The garden was the first things we saw, after the facade, when we came to view our house and it was one of the selling points for us. I’ve mentioned it before. The previous owners put of lot of work into creating a welcoming space with various seating areas, shaded by fruit trees and a large, leafy walnut tree.
With two small children at the time and now with three, we simply don’t have the time to tend to the garden as intensively as the former owners did. I often think that if they called by, they would be appalled by the state of the place.
It is not that it is neglected or wild, but it is a whole lot more rustic than before. It is lived in and loved. Loved by a couple who enjoy entertaining, whether planned or spontaneous. Loved by three young boys who like to climb, hide, play with water and kick a ball about. Loved by four chickens who peck and poo and rustle in the bushes.
The thing is, we like the rustic look and the lived-in feel. Particularly since starting to keep chickens earlier this year, I have found I am bringing together more and more of my flea market buys and salvage finds and finding places for them in the garden. For us the rustic look developed organically, but there has been bit of curation going on recently too.
If this is the kind of look you want to achieve in your own garden, here are my tips.
- Take a look at your garden and see which areas you are happy with, which could do with improvement and which need a lot of work. For a quick fix, work on the areas that need improving.
- Gather up anything you already have that might lend a rustic look to your garden – watering cans, shovels, rakes, terracotta pots, old baking tins, logs, lanterns, jugs or even some of the children’s old toys.
- Visit flea markets and keep an eye out for anything you can salvage, like old red bricks, enamel kitchenware, baskets, tin watering cans, wooden crates, plant pots, old windows, etc. You will be suprised what you can find when you look.
- Gather your finds and group them together by colour or function. A collection of terracotta pots in a variety of shades and sizes can make a lovely feature. Metal planters and old enamel containers or baking tins and make an interesting collection too. Our rustic outdooor kitchen houses a selection of kitchen items we have picked up over the years that are suitable for outdoor use.
- Don’t be afraid to trick around with things. Move items around the garden until you have a look you like. And it doesn’t have to be permanent. I am forever switching things around in our garden, depending on the season, my mood or the function of the objects. Sometimes a watering can is a watering can, sometimes it is a vase for flowers, another day it might beplaced somewhere to be purely decorative.
- Forget perfection. A rustic loook is all about slapdash functionality with a bit of prettiness thrown in. So what if there is a crack in a jug, a stain on an enamel jug or a bit of rust on your metal planters. It all adds up to give a vintage rustic look to your garden.