Creating garden art with JUNK

spring flowerbed with a rustic bench, and bucket full of dumped flowers /

Creating garden art with junk is every bit as fun as decorating indoors.

Junk creates interesting focal points, giving your garden some real personality. So here are my tips for adding your favourite junky treasures among those beautiful blooms outdoors.

garden shed cleanup in the backyard

Clean it up

The first thing I haul out at the beginning of each season is the pressure washer. I do this first before planting otherwise your flowers will end up flying to the moon.

Today my shed got hit and it’s all ready for the real fun to begin. Let’s play!

antique tools on a rustic garden shed for garden art


Flowers indeed offer you colour, but so can other elements without the need for even more weeding and watering. Here, antique tools pick up the slack in areas with no blooms.

Right: A galvanized bucket took the place of a typical hanging basket.

red geraniums in a flower box in front of a rustic garden shed


The shed is on the darker side, so red geraniums aways seem to be the right thing to add inside the white crate. The fronts will eventually be spilling over with fragrant alyssum. As soon as I get some.

Cute pets

They make your garden look even better.
Teddy is staring at the water droplets. She’s a leaf licker type.

Junky fillers

New flower beds take some time to fill in, so a few arrangements pick up the slack. 

Left: chunks of driftwood are an interesting organic filler. The round crusty metal thing is the bottom of a punched out garbage can. Really.

rusty junk as garden art in a flowerbed


I love finding things from the thrift probably like no other. But your garden decorating becomes extra special when you use special things with actual meaning.

This peculiar piece is from friend Corinne. When her family vacationed, they found a few rusty relics near a railroad track during a walk and immediately thought of me. Her entire family was picking up this junk and all the long thinking… “Who else would we do this for?!” They hauled it all home in a box and presented me with a selection. That means something to me!

Don’t they rock? Thanks again guys! LOVE it!

rustic garden shed with flowerbox filled with red geraniums and rusty junk

More meaning: the coke sign was a gift and the license plate was from my old truck that got totalled.

Welcome back, red geraniums! I’ve missed you so.

flower barrel full of flowers and a rusty lantern


If everything was the same height, you would see flat. Varying heights for items inside your planted areas offer your eye lots of up and down motion which makes things more interesting.

flower barrel full of flowers and a rusty lantern

The rusty old lantern offers instant interest.

You may recognized these flowers from the music video staging I did HERE. When we were packing up, I was instructed to take the flowers home. Thanks Tamara and crew! Love them!! See? MORE meaning. 🙂

Seriously, you can’t go wrong when decorating with junk in the garden. Just bring it out and play. You’ll be really glad you did. I promise!

Next up… stay tuned for a riveting episode of me weeding my travel trailer gravel driveway! Weeee!

Yuk. Another day. Soon. Right… poor neighbours.

What do you like using in your garden for decor? Any favorite items?


A collection of other outdoor projects (with junk!) can be found here.

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Categories: DIY, Gardening

34 thoughts on “Creating garden art with JUNK

  1. Love that old shed & the red geraniums are perfect. Our season is about over for growing these….they don’t like the heat….but I can also enjoy yours. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day.

  2. Love the red geraniums! The Coke sign is awesome! We were discussing how to create a junk garden in our backyard, enjoyed viewing yours!

  3. Your shed looks amazing! It certainly is an inspiring focal point!!! Great tips too! I love the tip about adding filler to planters until the plants can look lush.
    Love to stop by!!!!

  4. We found an old saw in the attic of our old garage which now hangs on the wall of our new garage. Just added a scythe to this as I want to start a collection of old implements. We also have some driftwood in a garden which the clematis intertwines and an old window to add a shot of colour in the shade garden. Funny because I just posted about it and then came here and saw your article.

  5. this is an AWESOME post Donna! love love the junky elements. Um…I just did a post of my wanting to edit & get rid of some of my junk – wanna come over to grab some for your garden!? I ‘might’ have to keep a few things to plunk into planters and garden spaces – thanks for the inspiration and more ideas of where we can put these goodies to use! xo

  6. I haven’t added too much fun things to my gardens yet, but my garden shed I have (slightly started) decorating! It’s an all white shed and I wanted color with out painting a rainbow on it (literally). So then I saw at a craft store some metal flowers – thought that would be super cute to put all around it…well then I came across some implement parts that took the shape of flowers and one that looks like it would make a great sun! And flowers need sun! I only bought the sun-looking one that day – took it home and spray painted it yellow – added some red and yellow glass rocks to it and hung it towards the top of my shed! IN LOVE! And ever since then, I look at junk in a completly different way – my husband and I go to farm auctions alot and I am always on the constant look-out for “flowers” for my “garden” and other old/antiquy junk to add to the real gardens!

    p.s. Your gardens are ADORABLE!!! Very well put together!

