Give Your Outdoor Spaces Character With Flea-Market Finds

No need to visit a chain store to purchase furniture, planters and decorative elements. Hunt antiques stores and flea markets to find unique pieces that have stood (and will continue to stand) the test of time.
By: Marian Parsons and Marie Hofer
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Shabby Chic White Porch with Swing

RMSer cobbcottage found this coffee table on the curb and thought it perfect for her porch.

Outdoor Wheel Piece

Antique farm implements and mechanical parts become instant art when hung on a wall, fence or gate. Look for pieces with interesting lines like tractor grates, wooden cogs and metal gears.

Outdoor Space with Bench

An obvious thing to look for when shopping for the great outdoors is lawn, patio and porch furniture. Look for pieces that are sturdy and in good condition. Remember that most surfaces can be repainted, so don't let rust, chipping paint or cosmetic signs of age deter you from purchasing a piece with great bones.

Outdoor Cupboard

It's common at antiques stores to find fabulous pieces that were once meant for indoor use but have been neglected to the point that they are no longer functional. Give these castoff pieces a new home on a deck, porch or patio. Chairs with broken seats can hold plants, an iron headboard can become a trellis and a broken-down kitchen cabinet can be a potting bench or unique display space.

Decorative Door and Wreath

Repurpose architectural elements: Antique windows and doors can contribute to small potting sheds or greenhouses. Archways and shutters can add character to a porch or patio wall, or an old fireplace surround can bring a cozy feel to an outdoor seating arrangement during winter months.

Spoon Label for Herbs

Vegetable, herb and flower labels in gardens can be made from a variety of repurposed antique or vintage elements. Mark silver spoons, knives and forks with an inexpensive metal-punching kit. Plant names can be painted onto old spindles that are simply stuck in the ground.

Smart and Chic Outdoor Table

Revive antique farm tables, laboratory counters and industrial carts with a coat of polyurethane graded for outdoor use, and use them on patios and porches. Any of these multifunctional workhorses can be transformed into a potting bench or an outdoor buffet. Look for pieces with interesting casters, fun paint colors or a unique design.

Vegetable Pot Plant

Be on the lookout at flea markets, antiques stores, vintage shops and yard sales for old urns and vases. RMS countrygrl125 created this gorgeous container garden grouping for her deck.

Clematis Vines

Old wooden ladders are perfect for supporting climbing vines, such as this clematis. Posted by RMSer Dotsgarden

Barrels as Planters

Use an old barrel as a planter for colorful flowers. When outfitted with a pond liner, an old barrel makes a fabulous miniature water garden.

Outdoor Wood Bar with Recycled Door

RMSer MaryinOhama bought an old three-panel door for $5 at a salvage yard and spent $15 for an old hutch at a thrift store. Formerly part of an old dresser and with the back removed, the hutch became the bottom of this creatively conceived outdoor bar.

Flowering Container Garden

Antique chicken feeders, galvanized buckets and wheelbarrows can all be used as planters for flowers, herbs and vegetables. Make sure to provide proper drainage for the plants by drilling or punching holes in the bottom of the piece.

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