Tina

Julie McM from Southern California on August 05, 2011:

I just love this article. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas.

Christina Lornemark (author) from Sweden on April 11, 2011:

kentuckyslone, It is so nice to meet you, and thanks for your wonderful comment! I think you can have a beautiful garden too if you just take it in small parts. Start with one corner, place out a couple of chairs and start to build the near