Type to search

Antiques in the Garden


Renew your landscape with something old. A unique antique serves as a stunning focal point around which your garden design can flow. Be sure to choose something that was originally meant for the outdoors, or can be safely repurposed for exterior use. 

Benevolent Guardians {1}shop1

This pair of Korean marble statues from the late 19th century represents the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva of Compassion. Their garments and jewelry indicate that they could’ve been made for a temple or a personal shrine. When Nellie Graff, wife of grain broker Louis Graff, saw the statues at the John Wanamaker department store, she tried to purchase them but was told they weren’t for sale. The persuasive Nellie requested a personal meeting with Wanamaker himself, and he sold her the pieces in 1904. Now this beautiful statuary can bring peace and serenity to your garden.

Antique Marble Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Sculptures from the John Wanamaker Collection, late 19th century $18,000 for the pair; 67” high x 18” wide x 11” deep
Garden Accents
West Conshohocken, Pa.

Shop2The Original Patio Furniture {2}

In 18th-century America, Windsor chairs and settees were used as garden furniture. Open spindles permitted the cooling circulation of air, while lightweight construction and durable materials made outdoor use possible. A painted surface provided additional protection against the elements. This crafted settee was featured in Charles Santore’s book, The Windsor Style in America. Now a piece of history can be yours.

Pennsylvania Knuckle Arm Windsor Settee in Wood with Old Red Paint, circa 1780 $23,000; 84” long
Philip H. Bradley Co.
Downingtown, Pa.

Steering You Right {3}Shop3

The winds of change may blow, but this stylized steer weathervane withstands the test of time. Attributed to Cushing & White of Waltham, Mass., the size and body detailing of this circa-1875-1890 piece are exceptional. The head and horns are full-body copper, not casted. A curvilinear shape and an untouched original verdigris surface put this weather vane at the top of its category. This fabulous steer points the way toward show-stopping outdoor décor.

Steer Weather Vane, attributed to Cushing & White, circa 1875-1890 $32,500; 23.75” high x 30.5” wide
Tillou Gallery
Litchfield, Ct.

Shop4French Flair {4}

Call to mind a summer’s day in the south of France by welcoming this circa-1890 table into your landscape. Its sturdy iron base and new crema marfil marble top evoke the outdoor café in Montpellier, France, where Gary Friedman spotted this charming find. Accessorize it with flowerpots of colorful blooms and fragrant herbs to create your own backyard Riviera. 

French Country Table, Iron Base and New Crema Marfil Marble Top, circa 1890 $5,900, currently on sale for $3,900 (mention this column for an additional discount); 33.5” high x 54.5” wide x 33.5” deep 
Country French Collection
Adamstown, Pa.

The Light Touch {5}Shop5

Every designer knows how important lighting is to interior décor. The same is true for your outdoor room.  What better way to illuminate the setting and create a mood than this antique cast-iron espalier? Fashioned circa 1920 and still with its original paint, this whimsical wall decoration is also functional: Each flower can hold a candle or an LED light. 

Painted Cast-Iron Espalier, circa 1920 $3,800; 49” high x 47” wide x 6” deep
Milne Inc. Antiques • Custom Design • Interiors, Kingston and New York, N.Y.

Shop6False Wood is Truly Extraordinary {6}

Faux bois (false wood) pieces get their rustic look not from trees but from cast iron, cast stone or cement. This one-of-a-kind Belgian planter from the 1920s has four flowers on a base. Its large size makes a memorable statement. Drainage holes make it a practical planter, but get this: If you keep it in a shady area, the moss on the stone will come alive. What a fabulous connection to the past!

Belgian Faux Bois Planter, Four Flowers on Base, Stone, 1920s $9,800; 39” high, 31” diameter of each flower, 60” total diameter.
Balsamo, New York, N.Y.

Youthful Fountain {7}Shop7

No outdoor space is complete without a water feature. This delightful bronze fountain of a boy holding a frog was found on a New Jersey estate. It’s American made, from the early 20th century. Enjoy relaxing in your garden as you listen to the soothing sound of water and view the sweet scene. That’s outdoor living at its best.

Fountain, Boy with Frog, Early 20th century, American $1,500; 32” high
Aileen Minor Garden Antiques
Centreville, Md.

Previous Article