Rustic Garden Ideas and Design for Backyard

Suppose you desire a rustic garden filled with inspiration, ideas, and decor with a lived-in feel. In that case, a great way is to add some vintage garden decoration from flea markets, auctions, and garage sales to give it a casual country landscape design.

I have enjoyed gardening for several years, and there isn’t an activity that I find more rewarding. I love a cottage garden style with beautiful flowers and small trees. Relaxing on the porch of the rustic garden shed, planting new flowers, or plucking weeds from the flower gardens, I relish my time working amongst the flowers creating rustic designs.

small rustic garden shed

What is a Rustic Garden Style?

Rustic garden style is full of charm and character. Using authentic, natural, one-of-a-kind pieces, rustic garden designs should feel cozy and casual for the whole family to enjoy. This space brings me back to the times where everything was more simple with a natural look.

A rustic garden is created with a love for repurposing everyday objects or antique finds into gorgeous unique planters. Rustic vintage gardens are generally very informal, with borders made of natural wood materials, such as rocks or timber.

While creating a rustic garden will vary with creative ideas, the unique look will offer creative, eye-catching beauty for everyone to enjoy.

homemade garden sign

The journey to creating a rustic country garden begins with browsing through flea markets and antique shops. It is spending the day attending an auction or going to local yard sales. Next, start searching for old-fashioned treasures from years gone by. For example, metal buckets, wheelbarrows, ladders, barrels, vintage sinks, or other related pieces would add a rustic feel to the garden.

Creating a rustic garden is a slow process that slowly evolves and changes over time, allowing the gardener to enjoy the process of creating. At times, it is learning to be content with the simplistic joy of waiting for the next perfect treasure to come along that can be used for rustic garden ideas.

How Do You Make a Rustic Garden?

  1. Choose a Space: The first step in creating a rustic garden is choosing a perfect place to establish one. Consider an outdoor area around a garden shed or the space around the edge of the home.
  2. Plant Perennials: When designing a new flower garden area, first begin planting perennials. It is important to consider the size of the perennial once it is fully grown. This will help determine where the plant should be placed. If it is tall plants, they will be placed in the back, while shorter plants are placed in the front of the flower garden.
  3. Place Weed Barrier: To help prevent weeds, it is a good idea to add a layer of weed barrier after planting perennials. The best free option is cardboard, but Weed Barrier Paper is also a great option. The paper degrades naturally, like cardboard, enriching the soil for next year.
  4. Add Mulch: Once perennials are planted, add a layer of about 3 inches of mulch to help retain moisture, increase soil nutrition, and reduce weeds.
  5. Add in Garden Treasures: Once mulch has been placed, begin placing fun antique pieces into the flower beds. The wonderful thing about the collected vintage pieces is that they can be moved as the surrounding plants grow and fill in. Vintage garden planters are often moved around as they are not permanent fixtures, and they can fill the void in empty spaces.
  6. Plant Containers: Most of the rustic pieces I use in my garden can be garden planters. The last step in creating a rustic garden is to fill those containers with pretty flowers.
  7. Be Patient: A beautiful garden takes time to grow, and it can take up to three years for perennials to begin to reach their full size. As the plants grow and fill in space, the rustic garden decor pieces can be moved to accommodate the space best.

Rustic Garden Decor Ideas

Filling a space with flowers is the heart of rustic garden decor. While I have been collecting various old-fashioned garden treasures for several years, I genuinely love making them look stunning by adding flowers. So come along, and I will share with you some of my very personal favorite planters that add a rustic touch to the garden.

Rustic Garden Planters

You can use various containers for planters: metal buckets, old farmhouse sinks, whisky barrels, nail kegs, old wheelbarrows, and galvanized washtubs. Using different forms of containers will help obtain a more natural rustic look.

The most crucial factor is ensuring that there are drainage holes at the bottom of the containers. One of the best ways to add drainage holes is to drill holes in the bottom of the buckets, tubs, or pails. Another easy way is to use a hammer and nail to poke a hole into the bottom of the container. After hammering the nail into the bottom of the bucket, pull the nail back out and then hammer more holes around the bottom.

Plant containers with thrillers, spillers, and fillers to create gorgeous impactful displays for maximum effect. I use a flower garden theme almost every year to create simple designs in all-white blooms with variegated foliage.

