By May 25, 2014 Decorate, Vintage No Comments

In case you haven’t caught on (honestly, where have you been?!) I really gravitate toward junk. As many veteran “junkers” will tell you – the secret to incorporating cast-offs into your home is to mix it with new. Items that, by themselves, are old, quirky, and – yes – even ugly, can take on a whole new life when mixed with polished, new and pretty. To add a little character and charm to your home’s exterior – you can use the same rule of thumb. AND save a little dough in the process.

Landscaping can get pricey! To help keep costs low when decorating outdoors, I always look to estate and garage sales and vintage markets. A healthy dive (or climb as it may be) into my mom’s attic is always fun too! Here are a few of my favorites outside my own home.

A rusty antique wash tub makes a perfect planter and can give your arrangement some attractive height.

I picked up this vintage Radio Flyer wagon at Dysart’s Back Roads Vintage Market last year. See?! Another great reason you should go on June 21. If you haven’t seen my recent posts – I happen to be a vendor  at the event this year (wink, wink). Add an old produce crate to the wagon, and it’s a great way to bring a little order to this random grouping of clay pots. If you decide to use a wagon for a planter, it’s a good idea to place pots inside vs. planting directly in the wagon. From time to time, I like to remove the pots from my wagon and dump out any standing water. It will keep the bottom of the wagon from rusting out. Unless, of course, the wagon is already rusty. In that case – plant away!!!  And, yes, I <heart> my dogs!

Oh pagoda how I love thee! My grandma had a much taller pagoda in her garden and I had been looking for one after she passed away. I scored this lovely at an estate sale last summer for $15!!! It lives in my butterfly garden. Swoon…

Another rusty wagon and a primitive box anchor these two pots of annuals, which were SUPER cheap.  More on that in a minute.

Thanks, Mom, for this lady in red. She was missing the caning on her seat so I introduced her to a can of spray paint and hauled her out to the butterfly garden. What a great planter! She and the pagoda play so well together.

Another score from an estate sale is this lovely bird feeder. It’s made from a Ball canning jar, a poultry feeder, a ceramic plate and a glass candle holder. I was going to attempt to make one of these myself until I saw it hiding in a garage for only $6! Woo hoo!

An aspect of landscaping that can really suck you dry is the plants themselves. I have a couple of favorite sources that I visit nearly every year to help keep costs low.

If you enjoy gardening and you’ve never been to the Green Scene of Black Hawk County Plant Sale, you really must put it on your calendar for next year. It is typically held early in May on the Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo, and features a plethora of perennials. Several plant donations are collected throughout the Cedar Valley as a fundraiser for Green Scene and then resold at a very low cost. For a small donation, you can attend the preview event on Friday and get the first pick. Otherwise, the general public is invited to attend on Saturday. The prices are unbeatable and the variety of perennials is amazing!

One of the best kept secrets when it comes to annual flowers is Aldi. Yes, you read it right! That quirky little grocery store that carries odds and ends that are significantly discounted compared to other grocers, is also a gold mine for potted flowers, as well as the occasional perennial. And we’re back to those cheap pots I referenced earlier. In the spring, at least two of Aldi’s weekly ads will include hanging annual baskets for $5.99!!! Variety in the type of plant is usually lacking, but nevertheless, it has been my saving grace for filling my pots year after year. The first time Aldi runs the ad, it is usually early in the spring, long before most people start to think about potting. I usually hit them up anyway and store the baskets on my breezeway or in my garage until the threat of frost has passed. You just can’t beat the price! I usually venture back when the second ad hits because the variety is usually different from the first go around. Even if you don’t have a lot of need for hanging plants, or don’t like the style of pot, it’s an economical way to fill your own collection because the flowers are easily transplanted. If you’re not up for transplanting – did you know the hanger on hanging plastic baskets is removable at the base? And if it isn’t – just cut it off! In addition to flowers you can pick up some other gardening supplies for a really great price at Aldi. Other purchases I’ve made over the years are window boxes, a bird feeder station, bird bath and knockout roses.

Wire window boxes purchased from Aldi’s.

So there you have it, folks. Beautifying your yard for summer doesn’t have to break the bank. Get a little creative and think outside the planter box! You just might find some incredible steals when you look beyond the traditional home and garden stores.

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