Create a beautiful AND affordable garden with unique thrift store finds. Don’t leave these 9 garden treasures behind that will add charm and functionality to your outdoor space.

Forget overpriced garden decor at those big box centers! Your dream garden oasis is waiting to be discovered at the local thrift store. If you think thrifting is just for clothes, think again.

Hidden amongst the shelves are incredible treasures that can give your garden a major style upgrade – all without breaking the bank!

Whether you are shopping at the local thrift store, flea market, garage, or estate sale, there are certain things you just can’t pass up for the garden.

Here’s what you need to buy the next time you are out thrifting for the garden.

(Posts on may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

Budget-Friendly Garden Decor: Repurposed Thrift Store Finds

So you picture a stunning cottage garden with lots of vibrant blooms and whimsical accents, but your wallet whispers sweet nothings about exorbitant decor. I got you!

Embark on a treasure hunt, not in pricey retail shops, but in the depths of your own forgotten corners and thrift store aisles and flea markets. Let’s turn ordinary into extraordinary, and your garden into a canvas for your creative genius.

Beyond the Flower Pot: Repurposed Containers for your Garden

Thrift stores are a goldmine for garden enthusiasts, but it’s time to expand your vision! Sure, you’ll find the occasional planter or ceramic figurine, but the real magic happens when you think beyond the flower pot.

With a vision and some creativity, everyday objects can transform into whimsical plant holders, charming garden accents, and even functional structures that add personality and practicality to your outdoor space.

Here are some things to look out for the next time you go thrifting.

  • Vintage suitcases: Nestled amidst ferns, they become charming miniature landscapes.
  • Old ladders: Lean them against a wall, adorned with trailing vines and blooming climbers.
  • Chipped teacups: Hang them on branches, transformed into vibrant bird feeders or quirky planters.
  • Discarded tires: Paint them with playful colors and fill them with cascading wildflowers.
  • Rusty bike frames: Upcycle them into whimsical arches for roses or clematis to climb.
potager garden in fall october with hydrangea paniculata and outdoor dining space

Breathe New Life into Forgotten Treasures: Creative Garden Decor

Don’t be fooled by a little chipped paint or a missing leg! While some items at the thrift store might appear worse for wear, that imperfection can be their secret charm.

A chipped watering can becomes a rustic planter, a dented bucket a quirky herb holder. With a little TLC and some creative thinking, those “broken” treasures can often be the foundation for your most unique and eye-catching garden features.

Here are some ideas of things to look out for the next time you go thrifting for garden decor.

  • Cracked birdbaths: Mosaic them with colorful pottery shards, creating a vibrant centerpiece.
  • Old Statues: The chippier the statue the more character it adds to the garden.
  • Chipped watering cans: Transform them into rustic hanging planters with a simple wire loop.
  • Dented enamelware: Use them as quirky markers for your herb patch.
  • Discarded wood scraps: Build quirky planters, rustic pathways, or charming stepping stones.
  • Mismatched furniture: Paint them in vibrant hues and arrange them as whimsically overgrown “islands” amidst your foliage.

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Transforming Everyday Objects

The beauty of thrift store finds lies in their potential for reinvention! A worn-out picture frame can become a trellis for climbing vines, old kitchenware can transform into whimsical plant markers, and even a rusty bicycle can be cleverly upcycled into a charming planter.

Instead of seeing limitations, embrace those imperfections and let your imagination run wild – you’ll be amazed at the unique garden decor you can create, giving these discarded treasures a whole new life.

  • Glass bottles: Hang them upside down, filled with air plants and moss, creating enchanting mini-terrariums.
  • Old mason jars: Turn them into lanterns with fairy lights, illuminating your garden paths.
  • Vintage records: String them together for a unique wind chime, their melodies carried on the breeze.
  • Discarded CDs: Reflect sunlight onto your plants, creating sparkling bursts of color.
  • Old tools: Hang them on rustic walls as decorative accents, each with a story to tell.

Your garden is an extension of your soul. So let your personality shine through! Paint old boots, hang wind chimes made from cutlery, or create a whimsical teacup fountain. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination and willingness to embrace the unconventional.

So, forget the cookie-cutter catalogs and expensive trinkets. Embrace the thrill of the hunt, the joy of transformation, and the satisfaction of creating a garden that whispers your unique story.

gomphrena truffala pink proven winners with angelonia cascade blue, prism pink superbells and supertunia mini vista violet in planters by front porch of 1850 farmhouse with white rockers

Thrifting For Your Garden: Don’t Leave These Treasures Behind

For me, thrifting is the thrill of the hunt to find something really cool for a bargain. From garden decor to container vessels, there is much to be found at the flea market or thrift store.

Here’s what you should never leave behind.

Repurpose Thrift Store Baskets: Unique Planters & Garden Organizers

It doesn’t matter if they are large, small, or something in between. Grab whatever baskets you can. For decorating purposes, they make great planters if you add a plant dish underneath a container inside.

But did you know that you can also use those baskets outside in the garden? YES! I used them a lot last year while deadheading flowers and it was so convenient to have them right there!

I picked this tip up from Linda Vater and have not looked back. But you can hang these baskets around your yard in the gardens and use them to collect weeds.

Isn’t that brilliant?

I found this picnic basket while thrifting in Vermont. Doesn’t it look so pretty as a container vessel for my fresh cut hydrangeas?

Oh and if you ever have a problem with fresh-cut hydrangeas wilting, here is a great trick!

cut hydrangea Centerpiece idea for a picnic date with friends
Picnic Date Supper Club Theme with Thrift Store Basket
How to Save Money at the Garden Nursery
Can you spot the basket hanging on my picket fence?

I also like to use additional baskets for storing things, whether it’s for my home or garden. At any rate, don’t pass up a good basket.

