Vintage gardens

Looking for vintage garden design ideas? Take a look at Housetohome's guide to creating a vintage country garden with shabby chic garden furniture and vintage garden accessories.

Love vintage gardens? Ever wondered how to get that lovely vintage look in your garden? We show you how with quick and easy vintage decor ideas. With time-worn furniture and nostalgic touches it's easy to create an old world country garden.

You don't need to completely start from scratch if you want a vintage garden scheme: A few pretty and practical accessories, furniture and a muted colour palette are easy ways to get that quaint, country look in your garden with minimal effort.

Vintage gardens often have an air of informality, which is associated with organic, curved and irregular forms. Planting is much more free and easy. Borders are mixed and climbers scramble up and over vertical structures and surfaces.

Vintage colours will add a wonderful decorative quality to a garden. When planting a border, you might want to use harmonious colours to create a restful, easy-on-the-eye display. Limit the use of bright or strong colours and stick with soft pastels, creamy whites and browns.

Encourage butterflies and bees by choosing plants that attract them, such as marigolds, foxgloves, salvia (sage) and lavender. Organic composts, fertilisers and pest-control methods will also help wildlife to flourish.

1/19 Vintage garden ideas

garden with white seat

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Sussie Bell)

Look for antique fairs, auction house and car boot sales for used, well-loved and reclaimed furniture for a fraction of the price of buying it brand new. If you're feeling crafty, consider painting your old pieces with chalky paint colours.

Vintage garden with pretty love seat

Wrought iron furniture is perfect for a vintage country garden. Choose a shabby-chic love seat with a distressed paint effect for a romantic feel. Place your vintage furniture or antique furniture in a quiet, secluded area, among scented flowers and herbs, or in a spot where you can admire an uninterrupted view of the garden.

Similar furniture
Primrose (opens in new tab)

2/19 Vintage garden with floral fabrics

garden chair with floral fabric seat cover

(Image credit: TBC)

Customise a garden bench by making your own cushion in a faded country floral fabric. Pretty cushions are ideal for making a space feel cosy and injecting the vintage vibe into your home. Polka-dots, patchwork, checks and florals are all ideal for this look.

Similar floral fabric
Laura Ashley (opens in new tab)

3/19 Vintage garden with decorative tableware

garden tableware with flowers

(Image credit: TBC)

Make the most of the great British summer time and take your entertaining alfresco. Mix and match vintage china, cut-glass tumblers and melamine-handled cutlery. Add a posy of fresh flowers to each place setting to finish the look.

Similar cutlery
Not On The High Street (opens in new tab)

4/19 Vintage garden with decorative pot covers

vintage garden with decorative pot covers

(Image credit: TBC)

A vintage garden is all about plants. Spruce up some old pots with gingham tea towels or leftover floral fabric and secure in place with rustic garden twine. The secret of vintage-style planting is that it is not too contrived, so pretty decorations with a rustic appeal are ideal.

Similar fabric
Laura Ashley (opens in new tab)

5/19 Vintage garden with shabby chic wireplanter

vintage garden with shabby chic wireplanter

(Image credit: TBC)

Transform an ordinary shed with an exterior paint in an eggshell finish. The battered and weather-worn finish of this wirework planter adds simple charm to the scheme. Pale colours are pretty, charming and have endless appeal in the garden. But beware the temptation to plant exclusively white flowers over large areas. Instead mix white with soft pastels - pink, blue and faded yellow - for a more varied look.

Similar planter
Wayfair (opens in new tab)

garden bird house idea

(Image credit: CH&I)

6/19 Vintage garden with bird house and bunting

For a classic country fair feel, string bunting through trees or along walls and fences, and hang a sweet, painted bird box. Wooden furniture and accessories are always a good choice in the garden, where it's natural tones harmonise with the surroundings. Many hardwoods are tough enough to require little or no treatment. Natural wooden furniture ages and weathers beautifully, though it can also be painted and stained for a characterful feel.

Similar outdoor paint
Homebase (opens in new tab)

7/19 Vintage garden with quirky sign

garden signs

(Image credit: CH&I)

Let visitors know exactly where to find you with a rustic slate sign hung on the garden gate. If you're feeling crafty, why not try making your own signage with wood slats, blackboard paint, a drill and rope. Inscribe with beautiful typographical descriptions for a romantic garden look.

Similar signage
B&Q (opens in new tab)

8/19 Vintage garden with rustic gardening tools

gardening tools and equipment

(Image credit: CH&I)

Make light work of watering and weeding the garden with classic metal tools in utilitarian finishes. Every gardener needs a variety of tools to tend and maintain their outdoor space. Nowadays you can spend more time in the enjoying the garden than ever before thanks to a constantly developing selection of easy-to-use, efficient and labour-saving gardening tools and equipment. Good-quality tools will often become timeworn personal favourites.

