DIY: Vintage Chair Gets a Mossy Makeover


With the improved outdoor temperatures, I have been fending off the pollenocolypse and spending more time outside working on my landscaping. One of my planned projects was to create a "living chair" as a landscape fixture in one of those what-do-I-put-here spots in the yard. I've seen a couple similar concepts around the internet, but no one seemed keen to share their how-to methods, so I decided to take it on and share my findings with my readers.
Here's the details and supply list to get you inspired!
1) Find a furniture piece you love, but don't mind weathering outdoors.
This type of garden fixture would work well with a chair, bench, small table, or even an old birdbath (I've done this as well.) I set out to find my chair by searching the local Good Will and thrift stores. I picked up this beauty after carefully timing the price adjustments at the local Charity Guild Shop. You see at my local store, they reduce the price a good 20% or more every 2-4 weeks an item sits in the store without selling. When I first saw this chair, it was marked $99, but I waited it out and bought it for $44.50 several weeks after my original visit. Considering most planters with any size to them start at $40 or more, I thought this was a steal for something truly unique. I loved the carved details of the back and the gorgeous curved Chippendale legs. Plus the seat cushion was loose and I could see the seat base had some depth too it, perfect for my plans. A little cleaning to remove the dust and stickers, and it was ready to go.
2) Choose your plants based on where it will be outdoors.
I spoke with a super helpful manager at my local Calloway's Nursery about my plans, and got some great tips on choosing plants based on sunlight in the area of placement. For full sunlight or more than 5-6 hours of direct sun a day, he suggested using succulents that can take the sun and heat. For less sun, he said I would be able to use mosses, ferns and ivy. I went with something in between and mixed it up a little since my area is fairly shady for about 1/2 the day, and I was hoping for more of a fluffy, draping look over time rather than a well coiffed succulent grouping.
My plant choices included the following:
•Gold Tip Spikemoss
•Sedum Stonecrop
•Bronze Carpet Stonecrop
•Variegated English Ivy
3) Secure your planting frame.
Without anything to go on for suggestion, I went looking for a mesh netting of sorts to start building my base. I wanted to make sure the area would drain properly, yet the potting soil wouldn't fall through or sag under the chair. A fine cage wire sounded good, but came in larger rolls than I needed and thus at a cost I didn't want to pay for the rest to just go to waste.
I headed to Hobby Lobby for alternatives, and you can see the full product list and detailed instructions for how I enclosed the planting area on my blog post at:

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BygoneVintage

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Ardale
    on Apr 14, 2019

    Hi, what a beautiful piece to add to your outdoor décor! I did this a long time ago but I used an old ice cream parlor type chair that the web seat bottom had been ripped out of and I bought my chair at a yard sale for 3 dollars. Mine was pretty and I loved it but your chair is so much nicer with all it carvings. Since I was using mine under a covered porch I was able to keep my chair from rotting for many years. My question is did you spray any type of sealer on your chair before you planted your plants in it to help protect the wood a little longer? It's to beautiful to let the elements rot it in 2 or 3 years time. If I could find a chair as pretty as yours is I'd do this again in a heartbeat but I think one this fancy should be a focal point on a nice covered front porch where it can be enjoyed for many years to come. Thanks for sharing your lovely floral chair!

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