1. Rustic Wooden Wheelbarrow Planter

Vintage wooden wheelbarrows are a perfect fit in the rustic garden. Simple, rustic, and full of patina, they add a rustic antique feel to any garden. Wheelbarrows are significant assets in the garden as they help to add prominence to a rustic landscape. Instead of filling the wheelbarrow with soil and flowers, set a container inside the wheelbarrow, and then fill it with your favorite flowers, such as shade Impatiens.

wheelbarrow planters

2. Metal Wheelbarrow Planter

This old metal green wheelbarrow was a win at a local auction. It has been given a second life in the flower garden, serving as a rustic garden planter. Filled with Dracena Spike, Sun Patients, Geraniums, and Licorice, this garden wheelbarrow is a beautiful, charming planter with its faded green paint, rusty handle, and old wheels.

3. Galvanized Planters

For a rustic country look, galvanized tubs or troughs also make lovely garden planters. They can be found in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and different heights. Just ensure that holes are drilled in the bottom of the container to provide water drainage.

This galvanized tub becomes a beautiful rustic garden planter with white Phlox, surrounded by a Weeping Pussywillow Tree and Wee White Hydrangeas. Another simple idea is an old round galvanized bucket filled with white Impatiens.

galvanized flower planter

4. Wash Tub Planters on Stands

Use an antique galvanized wash tub planter with a stand in the landscape to create a dazzling flowering display. Creating a unique container gardening idea, old wash tubs can be packed with annuals or perennials, forming a brilliant season-long vivid arrangement.

Old antique wash tubs with stands are often found at flea markets, but they can be very costly. Purchasing new replicas is a more affordable option, and with time, they will wear and add rustic patina to the flower garden.

galvanized washtub planters for flowers

5. Wash Tub Planters Round or Square

As a gardener, always be on the lookout for old wash tubs, in either the round or square size. The price for one is generally reasonable, and it seems as though they can be found quite often at flea markets and antique shops.

Galvanized wash tubs were built to last, and therefore they are the perfect option for leaving outside year-round. Many of the wash tub planters I have are very old and still in great shape, as they don’t rust since zinc was applied to the metal surface.

6. Old Kitchen Sink Planters

Old cast iron sinks can be used in a rustic garden as a beautiful flower planter. Many of them already have drainage holes, and so all that is needed is soil and plants. It is best to plant annuals in shallow containers, like sinks, as there is no space for the roots to spread and grow year after year.

garden sink planter

7. Old Barrel Planters

Whisky barrel planters can serve as the highlight of a rustic garden. Used for a dramatic centerpiece for a garden or tucked in the back to add different levels of visual height, they can be filled with a lovely mass planting of white flowers. There are half-barrel planters and then the full size, as shown below.

If using a full-size barrel, tip a 5-gallon bucket upside down inside the barrel. Then, place a plastic garden container filled with flowers on top of the bucket. This allows for new flowers to be planted each year and keeps the barrel easy to move if the need arises.

Rustic Backyard Landscaping Design Ideas

A garden shed or potting shed plays a key part in landscaping a rustic garden area. The country-style garden shed has become a focal point for storing garden tools, plant supplies, beekeeping tools, or taking a break on hot summer days.

My country garden shed sits tucked under several old tall trees and offers a garden retreat to wind down after a long day. Here, I can work, enjoy a cup of coffee, watch the sunrise or sunset and enjoy the seating area on the porch with the children.

rustic garden shed landscaping ideas

Rustic Garden Ideas for Small Outdoor Space

With a bit of imagination, you can create the perfect spot for rustic gardening in small spaces. While you may not have the outside area for large wheelbarrows or galvanized washtubs, you can use various other architectural features.

Metal Bed Frame

Next to the raised vegetable garden beds in our backyard, there is a small area where I have used a metal bed frame. The frame is pushed into the ground and has Hollyhocks growing in front of it. Another great idea would be to grow a trellising perennial such as a Clematis on the metal bed frame. Using tall vintage decorative elements is the perfect way to garden in small spaces.

Small Galvanized Buckets

Creating a beautiful rustic flower garden in a small front yard or on a porch can also be achieved by planting flowers into smaller galvanized metal buckets. The porch space on my small garden shed has very little room to have flowers. However, it is the perfect spot for a few rusty old galvanized buckets, perfect for rustic decor in a small space near the front door.

Container gardening is a splendid idea, particularly for those who have a small space but want to make a charming display with colorful flowers using different plants. In the example below, I chose to use white Impatiens in a grouping with another old metal bucket and a watering can.

pictures of sheds with porches

Window Boxes

Need a little more flower gardening space? Try going vertical and adding a DIY window box below your home or shed window. I made a simple window box using Cedar that will last for years to come without causing any damage to the wood on the building. Perfect for simple annuals, like Impatiens, a window box provides color and texture without taking up any space in a small yard or flower bed.

