Unique Yard Art: Rust Is Beautiful
Rust is Beautiful
With the warm spring weather, I've been out doing a little yard work. Looking around out there, I started to think how lucky I am to have such amazing junk everywhere I look. Some people might not think of that as lucky, but they probably don't have the caliber of junk that I have.
Looking at everyday objects from the past and the way they decay makes me feel a connection to those people who lived and worked with them every day.
The Grinding Wheel
The most ordinary, utilitarian tool can be a thing of beauty. I love this old grinding wheel. It was made out of an old wagon wheel; it was originally run by pedal power, but when electricity became widely available, an electric motor was added.
My husband dragged it home from somewhere. Now it occupies a prominent spot on my mom's front porch.
Early Electric Grinding Wheel
When I was planning a party, a friend of mine made this creative centerpiece out of an old motorcycle gas tank. She has amazing ideas, and even more cool junk at her house than I do at mine.
I still use the centerpiece on my outdoor table every year. Some of the flowers grow back, and I add new ones every spring.
Harley Gas Tank Centerpiece
Hanging Planter Made from Motorcycle Fenders
The same amazing lady who made the above centerpiece also created this hanging planter from motorcycle fenders. She's a true motorcycle enthusiast and a very imaginative lady. She designed and built this thing herself, and gave it to me for my birthday.
It's a real focal point for the front patio. You really can't help but notice it when you drive up to my house. It elicits many compliments.
Motorcycle Fender Hanging Planter
Western Town Boardwalk
When we bought our property, it had this old western style boardwalk on it. My husband thought it was butt ugly and wanted to tear it down. Everyone that came to the house raved about how cool it was, and eventually he became convinced to leave it. It is a nice shady spot to sit in the summertime, and the perfect spot to store and display some of this cool, old stuff. Things do tend to pile up on it though.
Some of the things I see on display there include an old wooden wine keg, saddle bags off an old Indian motorcycle and a cow bell. There is a big wooden mallet; it looks like one of those mallets that they used on High Striker, an old carnival game where you hit a target and it shoots a puck up the tower to ring a bell if you hit it hard enough.
I see an old jack and a couple of jack stands, small animal trap, a branding iron, an iron cobblers shoe form, and assorted cast iron skillets.
Junk on the Boardwalk
Assortment of Rustic Junk
The picture at the top left is a birdhouse built from driftwood, beside it is a cow skull, the photo below them is an old vise, a jack and some oil cans. At the bottom are some old tools and kitchenware.
Assorted Rustic Stuff
Year after year we wondered why nothing grew very well in one corner of our garden. A couple of years ago I was turning the soil when my shovel hit a rock. I tried to dig it out but just couldn't find the edge.
I called in reinforcements and my husband got in there with his tractor. It's a good thing he had one because that is one monster rock. The dog next to it is about 30 pounds, just to give an idea of the size.
I think the rock looks great sitting by the driveway. It is a real statement piece and the cats love to sun themselves on it.
Ore Car From the Mining Days
Not only do I love the look of this ore car, but it represents the rich mining history of the beautiful Sierra foothills where I live.
Rail cars like this were used in the hard rock mines to haul ore that contained gold to the surface. They were towed by horses or mules.
Rustic Wheelbarrow, A Yard Sale Find
My husband brought this home from a yard sale. He said, after he'd already paid the man, the man's wife came out of the house and got mad that her husband had sold it. He hightailed it out of there quick, but I feel kind of bad for that lady, I wouldn't have wanted to part with it either.
It will look beautiful with flowers planted around it.
Burned Out 1951 Harley Flathead - The Liberator
This old motorcycle has been in a fire, my husband brought it home with the intent of getting it running again. I just love the rusty patina on it.
This is a 1951 WL 45 cu in flathead that has a 1942 WWII motor. The WL was nick named liberator for its wide use in the Pacific and Europe during WWII.
The solo model Flathead 45 cu was discontinued in 1952, making all post war solo models rare. The 45 cubic inch Flathead three-wheeler was made all the way up into the 70's. It was popular for police and other municipal functions because of its dependable motor and economical cost.
I don't know if this bike will ever be road ready again, but I really love the way it looks sitting in the yard.
1951 Harley Flathead - The Mother of all Yard Art
Use Your Imagination
Old stoves, wringer washing machines and other appliances, vintage cast iron toys, plows, wooden ladders and old garden tools can make great additions to your landscape. A friend of mine has made a lovely display in her yard using old bathroom fixtures (porcelain pedestal sink and claw foot bathtub, etc).
When you see an interesting old item that can be had for cheap or free, it just takes a little bit of vision to see how it can add interest to your home or garden.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.