Be it vintage pitchforks, steel watering cans, or a rusted garden hoe, there is something charming and entrancing about antique gardening tools. These can be a beautiful piece in the hands of the right gardener, adding a rustic aesthetic to a prized yard.
Throughout this article, we’re going to breakdown the whys, hows, and whats of owning your very own antique garden tools, what to look for, and what you can expect to pay.
Uses for Antique Garden Tools
Vintage garden tools can be used for a myriad of things, even despite their age. The main reason to buy antique garden tools is for the aesthetic, bringing in an aged feeling when walking amongst your perennials and evergreens.
The likes of vintage seed packets and old tools can look excellent when placed in key points around the garden, adding a unique touch to your backyard oasis.
Despite their satisfying visual appeal, there are many antique garden tools that remain useful in the field, some with specific uses or excellent build-quality that has allowed them to stay useful over the decades. Everything from classic potato scoops to asparagus knives are tailored to their designed usage.
So if you’re looking for a slice of classic botanic engineering, then here are some of our favourites and recommendations for what you can add to your yard.
Ornamental pieces are intended to liven up your garden and usher in a feeling found in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not only are these pieces of memorabilia great talking places, but they also look amazing when paired with a thought out and intimate garden space.
Average cost: $50 – $600
Vintage watering cans are typically made of steel or aluminum, with a distinct shape and presence that will add charm to a garden wall or a small patio patch. More expensive models, typically consisting of a copper or brass finish, can set you back anywhere between $100 – $600.
These are a solid choice for the avid antique collector. It’s also worth looking for local flea markets or swap-meets to hunt for a bargain as few know the true value of old watering cans.
Vintage seed packets can still be found and are sought after for their classic designs, beautiful art, and dated look. Collecting seed packets can be an enjoyable endeavor, as many countries had their own distinct artwork.
American seed packets, usually from the early 20th century, can cost anywhere between $5 – $20 depending on the condition. European packets, usually, from the 18th century and onwards, can fetch anywhere from $30 – $70 a pack due to their collectability.
French designs are a particularly popular collector’s piece thanks to the amazing artwork found on them.
Average cost: $5 – $200
One of the truly useful antique garden items, vintage plant pots can be a real gem in the garden. Typically ornate with handcrafted quality, older plant pots can be found with excellent craftsmanship and decorations that will add a unique touch to your backyard.
These vary wildly, with materials ranging from copper planters to Victorian ceramics. Definitely a conversation starter, and will be a conversation starter when placed in plain view.
Practical Antique Garden Tools
You don’t have to dedicate yourself to an Amish way of life just to find a use for some of these tools.
Many of these pieces of equipment were made with a simple approach that can still be favorable in certain gardens. Other tools are simply similar to their modern counterparts, but with the excellent build quality and sturdy materials.
Berry Picking Tools
Seen mostly in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, berry pickers were a truly useful device for pulling berries off of a bush. Although cheaper alternatives exist today, typically made of plastic, antique versions are a fun experience and are just as useful.
These will also look great when placed near your berry-producing plants, giving you the incentive to whittle away some time reaping your harvest.
There is a lot of choice in regards to vintage digging spades, be it the shape or utility of the spade or the quality of metal in which the blade is made of.
Old Marsh spades and Rabbiters can go for a pretty penny but are particularly useful thanks for digging trenches. Whereas large-headed spades are great at making short work out of digging holes.
If you are looking to invest in an antique spade, make sure to check what you intend to use it for or if you just want it as an ornament.
Antique Sheers and Secateurs
Antique sheers can be hard to pick up these days, due to them being surpassed by secateurs during the 19th century. Spring sheers can be bought for around $200 – $300 depending on condition, but are still a beautiful means to prune and trim your hedges.
Secateurs, on the other hand, are slightly more expensive but can be found with some excellent build-quality and materials. French models especially can be intricately designed, making them a nice decorative piece as well as practical.
Dibbers are a tool used to dig small holes for your seeds or bulbs and are mass-produced today. These cylindrical stabbers will plot the ground easily for you and allow you to get on with your sewing with relative ease.
No vintage collection is complete without something to reap the garden of all its harvest, in a particularly excessive fashion. Gardening scythes encapsulate everything farming was about before the 20th century, with it being used to real in the likes of wheat.
You may not have much practical use for this one outside of a farm, but it is a fun toy for the farmer. Also, wear a large black cloak, grab your scythe and you have an instant Halloween costume – versatility at its finest.
Similar to the scythe, pitchforks are instantly imagined when picturing a classic farm or garden. Used for all sorts of horticultural tasks, pitchforks still make a good tool for getting hay bails or grass clumps up, they can still be useful to the budding gardener. Antique pitchforks can be fun to have around the garden and will give your garden a vintage feel.
Gardeners the world over are starting to place intrigue in antique collectibles for their garden; It’s a means of adding something unique to a garden in a world in which everyone is turning to trends and guides on making their garden special, with vintage tools being that little bit extra.
If you want some other ideas to turn your garden into something different and unique, why not check out our landscaping ideas so that you can turn your yard into the best version it could be.