And if you don’t like the color?

You can bleach them to mute the color and wash it out a bit. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with extra baskets.

Even the basket on a vintage stroller would make a great planter. I found this one while thrifting in Vermont. My husband wasn’t into it, but seriously, couldn’t you see this one all potted up?

Since I was so inspired from this find, I found another one that was much smaller and likely used as a doll carriage.

I flipped my thrift store find to make the prettiest planter on the porch.

Wait until you see how much character it adds to the front porch.

thrifting at the vintage market
1850 farmhouse with front porch and spring flowers including ajuga, ranunculas, with hostas and buckeye tree.
The Prettiest Thrift Flip Idea for the Front Porch

Vintage Crocks for the Garden: Charming Planters & Cloches

Crocks are another great buy when you are thrifting around. I buy all different sizes too. You can use them for decor. And you can use them as a vessel for plants and flowers.

Sometimes I’ll drop a houseplant in them. Or faux Christmas trees. But I’ve also used them as a vase for my cut flowers.

Seriously the possibilities are endless.

Add Rustic Charm with Dough Bowls: Planters, Accents, & Fairy Gardens

Never pass up a good dough bowl. There’s so much you can do with them.

From displaying them with faux greens and flowers to potpourri or maybe some candles, vintage wood dough bowls are a great find.

Don’t walk out of the thrift store without one!

How to Decorate a Table for Spring

Repurposed Vintage Toolbox: A Centerpiece or Multifunctional Garden Tool Caddy

I’ve styled it ten different ways to Sunday throughout the seasons. And it’s sat on my dining room table for the last two years.

Now that we moved, it does not fit under my chandelier on my dining room table. So I’ve got to figure out a new place for it. But toolboxes make great planting vessels or just display things in.

I never met a toolbox I didn’t like, so make sure you snag it whenever you find one!

Thrifty Metal Pails & Buckets: Creative Garden Uses

Old rusty or painted metal pails, bins and buckets make GREAT planter vessels. I found this super cool maple sap bucket in Vermont and used it for my faux Christmas tree this year. That red on the bucket was the perfect subtle complement for the holidays.

In the fall, I found this copper tub and it’s PERFECT for plantings! I can’t wait to pot it up this spring and add it to my front porch.

In addition to those, egg crates also make great containers for plants. But I’ve also used them to store blankets, pillows, and other decor from around the home.

Whether you plant live or faux, old metal pails, bins, and buckets are a great thrift store find. So don’t pass those up!

Repurposed Vintage Tins: Unique Planters & Garden Accents

I love pretty vintage cans. They look so pretty displayed on their own. And even better with some plants or flowers in them! Sometimes I display them in my kitchen to hide things I want accessible but don’t want on the counter too.

Fall Decorating Ideas

Vintage Watering Cans & Jugs: Upcycled Garden Decor

Those old metal watering cans are the best, aren’t they? I love how they look among plants and flowers. Or even by themselves as part of my decor.

And the fact that you can use them to water plants is a huge plus for me too! So be sure to add these garden treasures to the list too!

7 garden treasures you shouldn't pass up
thrfting at the vintage market

Repurposed Wood Crates & Trunks: Garden Storage & Seating

From large to small, vintage wood crates are the best, aren’t they? I love to use them for faux greens and florals. But if you find the larger crates and trunks, they can even be used as a plant stand, side or coffee table.

thrifting at the vintage market

Thrifted Vintage Dishes: Creative Garden Decor & Planters

There are so many different ways you can use dishes and tea sets. The possibilities are endless. For the garden, I’ve potted up teapots and teacups. They make cute gifts!

But think outside the box and use them as garden decor. I’ve seen some cute container gardens with pretty blue transferware.

So don’t walk out of the thrift store or antique mall without picking some up first!

9 garden treasures

More About Finding Garden Treasures at the Thrift Store

Do you love to hunt for garden deals at the thrift store too? What do you love to shop for? I would love to know more in the comments below.

Stacy Ling
potager garden in late october with hydrangea flowers, vintage bicycle and outdoor dining table

Thrifting With My Besties

And my good friend Jennifer from Cottage on Bunker Hill thrifts in New England and found some great finds for her kitchen!

Wait until you see how she’s using them!

thrift store finds for the table

Looking for More Thrift Store Inspiration?

I’ve been sharing lots of cool items I found for our new home and garden. Come thrift with me!

thrift store garden treasures
Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed

The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy Care Flower Garden
  • Have you never met a plant you couldn’t kill?
  • Have you dug around in the dirt with nothing to show for it except a sunburn and a sore back?
  • Do you currently enjoy growing flowers, but are looking for more tips and ideas to level up your gardening game?

Then the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide is for YOU

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. These are great ideas! I love thrifting for unique containers, and am also fortunate to have some things I rescued from my grandparents house and farm, like crocks, a watering can, and milk/cream cans! I’m also a big fan of old galvanized buckets and wash tubs as planters. I have my husband drill holes in the bottom for drainage and like to incorporate them in my landscaping. You have the most beautiful gardens! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much Vicki! Isnt’ that the best? I love galvanized buckets too – they look so pretty with flowers!

  2. I can’t wait for the nice weather to get out and go to the flea markets…I’ll keep dreaming about that while I’m under 2 throws!!

  3. It’s always so fun to see all the thrifted finds you have for the garden. I love your flea markets in Vermont. Wish we had some like that here.

  4. I never find these cool things when I am out and about! I find old tupperware containers like the ones I got rid of. =)
    Seriously, these are great things!

  5. Pingback: Saturday Shares | Vol. 35 - Cottage On Bunker Hill
  6. Love these ideas, Stacy! Especially like the tip to use baskets for dead heading and holding weeds. Guess I need to go get some more baskets… 😆😆