Small Wooden Step Ladder

Another beautiful vertical garden idea is to use a small wooden step ladder. Add plants in containers to the steps of the old ladder to create a visual appeal of flowers at different levels to create a rustic design style.

Rustic Gardens Decor and Essentials

this post contains affiliate links; this means that I make a tiny commission off any purchase that you may make. this small commission helps keep Rocky Hedge Farm going at no additional cost to you. please see my disclosure policy for more information.

you can find my favorite kitchen essentials can be located in my Amazon storefront – while I often try to link to the exact products you see in my photos and videos, many times, my pieces are vintage and often thrifted. however, I try to find and link replicas as much as I can which are made in the USA or by other small shops as I believe in supporting hardworking American families.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by Rocky Hedge Farm today. Although hard work is involved in creating a rustic garden, I hope that this post has given you some creative ideas and inspiration to make your rustic garden haven.

old wheelbarrow planter

How to Create a Rustic Garden Design for Backyard

If you desire a rustic garden filled with inspiration, ideas, and decor with a lived-in feel, a great way is to add some vintage garden decoration from flea markets, auctions, and garage sales to give it a casual country landscape design.

Materials

  • Twin Wash Tub Stand with Drains
  • Small Wagon Decorative Garden Planter
  • Authentic Kentucky Bourbon/Whiskey Barrel
  • Metal Planters on Stands
  • Weed Barrier Paper
  • Watering Can
  • Mulch
  • Potting Mix

Tools

Instructions

How Do You Make a Rustic Garden?

Choose a Space: The first step in creating a rustic garden is choosing a perfect place to establish one. Consider an outdoor area around a garden shed or the space around the edge of the home.

Plant Perennials: When designing a new flower garden area, first begin planting perennials. It is important to consider the size of the perennial once it is fully grown. This will help determine where the plant should be placed. If it is tall plants, they will be placed in the back, while shorter plants are placed in the front of the flower garden.

Place Weed Barrier: To help prevent weeds, it is a good idea to add a layer of weed barrier after planting perennials. The best free option is cardboard, but Weed Barrier Paper is also a great option. The paper degrades naturally, like cardboard, enriching the soil for next year.

Add Mulch: Once perennials are planted, add a layer of about 3 inches of mulch to help retain moisture, increase soil nutrition, and reduce weeds.

Add in Garden Treasures: Once mulch has been placed, begin placing fun antique pieces into the flower beds. The wonderful thing about the collected vintage pieces is that they can be moved as the surrounding plants grow and fill in. Vintage garden planters are often moved around as they are not permanent fixtures, and they can fill the void in empty spaces.

Plant Containers: Most of the rustic pieces I use in my garden can be garden planters. The last step in creating a rustic garden is to fill those containers with pretty flowers.

Be Patient: A beautiful garden takes time to grow, and it can take up to three years for perennials to begin to reach their full size. As the plants grow and fill in space, the rustic garden decor pieces can be moved to accommodate the space best.

Thank you for sharing!

8 thoughts on “Rustic Garden Ideas and Design for Backyard”

  1. Good ideas except for the whiskey barrel! Don’t drill holes into the bottom but instead place a container inside the barrel, with the requisite holes! Wooden barrels need moisture to maintain the integrity of its wood. Any drainage water that collects at the bottom will be soaked up by the barrel, thus helping to preserve it. We also throw our barrels in the pond to soak if they start to shrink. This is the biggest reason the metal rings fall down or off. When watering, just douse the wooden staves with a bit of water, too.

    Reply
  2. I love all you beautiful ideas and your yard. I have old chairs, buckets and wash tubs and I love using them. Thanks so much, pinned and have a great 4th of July

    Reply
  3. Hi Sarah, we live in a single wide mobile home so there’s not too much outside decorating. We live in a park so we have neighbors on all sides. I do as much as I can decorating the outside with rustic and old. I love love love your wheel barrel and all your barrels and all your metal buckets. I’d like to work them into my beds. Thank you for all the inspiration.

    Reply
  4. Fabulous ideas. I love the white blooming flowers mixed with the beautiful green leaves/branches in the galvanized tubs. Love your rusted garden. Thanks for the tip from one of your followers Donna W. About wooden barrels. I did not know that, and often wonder why the rings fall from around them.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Skip to Instructions