Decorating with Antique and Vintage Garden Tools

Updated on August 10, 2012

Decorating with Antique and Vintage Gardening Tools

Perhaps you have an old watering can, an antique garden hoe, or vintage garden tools inherited from your parents or grandparents. Or you're walking your dog late at night and find a neighbor has placed a whole bunch of rusty garden tools out for the trash. Their intriguing shapes, interesting patina and variety of colors make antique and vintage gardening tools perfect for vintage chic-style decorating or Shabby Chic (R) decorating. If you love gardening, bring a bit of your love for the garden indoors by using antique and vintage gardening tools and accessories as decorative items. Like old furniture and old dishes, you can breathe a second life into them.

Watering Cans and Pails

Antique watering cans and vintage pails, such as the old metal pails once sold as powder detergent containers before the advent of cardboard packaging, make great indoor and outdoor decorating items. Use them to hold cut flowers if the bottoms aren't rusted out; fill with water, place on a trivet, coaster or plastic mat, and fill with gladiolus, forsythia branches or other long, large and striking blossoms. Use a flower frog or floral foam and insert good-quality silk flowers to make an attractive arrangement.

You can also use old watering cans and vintage pails outdoors. Either leave them in their current patina, whatever that may be, or spray paint into beautiful colors using a paint specifically made for spraying metal. Be sure to follow spray paint directions and spray outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Fill with soil and add your favorite flowers, or insert a plastic pot already planted with flowers into the container.

Antique and Vintage Gardening Tools

Many people collect antique kitchen implements and love displaying them in their kitchens; antique garden tools make similarly attractive arrangements. Old shears, hoe heads and specific tools such as asparagus cutters and bulb planters can be arranged and hung on a wall to form a sculptural addition to a room. If you're worried about rust marring your painted walls, you can spray a clear coat over the tools; this should (but may not entirely) prevent rust stains. Another method is to mount the antique tools on a wooden board stained or painted to match your décor, then hang the board like a picture on the wall.

Many people enjoy displaying larger antique and vintage garden tools outdoors, hanging them on the side of a garage, barn or garden shed. Hang pitchforks, rakes, old haying forks and other large implements outdoors.

Five Ideas for Decorating with Antique and Vintage Tools

Here are five ideas for decorating with antique and vintage gardening tools:

  • Hang a large, striking piece on a wall by itself
  • Group similar objects together, such as an assortment of trowels or weeding forks
  • Paint them bright, primary colors and hang different tools together
  • Glue silk flowers to the handles and make a country craft out of them
  • Use containers such as watering cans to hold flower arrangements

Gardening Using Vintage Tools

Farming and gardening tools from yesteryear are often quite specialized, and it may take some sleuthing to discover the original use of an oddly-shaped tool you pick up at an auction, flea market, estate sale or yard sale. There were tools made for a single purpose, such as an asparagus cutter, and tools made for heavy-duty farm use, such as hay rakes. Look at old farm journals and antique source books to identify tools.

You can still use antique and vintage tools in the garden, provided you take special care of them. Be sure to wipe them down with a rag after use and always store them indoors in a gardening shed, garage or other enclosed area. Moisture forms rust, and rust destroys vintage and antique tools. Many also have wooden handles that rot when exposed to water.

Antique and vintage gardening tools offer many possibilities for gardeners and collectors alike. They're often inexpensive too, making them an affordable collectible for most people. If you love to garden, add antique tools to your indoor or outdoor decor today.

© 2011 Jeanne Grunert


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    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 

      5 years ago from USA

      Great tips for preserving a bit of the past. I especially like the fact that you talk about how to bring those timeless pieces inside your home.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      My grandfather had 2 wooden double-handled garden tillers. In fact, when I was a child I couldn't wait until I was tall enough to be able to push it to make rows for the vegetable seeds. After the seeds had sprouted, the tiller was used to go along beside the rows to uproot any weeds and aerate the soil at the same time. I still have both of them, even though they are a little worse for wear after all these many years. Loved reading this very enjoyable article. Voted way up and shared.

    • manthy profile image


      7 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Yeah that always makes it look so good.

      You have nice taste and style

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congratulations on being selected for Hub of the Day!

      This was a very well-done collection of decorating ideas. As I read, I was thinking, "you know, even a rusty pail could serve as a cache-pot for a plain terra-cotta plantpot and saucer, this avoiding leaks."

      See--you stimulated the old brain cells! ;-) Voted up & useful!

    • Jeanne Grunert profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeanne Grunert 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Julia!!!

    • wlionpage profile image


      7 years ago from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

      Congrats on being the Hub of The Day! - from Julia

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 

      7 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Congratulations on being selected Hub of the Day!

      Great hub! Loved the ideas and ones I think I will try to employ! Thanks for the suggestions! Voted up and useful!

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Congrats on being the Hub of The Day!

      In New England, a lot of people decorate with antiques of all kinds. There are a lot of antique stores too. When I was young I worked on a Christmas Tree Farm and I got to drive an antique Farmall Tractor. It was very cool! This is a great Hub! Thanks for sharing.


    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Great ideas you share here. I use old watering cans as planters because I am not particularly fond of many of the yard ornaments people use. Old garden tools are akin to natural rocks and logs as far as I'm concerned. Congrats on hub of the day, you earned it!

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      7 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      I love old things:) Nice hub!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Congrats on getting Hub of the Day. Vote up!--Jill

    • cupajo profile image


      7 years ago from California

      I think gardening is going to be the in thing to do here shortly. Which saddens me because I'm in my 60's and never gave it s second thought until now, or recently I should say.

      Guess what the money people are investing in now days? Give up? Farm land with a decent water supply. They are buying it up world wide.

      All In All an enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing

    • celebritie profile image


      7 years ago

      Shabby Chic is still in fashion for interior decorating.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love these ideas. We have several antique tools decorating our yard. It gives a neat look and feel to the place. Thanks!

    • sj_workman79 profile image


      7 years ago from New Hampshire

      A great idea. My mother is a pack rat who loves to garden. I know if I search through her house I could find some of these things. Thanks!

    • wendi_w profile image


      7 years ago from Midwest

      I love those old gardening tools. I used to paint them up with flowers on the side. Great hub and congrats on being hub of the day.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Love it!

    • muslima61 profile image


      7 years ago from manchester UK

      what a great hub... i really enjoyed reading.. :)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations of being chosen hub of the day.

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Decorating with antique tools is quaint and lovely. It makes one feel like you are in a secret garden that's been locked up for awhile. Thanks for sharing! I voted this up and useful!

    • The Frog Princess profile image

      The Frog Princess 

      7 years ago from Florence area of the Great Pee Dee of South Carolina

      You will always have a best friend in your garden. I love my best friend.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Great ideas! Congrats on being the Hub of the Day. Voted up and useful

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Wonderful hub with good ideas for decorating with these vintage gardening tools. Congratulations on the Hub of the Day award and thanks for sharing this.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice hub

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      There is something dreadfully romantic about old, rustic gardening tools, isn't there! What a fun idea it is to decorate with them. Perhaps I shall someday!

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Voted up. I once tried a similar creative idea with an old green teapot that I found in a thrift shop. I washed it thoroughly and arranged flowers in it. :)

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jeanne, I love the old gardening tools and I think they look great in a garden, my son in law recently found me an old battered watering can, he knew I would be pleased with it! some great ideas here thank you.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image


      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      Decorating your garden in this way is a great idea! I'll look for some of these charming ideas.


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