Springtime at the flea market is a gardener’s delight. Not just for tools of the trade, but also for those one-of-a-kind architectural finds that turn an ordinary yard into a garden of surprises.
So with outdoor living on our minds, we went shopping for rusty relics to carefully place in the yard so they’d look wonderfully accidental.
We started by checking out a darling daybed that had us dreaming of naps in the shade. The next booth had dozens of weathered windows, but the prices were more “antique faire” than “swap meet” so we passed.
At the end of the row, a pair of enormous columns with gold Corinthian capitals stopped us in our tracks. Jennifer thought it would be hilarious to tip one over in the backyard to create your own ancient Roman ruins!
Jennifer found a booth selling succulent wall gardens framed in reclaimed crown molding, and we each bought one for $25. The same vendor had balusters, brackets, and corbels salvaged from a house that was being demolished. Kitty couldn’t resist buying a wooden finial with a pineapple design to nestle in her flowerbed.
One of our favorite dealers, a gal who ships containers of antiques from France, had several vintage clock faces. The biggest one was three feet across and was marked $250, but behind it was a smaller, shabbier one for $125. Jennifer had been talking about getting a clock face to hang on her fence, so she picked the smaller one as her big splurge of the day. It was quite a sight tied to the front of our cart!
Container gardens turn into conversation pieces when the containers are flea market chic! So when we shop in the spring, we look at every vessel and ask ourselves, “Could we pot a plant in that?” Items like metal drawers are terrific for tabletop arrangements. An enamel baby bathtub is just the right size for herbs, especially if your outside space is limited to a balcony or patio. But if your lawn goes on and on, don’t contain yourself. Let your garden grow in a full-size claw-foot tub instead!
Top off your alfresco retreat with a dazzling crystal chandelier––the fancier the better! But don’t bother looking for one that works, get a deal on a fixture that needs re-wiring, then pull out the wiring altogether. Replace the bulbs with candles or tea lights, and you’ll have a candelier that can hang anywhere. Opt for battery-operated tapers and you can dangle your luxurious light from a tree branch or an iron shepherd’s hook. Center it over your seating area to finish your real outdoor room. That’s what we call roughing it!