Vintage Inspiration in the Garden

Everyone loves a garden full of color and fun. This is my outdoor living room and relaxing space. We use it all summer long.

It’s that time of year! Buds are popping tulips and daffodils are blooming, the birds are singing and the gardens are waiting for us to get out there and grow things!

Our own Jerry Cook is the king of clever recycling, this machine has made an appearance at the Olympia arts walk several times. It really works and it's art too

 For me, half the fun besides the growing part is the decorating part. I regard my garden spaces as outdoor rooms and I love finding fun objects to tuck into the plants and to dress up my living spaces.
If you have a small hidden piece of wall think about painting it a vivid color, red and green are amazing together. This wall holds a collection of suns and moons and it features seating along the facing wall to just relax and enjoy the space.

I’m lucky to have a  husband who builds whatever I can dream up, although he is not allowed near any plants. He’s a builder not a gardener as we have discovered. Thanks to care and work we have a mature yard that has taken several years of work on hardscaping and landscaping and planting and pulling and pruning. 

We used river rock to replace grass and we love it. The focus is now on the flower beds

Wait a minute, that planting and pruning and weed pulling never quite goes away. My advice to those just starting on their garden odyssey? Don’t stint on the underpinnings of your garden. Take the time to put in walls, and beds and paths and ponds first. 

old wire baskets lined with moss make amazing succulent gardens, you could even put one on a small porch if you don't have a garden yet.

Your garden won’t look like much for a couple of seasons but the wait is worth it. Do your homework, figure out what will grow in your soil and learn how tall and wide plants get before you plop them in the garden. That pretty little hydrangea will take over a good chunk of  the bed so plan ahead.

Hydrangeas make a showy and large place to pop in a shepherd's hook with something fun like a fish lantern.

We decided to get rid of the grass and focus on the flowers and shrubs. It’s far more ecologically sound and you won’t be struggling with moss and moles and lawns that look awful by August. Think about using a small washed river rock for your larger areas. It looks great and with proper prep, lasts forever. I switched with a lawn mower to a leaf blower and I love it.
Blue bottles have been put in gardens on trees around the world for a very long time.

Another shot of river rock pathways

The most fun of all is getting your personality and sense of style into your gardens and yards. I’m an artist who hails from the Southwest so much of garden sensibilities are heavily influenced by Mexican style and colors. If you like tranquil, think about using grasses and going with an Asian flavor. Minimalist? Just a few wonderful boulders and freeform statuary among your plants. The palate is yours to play with. Finders Keepers in downtown Olympia, where I sell my vintage wares is a wonderful place to hunt for outdoor objects. The pieces change all the time too. Buoys, glass floats, recycled lawn art, glass flowers, flower pots, lanterns and cool stuff, like these glass flowers from vintage pieces by Lori G.

Imagine these in your garden before and after all the colorful plants bloom.
Fun pop of color.

 Don’t be scared to play! If you put something in and you loathe it, move it somewhere else. My own slice of heaven is more stuffed with stuff than most, because I adore Things With No Useful Purpose. I try really hard to stick to vintage pieces because I’m not a fan of Made in China disposable junk. There are always exceptions to every rule so keep that in mind. Think outside the box, how about figuring out to hang a painting on metal or wood on your garden wall? Coat it in waterproof polyurethane and hang it up and enjoy it. Take it in for the winter too.

Gardens are the perfect place for a fun collection. I love rabbits and have a lot of them in my private Alice in Wonderland garden. The secret is to bring the breakables in before the first freeze.
What would you put under this gorgeous garden cloche?
Its at Finders now but I'll bet not for long.
The worst part of my year is having to go around and gather up all the cement and glass and china and bits and bobs in my gardens. I bin my treasures to protect them and the delicate plants like orchids go to the green house for the winter. Its worth the work for the months of pure pleasure.

I collect vintage lotus bowls and sea shells. I found the wicker coffee table out thrifting and filled it with shells. There are treasures to be found out there!
This blog post is pretty much a photo essay to get you inspired and thinking about what you can do in your own yard, or even on your porch or balcony if you don’t have a lot of space. 

The Owly's at Finders Keepers have this amazing recycled yard art rabbit.
I love him so much!
Be inspired, Think outside the box and have fun with your own outdoor rooms.Check out Finders Keepers often, the selections change and there is always something new.


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