Landscaping With Old Farm Equipment as Yard Decor

Published June 1, 2022
Garden tools arranged on the porch in front of a small floral shop

With people's growing interest in cottage core, rural environments, and homesteading lifestyles, it's no surprise that the artifacts of this past way of life would enter the zeitgeist. Even if you don't live on a 100-year-old farm, landscaping with old farm equipment can give the exterior of your house the right vibe to create that idyllic vacation getaway scenery perfect for staycations all-year-round.

Old Farm Equipment to Use in Landscaping

Antique and vintage farm equipment comes in two varieties: the kind that's been left out in the elements for decades and has definitely seen better days, and the kind that's been kept up by legacy farmers and passionate collectors. Thankfully, both of these types can be integrated into your surrounding yard in a variety of ways.

Before you embark on mixing the modern with the antique, you should get an idea of the most versatile pieces of farm equipment for artistic and functional landscaping purposes:

Farmer's wall with lavender plants and pumpkins on wood
  • Farm wagons
  • Wagon wheels
  • Tractors
  • Wooden boxes
  • Aluminum jugs
  • Feed sacks
  • Farm tools (rakes, hoses, etc)
  • Watering cans

Great Ideas for Landscaping With Old Farm Equipment

It's time to say, 'out with the new and in with the old,' and get to putting together your ideal yard design. Just one antique tractor can give you endless options for cultivating a lived-in feeling to the space just outside of your home.

Get Creative With Unusual Planters

One of the easiest ways to incorporate old farm equipment into your latest landscaping plans is to feature them with whatever flora you love the most. Brightly colored flowers or luscious vegetables will give a lovely contrast to the faded and rusted appearances of these old tools. Farm wagons offer the greatest amount of space, while wheelbarrows, wooden boxes, milk jugs, and so on offer increasingly less space.

Milk cans decorated with flowers in a driveway

Note - Make sure to drill holes in whatever container you're using if it's not already adequately ventilated, as your plants and vegetables will need somewhere for the water to drain out of.

Make It a Seasonal Display

Old farm equipment can be endlessly rearranged or decorated with to display the changing seasons and upcoming holidays. While autumn, with Thanksgiving, Halloween, and other such holidays, is the best served by these agricultural motifs, the old equipment can work for other holidays just as well. Set up a quaint holiday corner of your yard with things like baskets, wheelbarrows, and wagons and your favorite decorations to create a tasteful touch of the holiday season and the perfect backdrop for your family's annual holiday card.

Old-fashioned wooden cart with Christmas decorations standing in snow

Create Folk Art

Folk art, with its unpretentious conventions and rich, homey reflections of the average human experience, has been made out of all kinds of unique materials, and old farm equipment has, too. You can easily outfit your planters or gardens with watering bucket chickens; add some paint to animate them and drill in some wire feet, and you've got your own outdoor sculpture. Similar ideas include:

  • Wind chimes made out of scrap metal
  • Garlands made out of feed sacks
  • Scarecrows made out of old farm tools like rakes

You don't have to be a trained artist to add a touch of whimsy to your manicured lawn.

Rock Your Wagon Wheel 100 Different Ways

If there's one relic of the agricultural past that people are most responsive to, it's the wagon wheel. These large wooden wheels with their elegant spokes have been around for hundreds of years, though only in the past few decades have they really transcended their defined purpose into something inherently aesthetic.

Decorative vintage wooden wheel hanging on the fence

Among the many things that you can do with an antique wagon wheel, a few popular options include:

  • Create a wagon wheel fence - Depending on what you're trying to keep in/out, you can use twine, wire, and other closures to affix large wagon wheels together to create a unique (if not super effective) fence.
  • Use them as trellises - If you're interested in doing any planting in your yard, you can use wagon wheels as a trellis to guide upwards growing plants like tomatoes and wisteria.
  • Embellish your outdoor seating - Adding wooden wagon wheels to the arms of your Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, and wooden benches can give the perfect quaint, rustic touch to your outdoor space.

Places to Find Old Farm Equipment for Your Next Project

Having the grand scheme in your head of what your next landscaping project should look like is all good and well, but what really matters is how you're going to pluck it from your brain and into real life. Finding the right pieces might feel like a task that's going to leave you dusty and dirty, and while hopping from rural community to rural community and seeing what their local antique stores has to offer is a good idea, there are far quicker ways to try to source the items you need. In fact, here are a few quick and simple places to look online for your vintage farm machines and tools:

  • eBay - Surprisingly, eBay is a great place to source old farm tools and machines, though you should be wary because the shipping costs for some of these larger machines will definitely shock you.
  • Etsy - Etsy is much like eBay with its assortment of old farm equipment. Yet, Etsy differs from eBay in that it has pre-made art, sculptures, and furniture crafted out of these repurposed items. Finding a lawn sculpture or refinished bench takes some of the hard work out of the landscaping process.
  • 1st Dibs - For items with higher credentials and larger values, 1st Dibs is the place to go. If you want a restored item in an appraisable condition, then you'll want to browse through 1st Dibs' inventory.
  • Facebook Marketplace - Interestingly, Facebook Marketplace is a community-sourced online market that lets you buy from the people around you; if you live in a rural area, it's a good spot to look into for larger items that would be expensive to ship to your location.
  • Antique Farm Equipment - Antique Farm Equipment operates like the classic print classifieds in a daily newspaper, but in a digital format. Post your own listings for things you'd like to sell, or see what others are trying to part with.

Design With History in Mind

Whether your project's big or small, there's a specific piece of old farm equipment out there that'll add the cherry on top of your landscaping plans. You're only limited by your imagination when you're bringing something from the past and putting it into the future, and old farm equipment is so versatile that there's no way you can go wrong.

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Landscaping With Old Farm Equipment as Yard Decor