The woman was watching television with her 79-year-old brother and 81-year-old sister when Peter Lewin appeared at 8.30pm on May 7.
After smashing one double-glazed pane and scratching another, he ran off, said prosecutor Robert Carr, but was found later by police, drunk in a field off Bawtry Road, Bircotes.
He later told police he had drunk a bottle of vodka and was “completely out of it, in his own words”.
The court heard he was released from prison in March, following convictions for being drunk and disorderly, but was recalled to custody.
Lewin was released again on May 3, said Andrew Bostock, mitigating, and returned to the Bircotes area, where he had lived previously.
“He was homeless and had plainly drunk a lot of alcohol,” he said. “It would have been a frightening ordeal because he just appeared in her garden, but he wasn’t necessarily targeting her.”
He said Lewin is now living with his grandmother, had stopped drinking and wanted to make a fresh start.
“The probation services are pleased he is at arm’s length from his previous partner and keen for him to continue that fresh start,” said Mr Bostock.
The court heard Lewin failed to attend court on May 25, and was later arrested on a warrant.
He missed the appointment because he had been relying upon a lift from his father, but the car broke down, Mr Bostock said.
Lewin, 27, of Ranson Road, Northamptonshire, admitted criminal damage and failing to attend court, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Friday.
Deputy district judge Steven Jonas told him: “An elderly family watched you in their garden armed with a brick.
“You were clearly intent on violence. They must have been completely terrified about what you might do.
“You have a long history of violence in terms of public order offences.”
Lewin received a six-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay £300 compensation.