A garden sign is a great way of injecting a bit of personality into your garden. They come in all shapes and sizes, from shop bought, expensive options to colorful, custom-made decorations. A garden sign can be informative, helping the reader to identify plants, or they can display your favorite inspirational quote.
Making your own garden sign allows you to have complete control over the process. Quite simply, you can produce something completely unique, that suits your personality and your garden.
Here are some ideas that you can easily make yourself.
1. Transform Old Tools into Garden Signs
Give an old garden tool a new lease of life as a custom-made garden sign. Create a rustic theme for your garden by using a collection of tools. You can extend the theme even further by using other tools make an upcycled trellis.
Shovels and spades in particular can be great, rustic signs. It’s also really easy to do. Simply paint or chalk on your message and hang them up around your garden. Alternatively you can use vinyl letters. These are commonly available in most craft shops and are quick and easy to use. Leaving the rust and wear and tear on display only adds to their character.
For a twist on this idea attach old hinges or rakes to a painted wooden board. With a little touch of paint and some vinyl lettering you can create a unique, interesting sign. Old tools attached to the board will not only add interest but, if the board is hanging in your shed, can also create a functional tool or coat hanger.
2. Upcycle a Wooden Garden Gate
If you don’t have an old gate lying about, check out your local recycling centers or ask your neighbors. You can also purchase wooden pickets from most DIY stores.
Once you have a gate, paint it whatever color—or colors—you fancy. I personally like bright, eye-catching hues, but you might favor something more subtle that will blend into your garden’s carefully curated planting scheme.
As your gate dries, check out the many different fonts that are available online. Then print out a message or quote using your favorite one. Once your gate is dry, trace out the letters with a pencil . You can also use a stencil to create your custom message. Once you’re happy, fill the letters in with some craft paint.
When your message has dried, place the gate on a fence or in a flower bed. For a really warm and colorful welcome, install the gate into your garden fence, cheering everyone who enters your space.
3. Fence Pickets can Make Great Garden Signs
Similar to our garden gate idea, why not turn some fence pickets into a completely unique garden sign? Not only is this idea easy to make, it’s also cheap and versatile.
If you want a distressed, vintage look, use fence boards. These usually have a rough grain that shows up when distressed, giving your sign an aged look. Barn wood has a similar rough grain. Screw the pickets together and paint them lightly. A light application of paint will leave many of the grains uncovered. When dry, lightly sand the boards to roughen them up and give them a vintage appearance.
When you’re happy with your sign’s overall appearance, paint on your message. Lightly drawing your message with a pencil first allows you to perfect the design and placement. Once you’re happy with it, paint the message in with some craft paints.
In addition to being a garden sign, you can adapt this idea to make a mini garden signpost. Use it to direct people to the various areas of your prized plot.
4. A Completely Rustic Garden Sign
If you want a completely rustic look for your garden, then this is a lovely, simple idea that also looks fantastic. Take an old wooden board, or several boards if you want a larger sign. If you want to liven it up, paint the board with some chalk paint first. When the paint is dry, trace your message or design onto the board with a pencil.
Outline the letters with upholstery tack before twisting some pre-twisted rush or stiff rope around the tacks to highlight your message. Using colored rope—maybe even a different color for each letter—can really make the sign come to life. This is a versatile idea, and you can use whatever material you think best suits your garden.
Once you’ve highlighted your message, decorate the sign, either with a simple rope and tack border or little 3D decorations. If you’re fairly artistic, you can even paint some birds or flowers on.
5. Slate Board Signs
Lots of bars and cafes use blackboard easels to display menus or messages designed to entice potential customers inside. While an easel may not suit your garden a couple of small slate signs can look chic and cool. They will, for example, really fit into a minimalist style, such as a black planting scheme.
Once installed, you can use chalk to write a message, inspirational quote or just a to-do list. You can also use it to plan out your latest garden project. These are quick to set up: simply hang the slates where you want. This is also a great interactive option for children and can be a good way to get them interested in gardening.
This isn’t the most permanent garden sign suggestion on our list, as chalk can wash away in the rain or if you’re not careful when watering your plants. However, it’s great for creative people who like to change things up on a regular basis.
6. Creative Plant Labeling
Some people may not want a large garden sign. Smaller plant signs or labels are incredibly useful if, like me, you tend to forget what you’ve planted. Wooden popsicle sticks can be used as seed tray markers and are a great, weather-proof option. Simply write the plant name on them with a sharpie or permanent marker. You can also transform wooden pegs into plant markers.
For a larger, more distinctive marker, old wooden spoons are both effective and long lasting. They also look unique amongst your flower or raised beds. If you are creative, or have children, you can also color in the spoons, turning them into bright, little flowers.
If you don’t want to use wooden markers in your garden then try using a letter stamp to transform old metal spoons into decorative labels. Not only will they have an instant impact but these little garden signs will look great as they weather.
Upcycled Crockery and Painted Pebbles
Many gardeners, myself included, tend to hoard plant pots. An idea that uses broken pots, unwanted items from your container garden, or old pieces of crockery is to transform them into unique garden signs. A fantastic upcycling project simply use a marker and some stencils, or vinyl letters, to create your own garden signs. Use acrylic paint to decorate the pieces if you don’t want specks of terracotta standing out all over your garden.
Writing on corks stuck on a bamboo skewer, or old lids, can also create unique garden signs or labels. Adding a twist to the lid idea is to cut out pictures from seed catalogues or packets. After trimming these down, stick them onto the lids and attach to skewers or lollipop sticks. This is a great way of creating a smart, visual plant marker.
Finally a more natural garden sign option is to paint pebbles. This is a great way to decorate your garden. Either paint pebbles in bright colors and write the name of the plant on it or paint a picture of the plant. Garden signs made of painted pebbles is also a colorful way to help children learn and identify the plants in your garden.
More Than Just a Sign
One of the best things about making your own garden sign is that it can be more than just a sign, if you want it to be.
Adding vintage hooks to larger signs can create a handy place to hang your garden tools or bird feeders. You can also add custom-made decorations, such as birds or flowers. Alternatively, using parts of old garden tools—such as the metal head of an old rusty garden rake—can add character and interest to a piece.
It also means that you don’t have to discard your old, treasured garden tools. You can simply reuse it, giving it a new lease of life and your garden a completely unique garden sign.
The beauty of making your own garden sign is that it allows you to completely customize it to suit your outdoor space. As well as choosing the size and material of the sign you can use whichever colors, materials, fonts, and decorations that you desire. This allows you to create something that completely suits your own personality.