  7. Good Morning I just came in from my yard and your blog was the first one I went to I love your garden art ideas but your shed is what I’ve been telling my boyfriend I want. The Coco – Cola signs and lience plate my dad would have loved as do I we use to collect Coca -Cola stuff. Have a great day love your blog.

  8. You have the perfect touch for making junk look like High End items.. I bet all the big magazines what you like a hawk watchin a chicken so they can quick copy everything you do.. If I were you I’d write them and ask for your cut of the profits:)

    looking forward to your party this evening..

  9. Two things I use when working in my yard or someone else’s are gates and scaffolding. I pound rebar (from home improvement store) into the ground, then wire the gates or scaffolding on the rebar. WARNING: make sure there are no cables, pipes, or gas lines under where you want your items. Plant a vine, hang a wreath, put up a mirror for the birds. The scaffolding has wide areas that are perfect to hang windows. Have fun with whatever you decide!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

  10. Beautiful just beautiful! And I love it. Red is such a great pop of color in a garden and it looks right at home by your shed.I have an old pine tree stump/root about five feet long that has an opening 2/3 the length of it for flowers in my garden. My father pulled it out of the ground when he was clearing land for farming in the 1930’s. I also have an old wash pot for a water garden along with other items of interest. I love using junk in my decor inside and outside the home. I used to wash clothes in the wash pot and in the summer boil peanuts in it. Many memories come with that one item.

  11. I’m with you girl, I love junk in the garden. Yes, you must find a happy medium, but it adds so much interest. I had a shed at my old home. Missing it here. Hope to have one next year. I am storing so much junk (I mean treasures) that were house in it. Thanks for sharing your creativeness!

  12. I’m with Girlhouse, my attempts at junking my back patio is a work in progress and sometimes a little on the edge. You definitely need the right junk. It doesn’t help if you have neighbors looking right into your yard because then you don’t know if they “get it” or think you’re a slob. I think it takes just the right touch of junk and style. You’ve got it here!

  13. Donna, thanks so much for hosting another great party. Barbed wire… ooh, I grew up on a farm and was so taught that it was bad to touch it because it would cut me… I don’t think I’ve gotten over that… But your creations with it are so beautiful! Little Bit

  14. I love how even your license plate says “rust”…sort of!

    I too have a garden filled with stuff – old watering can, an antique ewer, a train lantern. I found these fabulous wrought iron things kind of like windows, but with rings for plant pots to sit in. They look like extra windows on my shed.

    I like the ideas of filling out the garden and varying the heights. Thanks! I always enjoy your unique treatment of “junk”.

  15. Donna I love your garden junk. I have my tricycle from 1954, my grandchildren’s old
    tricycle, foot scooter and an old tractor
    seat in my garden. I have a basket on my
    trike with blooming flowers in it. If junk
    bloomed my garden would be beautiful.

  16. Your area looks so neat. Now if I tried to do that it would just look like I put junk in my yard instead of looking artsy like yours. I love all the cool stuff you do and have. I like the picture with the kitty looking up at the flowers.
    Thanks for sharing

  17. on old chair. Preferably one that had a cane center or something like that ..staple chicken wire underneath it fill it with some moss so dirt won’t fall out. Put your potting soil in and plants …walah…. stick it out in your garden. I also took an old wooden door propped it up behind my garden and hung old rusty tools and junk on it.

  18. I love, love, love your garden decorations. I used to have flower beds all over the year 15 yrs ago but back then beds were just flower beds and not decorations were really added unless they were the concrete kind!! Retiring in a little over a year and I decided to make beds that I can enjoy when that happens and thanks to PINTEREST I have been collecting decorations for my beds. It’s coming along slowly but our post made me feel so much better about getting it done…thanks for sharing.

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