Every good garden enthusiast knows that yard sales and flea markets are a hotbed of outdoor decor treasures. From vintage gardening tools, to outdoor fountains, to charming pots and planters—field sales are some of the best places to find unique items for outdoor spaces. But finding that perfect item and getting it home for the price you want isn't as easy as it sounds. Check out some of these tips for unearthing fabulous finds and getting them into your garden for a steal.
When to go
Flea market junkies know the earlier you go the better the selection, but the later you go the better the prices. So when should you go? It depends what you're looking for. Large items, such as furniture, mirrors and light fixtures, tend to go first, so if that's what you're looking for, go early. Vendors will be less likely to negotiate at this time, but you won't run the risk of missing out on the best items.
If you're looking for accessories, such as vintage tools, watering cans and other small items, you can probably sleep in a little. These items aren't as sought after so they're not likely to disappear first thing in the morning. The selection later in the day should still be decent, and if you're lucky you might find some great deals. The great thing about buying items later in the day is that merchants will be more inclined to negotiate the price in order to avoid having to pack the items up again.
How to shop
The key to finding what you want at a field sale is to think outside the box and recognize the hidden gems others may have missed. People don't always understand or appreciate the value of vintage garden tools and accoutrements, so they can often be found in the back in dusty old bins. Dig around and check out what others may have missed or ignored.
Recognize the potential in everything. A weathered Trumeau mirror can be a stunning focal point in an outdoor room, as can a vintage light fixture or wall sconce. Wrought iron consoles, chairs, and accessories like birdcages all deserve consideration. Just because an item wasn't originally intended to be used outdoors it doesn't mean it can't be given new life in the garden.