Whether a handmade  motto for your border or a stamped metal antique, signs provide a graphic element that blends well with the surrounding organic forms of your yard.


rail road sign hanging on a fence behind hydrangeas and petunias

Made to attract attention, vintage signage, street markers, and traffic signs will add character to the garden with the ease of pounding in a nail or a stake.


rail road crossing sign hung on a fence above potted garden and patio

Purchase street and traffic signs from reputable dealers. They can sometimes tell you the history of the piece and assure you that a sign that may be old but not obsolete has not been removed illegally.


ice cream sign over a garden potting station

Because of their durability, intense colors, and patina, old metal advertising signs, often originally intended for display outdoors, are particularly welcome as garden art.


wooden arrow sign reading antiques over a garden bench

Wood signage will fade over time when exposed to the elements so if you find one you love and want to use it outside, seal it first with a few coats of polyurethane to preserve the graphics.


collections of garden signs hanging on a fence

You can zero in on a type of product, a brand, or a specific style, or assemble a collection of unrelated graphics that simply appeal to you.


Flea market booth with signs

Old signage can be found in all the likely places: auctions, flea markets, antique shops, and online vendors who specialize in vintage advertising. Prices usually reflect condition, age, and popularity of the motif or brand.


red keep calm and carry on sign

Keep in mind that many reproductions are available to offer that look of age for less cost.


Vintage water sign

Over a backyard pond, this old sign broadcasts an appropriate message.


Vintage scooter and metal sign on fence

This grouping of sign and scooter makes use of a common color palette to provide a cohesive display.


Venus Soap sign hanging above a green fern

Commercial signage often includes product slogans that add to the graphic’s character and whimsy.


pentagon Thames Conservancy registration sign from 1923

Old British boat licenses bring nautical flair to the garden. They’re especially effective when massed as a group.

These are just some of the ways we have used old signs in our gardens. We’d love to see what you have done. Post in the comments below.


© Caruth Studio

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