Rustic Garden Decor Inspiration

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 29 September 2014

With Spring well and truly on our doorstep, now is the time to dust off those secateurs, pull out those weeds, buy some new seeds and get planting!

But forget boring old pot plants, add some rustic charm to your backyard with creative and charming gardening containers- most of which you will find lying around the house, or at your local second hand store for a bargain!

So if you consider yourself a bit of a green thumb and think your backyard could use a bit of a makeover, here are some ideas that are sure to inspire.

Metal Galvanized Buckets & Tubs

almost anything can be a flower pot

Once reserved for the laundry, galvanised metal tubs and buckets have now made their way into the garden as a charming alternative to the standard pot plant.

  • Make sure you drill holes in the bottom to allow for adequate drainage.

  • Use an assortment of different styles and sizes arranged together for the best look.

  • Fill up with ice for an outdoor esky when entertaining


weathered old chairs make a great resting spot for flower pots

Old kitchen chairs are easy to find, and even easier to turn into a vintage inspired planter! All you have to do is remove the seat or cut a hole in it, make a frame to fit from chicken wire, line it with coconut fibre, fill it with potting mix and your favourite blooms and there you have it!

  • Paint it and sand it back to give it a more lived in look, or add embellishments to make it unique!

  • Unless they are designed for outdoor use, they will need regularly painting and sealing to help withstand the weather.


wheelbarrows make great flower beds

The humble wheelbarrow can be transformed into a charming garden piece for your backyard. No matter the make or style, any wheelbarrow with a lick of paint and some pretty plants will be a welcome addition to your garden.

  • Scour second hand stores for more vintage metal and wooden wheelbarrows.

  • Be sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.

  • Plant all your favourite herbs and turn it into a mini herb garden.

  • Using a metal wheelbarrow- spray with a rust protectant to help prolong its life.


ladders are ideal for hanging flower pots

Not only do they save space if your backyard is more so on the small side, but ladders make for a standout feature in any rustic inspired backyard. Add flowers, succulents, veggies, herbs, and be sure to give it some colour to match the rest of your garden decor.

  • To help increase it’s durability be sure to give it regular coats of paint or oil.

  • To add to it’s rustic charm, use galvanised buckets, old worn pot plants, or old timber boxes or tins as the planters.

  • A ladder also makes a great roost and play piece should you have backyard chickens!

Bird Cages

a bird cage with flowers is a beautiful decorative piece

No longer have a bird, but still have that lovely old bird cage you just can’t bear to part with? Turn it into a stunning garden piece that is sure to attract plenty of compliments! Simply line the bottom of the cage with coconut fibre and plant flowers and shrubbery that will fill the cage and spill out the sides- a real masterpiece!

  • These look great hung up outdoors or underneath a patio or verandah. They look equally impressive stacked on a log, chair or garden ladder.

  • Older vintage styles look best, but more modern bird cages work as well.

  • Ensure there is drainage through the bottom, and not to add too much, as they will not bear the largest amount of weight.

  • Add succulents for a different take.

Wine Barrels

wine barrels make for great flower beds

If you are lucky enough to be able to get your wine barrels, they make for an easy and low-maintenance gardening solution, especially if you have limited space- and they are sure to look fabulous along with your garden ladder and wheelbarrow planters! Veggies, flowers and herbs will all thrive in a wine barrel planter, proudly displaying your horticultural talents!

  • For the best success, drill several holes in the bottom of the barrel for drainage, add a piece of landscape cloth to fill the inside diameter and then empty some stones in the bottom. Fill the barrel with planting mix, leaving 2 inches free at the top, then go crazy planting!

  • Be sure to note, that once this one is filled with stones and soil it will be incredibly heavy, so best to have it in your desired location before beginning.

  • If you’re planting veggies- remember to choose varieties that have been especially developed to grow in containers. Our favourites? Cherry tomatoes and salad greens-yum!

Wine Boxes & Crates

If you like to buy your wine by the box, or can get your hands on one from your local winery or liquor store, wine boxes will make a very aesthetically pleasing planter for your garden. Just drill some holes in the bottom for drainage purposes, coat it with a weathershield protectant oil or paint, line the inside with a plastic planter liner, then just add plants!

  • We love the look of these with a slick coat of timber oil, filled with seasonal herbs or an arrangement of succulents.

  • Fix them to a wall for your very own vertical garden!

Tin Cans

almost anything can be a flower pot

Don’t throw away those old soup cans- with a green thumb and a few clever ideas, they can be repurposed and turned into some very visually pleasing pot plants! There are thousands of ways you can transform your tin can collection into a thriving little garden- it just depends on what style you’re going for.  How about spray painting them white and adding some burlap for vintage chic feel, or maybe painting them bright quirky colours is more your style?

  • Fix them to a pole or wall for a quick and easy vertical garden, or hang them from your patio roof.

  • Create a herb garden by using blackboard paint to create labels for each tin!

Sources and further reading