Do you ever tack on “ish” at the end of a word when you really mean kind of? I do all the time. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy when I speak? Perhaps. But for the most part I’m an abbreviator and if I can get out of rambling on about something, I’ll just throw in ish. Rather than try to explain that I’m not really hot, but feel more than warm, I’m hot-ish. I’ll be there at 5:30-ish. I’m peck-ish. I can’t wait to show you what I did with this garden gate that I found by the side of the road-ish.
A friend of mine had this new wooden garden gate sitting under a tree in her backyard, and when she sold her house, she left the gate on her curb for me to pick up. Hence, road-ish. I had big plans for this gate from the moment I set eyes on it, yet nothing to do with attaching it to a fence. I wanted it to be the canvas for a few antique garden tools I’ve collected from barn sales and flea markets.
My inspiration came from P. Allen Smith. He has a home and garden show I tune in to on PBS, and above his fireplace in his living room, he has an arrangement of garden tools that are hung, somehow, neatly clustered together. Not the kind of art I would like in my house house, but in my garden house, yes way.
I started by hitting the fence with a heavy metal chain to get some dents and more of a weathered look. Since the gate was new, I needed to wear it in a little bit, and these little grooves that the chain made will collect the stain and show a cool pattern. No specific color, I just mixed together a few tints of stains that were at the bottom of their cans, together making enough to stain the whole gate. Ended up turning out pretty cool.
Next, I took all of the old tools I’ve collected and started arranging them on the gate. It was a little like playing Tetris, getting everything arranged and fitted for the gate artwork win. Some pieces I just screwed straight through the handle, and some I used a clamp-type-thingie and some zip ties to secure. After all, this gate artwork is heavy and since it will be hanging, everything needs to be securely fastened.
This antique garden tool gate has been factored into the garden house design. Since it is so heavy, I needed a plan to hang it securely and correctly. We incorporated a thick beam in the drawings for the gate to hang from and we’ll lag it in with heavy bolts, and it’s going to hang above my potting bench. How fitting, right?!
I didn’t spend more than a couple bucks on the antique garden tools, and one vendor at a flea market took $5 off something else I was buying just so I would take the dirty, almost-rotten-handled shovel off his hands. All I did was look at the thing and when I was paying for a copper pan, he goes “If you take that shovel you were looking at, I’ll take another $5 off the copper pan you’re buying.” How could I say no to that? And that’s how my antique garden tool collection got started. When I was walking away carrying said shovel and copper pan, that image popped in my head of P. Allen Smith’s garden tool arrangement, and the rest is history.
I love working on crafty projects like this. Makes for a fun afternoon. If I were to create something like this for inside, I think it would be so cool to find tools from tag sales and the like, clean them up really well, and spray paint them a dark bronze color, and then attach them to a white dry-brushed wooden garden fence. It would give you that rustic modern farmhouse look that is so trending right now.
Mine? Well, I kept the years of almost petrified dirt and rust in place and repurposed that gate into a work of art. My kind of garden house art.