Finding Garden Furniture at the Flea Market

Now that summer is upon us it is the perfect time to check out the local flea market and find bargains, such as outdoor furniture, that can be used in the garden. I spent the first Sunday of the month at the Alameda monthly flea market and came across a number of garden worthy items. If you decide that sourcing out garden furniture and other garden related items at the flea market is for you hear are a few things to keep in mind.

When going to the flea market always be prepared for surprises and be ready to deal with impulse buying. Just as important, know when to negotiate an agreeable price or when to walk away. Some research and a little know-how can go a long way when hunting for retro outdoor furnishings, lights, pottery or lawn ornaments.

Be sure to ask a few questions to the dealer about the piece you are interested in. “Do you know the manufacture?” “What is the history; did you own it or acquire it from some on else?” All of this information can help you make a decision on to buy or not.

When searching for outdoor furniture for lawn, patio or porch be sure to look for pieces that are sturdy and in good condition. Remember that most pieces of garden furniture can be repainted or powder coated. So don’t let rust, chipping paint or other signs of wear keep you from buying a piece you are drawn to.

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At times the big question may be; how do you know you are getting an authentic piece of old garden furniture? It is best to become familiar with the subject by looking through vintage home and garden magazines and furniture books. Another way is to go on to on-line sites like eBay.

Don’t limit yourself to “pedigree” garden furnishings. Many industrial implements and mechanical part can be used as instant art when hung on a wall, fence, or place next to a garden gate. Large decorative mirrors, clock faces, metal buckets and olive urns fall into this category. The larger the piece the better, as the great outdoor tends to make items appear smaller.

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You may find neglected furniture and decorative objects, meant for indoor use, the perfect item for a covered patio or porch. I found metal iron day beds, large plaster bust and wood screens just waiting to shine again. Not in the home but in the garden.


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Be on the lookout for old urns and vases. Everything from formal Medici iron urns to faux bois pottery can be found at the flea market. Grouped together, with or without plants, they make a dramatic focal point.


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Great patio or porch seating can be found in the form of metal gliders, iron swing sets and iron chairs. Here are some examples I came across.


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Lastly, the various styles of dinning sets are vast. I came across sets made of metal and wood. Some sets are ready to use others need cushions for comfortable seating. Again here are some beauties.


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I hope this inspires you to check out the flea market when looking for a unique piece of garden furnishings.