Flea Market Shopping List–Garden Edition!

True confession time! I totally screwed up on my recent trip to the flea market!

One would think I would have learned by now!  After all, I have loved flea market style since I was in college.  Probably because I needed inexpensive home decor at that point in my life, but through the years it has transitioned into a statement of my personality. Something that makes my home uniquely me. I’m a big believer in staying true to yourself and designing your surroundings in a way that makes you comfortable and happy despite whether or not it is the current trend.

  One of my hard and fast rules for myself when finding a truly unique item is that, if the budget allows, one should buy an item when you see it!  Let’s face it, many flea market events are only for a limited time and involve out of town vendors so you can’t go back in a couple of days to get something you originally passed on.

Last weekend I broke my own rule! You see, I ran onto a vendor that had all sorts of vintage galvanized pieces that she had cut designs or quotes into using a laser cutter.  She had so many really sweet pieces, but the one that caught my eye as a potential piece for the cottage on the creek was a galvanized tub that had been adorned with a bird sitting on a flowered branch that encircled the top of the container.  I went back and looked at it twice!  And, it was a great price!  I would have to pay the same price, or likely more, for a plain one in the antique shops back home. But, you guessed it, I didn’t buy it.

Flea Market Shopping Sign

 I know! I’m not sure what I was thinking! Actually I do know what I was thinking. Something along the lines of . . .

it’s fall and I need to look for fallish type items,

it’s not container planting season,

and, hey, it’s not on my shopping list for this trip!

So I left the flea market that day without the galvanized container with the sweet bird design.  When I got home and went out to water the potted plants, guess what I remembered!  My large herb garden pot has a giant crack in it and that sweet galvanized container with the bird on a branch  would have been a perfect replacement!

That’s when it hit me!  I forgot my own flea market shopping advice!  I forgot about “The Wild Card”!

I’d like to say it was because of the heat, but it was a very pleasant day compared to the year we stumbled upon the disheveled table at the very same sale that the Wildman would ultimately transform into coffee table perfection!

Or, perhaps, the fact that the tub was only a $34 item didn’t make the “Wild Card” alarm go off in my head!

Hunger does have to shoulder a bit of the blame since, because I was trying to be good, I had abstained from buying a funnel cake to hold me over until dinner.

The truth, however, is that I let myself get so consumed by the immediate list of seasonal needs that I neglected to keep myself open to what I might legitimately need for future seasons.

With fall offering some of the best flea market and vintage sale events, it is the prime time to pick up garden items at great prices! So to remedy the situation as I head to another vintage sale at the end of this week, I am amending my personal flea market shopping list for this month to include garden art and containers.  Currently I have several pots that have seen better days and are in need of replacing in the near future.

To help me get focused I used a Pinterest secret board to put together some ideas of the types of flea market items I need to be looking for. That way I have both a list and pictures with me to refer to.  I’m sharing my list with you in the slide show below.  Most of these pictures can be pinned from their original source by clicking on the picture if you want to add the idea to your own list of garden needs!


Flea Market buckets, basins and pots for planting. Galvanized or enamelware, any kind will do!
Flea market galvanized containers of all sorts make wonderfully unique planters!
Flea market vendors offer a wide variety of goods. Be on the look out for hand crafted items like these willow cloches that are wonderful for protecting tender plants from being eaten by rabbits or stepped on by humans!
Flea market garden statuary always captures my attention! These cast iron bunnies are awesome! I love them used in multiples for impact!
Flea Market olive baskets are all the rage! They can be used as light fixtures, organizational containers, or planters. They look especially good with small trees in them!
Flea market drawers are typically inexpensive and easy to find. Use them to plant or as organization for your potting bench!
Flea market drawers are typically inexpensive and easy to find. Use them to plant or as organization for your potting bench!
Flea market sewing machine cabinet provides the perfect venue to support a large planter!
Flea market toy trucks are so fun to use for planting or indoor decor.
Flea market vintage fire engine makes the perfect whimsical planter!
Flea market vintage crate supported by old wagon wheels make it easy to move your planter from one spot to another!
Flea market bicycle adds whimsy to the porch and provides room for planting!
Flea market chair provides the perfect "seat" for planting fun!
Flea market garden urns come in a wide variety of price points. Look for condition and novel shapes!
Flea market bird house makes a great statement in your garden!
Flea market farm cart makes a fabulous piece of garden art for planting!
Let's start with metal buckets, basins or pots of any kind! Galvanized is my first love, but enamelware or ironware work also. Keep a list of sizes you need for next spring!


So, it is off to the flea market for me! Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how I fare! And I promise to follow my own rules!!! 


Follow along with me at Designing Wilder on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to be the first to find out about my adventures in DIY designing!


Hugs ’til next time!
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Fall means the flea market is ripe for the picking and vintage sales are abundant making it the best time to score containers & garden art for next year!

11 thoughts on “Flea Market Shopping List–Garden Edition!

  1. I hate it when I see something and don’t buy it and come to regret it. Now I either don’t go shopping so I’m not tempted or tell myself if you see it, buy it, within reason of course 🙂 I hope you find some cute flower pots even nicer this next flea market trip.

  2. So fun! I want to go with you! This is something I truly love to do with my girlfriends. We get a lot of laughs from nostalgic ideas of the past and just quirky things too. Plus I usually have a wish list that I’m looking for.

  3. Pam

    I have the opposite problem! I usually end up with something I had no intention of buying. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not. Either way, it’s fun!

  4. Why do we do that?! I’ve passed on things because they were $10 instead of the $5 I wanted to pay only to have them haunt me for weeks. I usually make those mistakes early in the morning. I’m just not capable of making good buying choices before about 10. Not a good trait for someone in my business. LOL

  5. Isn’t it funny how we experienced flea/thrift shoppers still make that golden mistake every now and then?? I have an antique store and I always caution my shoppers to grab it when they see it! At the risk of seeming pushy, I hate the look on the disappointed shopper who comes back for THAT item and it is gone!

  6. Hi Terri!
    It struck me…what a great idea for a Pinterest board you’ve got! And yes, I’ve done all of that at flea markets…kicking myself later of course. I do it at yard sales…see something I think I want, but walk around first, and then somebody else comes & swipes up the thing I want. You’ll do better next time (maybe) wink wink.

  7. the one that got away…. I have a few of those myself. You’d think at our age, we’d know better, right?

    Hoping you find something just as perfect on a future hunt!


  8. I can’t begin to tell you how many times that has happened to me in the past. I’ve really been making an effort to buy it on the spot or if I go back and it’s not there, I try to let it go…but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Anyways, it’s been great meeting you, Terri, through this awesome blog hop!

  9. You have some great thoughts. I am always spotting two of one thing and only buying one. Then I get home sorry I didn’t get the other. Why do I do that time after time? Even afyer sll these years of experience. 😊

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