Garden ornaments and furniture

Plenty of items that will enhance your garden are available to buy at auctions on thesaleroom.com.

Stone garden urn

One of a set of eight reconstituted stone garden urns from the 20th century, 40 cm high, that sold at Sworders in December 2019 for £550.

Offered in either specialist auctions or as part of wider sales, many of the ornaments, statues and pieces of garden furniture come within reach of the average wallet or purse.

It has become an increasingly trendy market, as more and more people are realising that salvage and reclaimed items can make highly attractive garden displays.

Placing a bid at an auction to acquire something different for your garden is fun, and if you’re new to auctions you can read our guide on how to buy at auction.

What to look for

Garden ornaments and furniture of many shapes, sizes, styles and functions are offered every week at auction.

The wide variety of objects available includes statues, urns, benches, seats, sundials, bird baths, plant stands, pots, plinths, cisterns, troughs, weathervanes and architectural fragments.

On occasion, you can also find water features such as fountains.

When looking for items on thesaleroom.com, it’s a good to have an idea of the size of item you are looking for. If you’re searching for a garden table for example, you can find pieces suitable for large families or lots of guests, or more compact examples more suited to a smaller patio.

Look through the descriptions of individual lots where the dimensions will be noted.

Whether you’re seeking an antique piece or something more modern, there’s a few further ways to search for that perfect purchase.

You may, for example, decide to focus on the type of material used to make the item – wood, natural stone, marble, slate, limestone, sandstone or even Coade stone (which looks like stone but is actually a ceramic).

Coalbrookdale seats date from the Victorian period and are made of iron. They are always popular not just for their function of sitting outside but also as an attractive piece of garden design.

Coalbrookdale-style cast iron garden seat

A Coalbrookdale-style cast iron garden seat which sold for £680 at Sworders in June 2019.

Blanchard & Company were another Victorian manufacturer making ornamental garden sculptures, most frequently from terracotta.

Indeed, when it comes to garden statues, you’ll find lots of types and forms to choose from. Western European styles include copies of antiquities which have remained popular since the days of the 18th century ‘Grand Tour’ such as the Roman god Mercury or representations of the Four Seasons. Eastern subjects such as Buddhist or Hindu figures can also be found commonly at auctions, so there’s much to explore whatever your taste.

Condition

Unlike items bought for interiors, condition is less important when it comes to buying second-hand garden ornaments and furniture. As you’d expect, most items come in a weathered state and may have traces of dirt or moss, depending on how long they have been exposed to the elements. This should not put you off. After all, the alternative is to buy a brand-new item from a shop (which typically will cost a lot more) and as soon as it is in your own garden it will start to take on the same weathered look.

Understandably, people look for pieces with their original features which are in a good functioning condition, but it’s worth remembering that many works can be refreshed with a little attention so don’t be put off if a piece has some wear and tear.

Art Nouveau style pedestals

Two twin-handled stone garden urns with scrolling handles and shell decoration, mounted on Art Nouveau style pedestals. They sold together for £350 at Sworders in October 2019.

What to do next

Decide how much you’d like to spend and use the search facility on thesaleroom.com to find garden ornaments and furniture coming up for sale.

You can filter your search by, among other things, price and by location of the auction house to narrow down your selection.

To research recent prices at auction to see how much different examples sold for you can also try out the Price Guide.

If you are new to bidding check out our guides to buying at auction – it’s easy once you know how.

Send feedback on this article