Austin Backyard Salvage and Garden: Stuff Your Yard Might Like

detail of a rusty screen door in Austin TX

Do You Have The Eye for Architectural Salvage?

You know, the eye that can spot the treasure in the trash at a flea market? Or the one that spies the really good piece of furniture covered in dust at an antique store that never seems to change inventory?

If so, you’re going to love Austin’s own Backyard Salvage and Garden (BYSG), located at the old Howard’s Nursery on the corner of Avenue F and Koenig (2222).

We spied this lot full of reclaimed materials while lost, looking for the next house on the chicken coop tour this past weekend, then doubled back later in the afternoon to really dig through the piles.

You Gotta Dig

If you want shiny, new, matchy-matchy baubles for your home and garden, architectural salvage yards full of reclaimed materials are not the place for you.

But if you really like digging through piles, studying the offerings, and contemplating how marvelous some old rusty thing might look in your yard, then an architectural salvage yard can be a fantastic way to spend a few hours on a pretty afternoon.

To be clear, we probably wouldn’t call this a “true” architectural salvage yard, meaning the kind that has old gargoyles from pre-war buildings and plaster medallions from razed Victorian mansions. The most famous of those is probably Urban Archeology in NYC – or was 20 years ago when I stumbled into it and had to be dragged out by friends who didn’t relish the thought of spending the way digging through 100 year-old hand-carved, glass-front store displays.

Where to Find Austin Backyard Savlage and Garden:

Address

Phone
[512] 537-BYSG(2974) only answered during business hours, any other time please leave a voicemail with contact info
Hours
Mon – Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Cut to the Chase: What Did We Find?

Rusty porch support at a salvage yard in Austin
What we found instead at Austin’s Backyard Salvage and Garden was . . . stuff, and lots of it:

Piles of old wood flooring

Row after row of interior and exterior doors, some old, some not so old

Two very very cool rounded-top doors like you might see on an old bungalow in Hyde Park

Things that cover the bottoms of old street lamps – rusted, gloriously rusted things

Rusty bathtubs – perfect for a backyard planter

Lots of rusty porch railings and wrought iron railings – perhaps for trellises for those tomato vines that keep overgrowing the cheapy, short, galvanized metal ones you got from Home Depot

Battered screen doors, the kind that slam shut when the kids run out to the backyard to chase butterflies

Old Windows – but didn’t get a chance to really see the offerings, so see for yourself

And all sorts of stuff you could use to spiff up your backyard and patio area, so you can spend more time outside enjoying the Texas sunshine this summer.

blue corrugated roofing from the salvage yard
Rusty metal rings at a salvage yard in Austin TX

How To Make Salvaged Stuff Work For You

If you’re thinking it would be waaay cool to get some of this stuff and spiff up your back yard, we have some advice for you: keep an open mind.

Survey your backyard with a critical eye: how much space do you really have and what do you really want? We love how so many of the homes on the chicken tour in Central Austin have homemade water fountains, vegetable gardens, fire pits with brick pavers for the patio, surrounded by old rusty chairs. The yards on the tour are used and used hard, not just admired from inside. Is that the kind you want?

Rip out ideas from magazines and stick them in a binder to remind you of what is possible for using reclaimed materials or architectural salvage

Visit Backyard Salvage and Garden in Central Austin and see what they have. Really look deep and take your time to walk around. Bring a friend to help you “see” the possibilities.

Go home and plan out your spaces, measure, weigh, photograph, etc. Yeah, “weigh” was a joke to see if you’re actually paying attention.

If you’ve got the eye, you may be able to put your backyard retreat together with stuff solely from the salvage yard. You might need to supplement with a few things from Home Depot, but maybe not.

Then Give Us a Call

If you’re serious about using salvaged materials for your yard and you live anywhere near Austin, give me, Alison, a call at (512) 585-4758. I’d love to come out and photograph the before-during-and-after of your project and if you’re game, to write about it on this blog. I am a Realtor, photographer and insatiable home renovation and decorating junkie and would love to share your joy!

Happy Hunting

If you’ve already done the salvage thing, we’d love to hear about your experiences – good and bad.

If you have other favorite haunts for finding salvaged or reclaimed materials, please drop me an email and I’ll go visit them as well.

Mantle detail from a salvage yard in Austin

Where to Find Austin Backyard Salvage and Garden

View Larger Map

Address
Phone
[512] 537-BYSG(2974) only answered during business hours, any other time please leave a voicemail with contact info
Hours
Mon – Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Comments

  1. Samantha says

    Lovely captures! You definitely have an eye for seeing these unique details that most people miss!

  2. Lala says

    Wow! You can find anything and everything you think of for your home or garden project there, even some things you didn’t think of. ;) It’s a great place to get inspired, and the prices are pretty fair considering the convenient location. I could spend a whole morning looking at all the old treasures! They were dog friendly too!

  3. Kathryn says

    Despite the hours posted here and on the building itself, this place is closed on Sunday. I drove 70 miles, excited about what I might find, and found a locked door. Won’t go back.

  4. Emily says

    Hi,

    Great post! I have been looking for a place like this in Austin.

    How are the prices? I would hate to drive out if everything is overpriced.

    So far, the only place I can find old doors, windows, etc… is at antique stores but I would rather re-do the items myself.

    Thanks

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Independent Real Estate Appraiser in Austin, Texas: Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell Counties