Similar garden tools

Garden Trading (opens in new tab)

9/19 Vintage garden with box and seed packets

gardening essential seed box

(Image credit: CH&I)

Keep seed packets and markers together in these rustic trays for easy planting. Seedlings can be planted outdoors four to six weeks after sowing, depending on the season. For continuous crops you can go on making sowings until late July.

Similar seed boxes
Garden Trading (opens in new tab)

10/19 Vintage garden with pretty books and journals

gardening with pretty books and journal

(Image credit: TBC)

Keep vintage gardening books and journals close to hand for a spot of light reading in between chores. Stacked up between galvanised metal flowerpots, they double up as a nostalgic focal point – as long as the sun’s shining!

Flowerpots
Petersham Nurseries (opens in new tab)

11/19 Vintage garden with upcycled crockery planter

vintage gardening ideas flower pot decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Tim Young)

Upcycle well-loved jugs, teapots and jam-jars into planters for a relaxed planting display that oozes vintage charm, a particularly nice idea for kitchen herb gardens. Don’t worry about coordinating patterns and colours, mixing and matching is the best way to achieve an eclectic look.

Cabinet
Petersham Nurseries (opens in new tab)

12/19 Vintage garden with neutral textiles

vintage garden with table and chair

(Image credit: TBC)

Why stick to outdoor chairs and tables when you can sink into a swinging hammock? Textiles are a clever way of softening a garden and extending your lounging space outdoors. Create a serene sanctuary with fresh cottons and linens in neutral shades of white and grey.

Hammock & parasol
The White Company (opens in new tab)

13/19 Vintage garden with vintage antiques, quilts and cushions

garden with table decorated with pillows

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Spike Powell)

Get creative with antiques to achieve visual vintage appeal. An oversized antique clock, a painted iron bench and galvanized steel urns make a quirky architectural display, while pretty cushions and blankets add an air of gentle romance.

Bench
Holloways (opens in new tab)

Antique clock
Maison Artefact (opens in new tab)

14/19 Vintage garden with wooden table and floral linens

garden table with floral fabric table cover

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Trevor Richards)

Blowsy florals and soft pastel shades are essential when it comes to vintage style. Lay a rustic dining table with crisp ticking and rose-patterned linens as tablecloths. Finish the look off with delicate ceramics and flower-filled jugs.

Tablecloth
Bennison (opens in new tab)

15/19 Vintage garden with floral fabrics and wrought iron furniture

garden table with floral furnishing

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Trevor Richards )

Swish a floral floor length curtain across French windows to take the vintage look from indoors to outdoors. Go for a distressed paint effect on wrought iron furniture for a shabby-chic vibe and set up in a nice, shady area of the garden.

Curtain & cushions

Sarah Hardaker (opens in new tab)

Similar table and chairs
Dobbies (opens in new tab)

16/19 Vintage garden with cosy armchair

garden with flowers and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Spike Powell)

Create a cosy sit-down spot with a reclaimed armchair, upholstered in patchwork fabric surrounded by potted plants. Choose somewhere that’s sheltered from the elements such as under a covered veranda or inside the door of a potting shed.

Armchair
The French House (opens in new tab)

Flower bucket
The Vintage Garden Store (opens in new tab)

17/19 Vintage garden with stepladder flower display

garden ladder with flower pots decoration

(Image credit: TBC)

An old stepladder can always be found at car boot sales and is the perfect way to create height in a display. Break up a plain brick wall with an attractive arrangement of bright blooms in rustic enamel buckets.

Buckets & ladder
Rosehip in the Country (opens in new tab)

18/19 Vintage garden with welcome sign

garden sign and a floral bag

(Image credit: TBC)

Raise a smile amongst guests with a rustic wooden sign, complete with sweet welcome message. Plant climbers in harmonious colours against white fencing for a picture perfect easy-on-the-eye display.

Garden sign
Source for the Goose (opens in new tab)

19/19 Vintage garden with swing

vintage garden with swing

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Jon Day )

An informal, overgrown planting scheme looks lovely in a vintage garden, but a few well-placed accessories give it structure, particularly for garden parties. Tissue paper pompoms flutter gently in the breeze and a hydrangea filled basket is an eye-catching addition.

Swing
Sitting Spiritually (opens in new tab)

Pompoms
Pompom & Twiddle (opens in new tab)

Tamara Kelly

Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.