Used tires are a difficult waste product to dispose of as they take up a great deal of space and are discarded in large volumes every year. Through recycling a tire and turning it into a planter, you create something useful and attractive for your outside space for free and help the environment at the same time by keeping the tire out of landfill.
Try asking at your local garage or a breakers yard for unwanted tires, business owners are usually only too happy to give them to you as they normally have to pay to have them taken away. For this reason they are often dumped illegally by unscrupulous people.
If you want ‘how to’ videos then head for YouTube and you will find plenty but if you follow these step-by-step instructions then you will get the hang of this wonderfully simple and fun project in very little time.
First up you will need:
- An old tire or tires
- Box cutter knife
- Leather work gloves (for cutting)
- Paint (weather resistant)
- Soil & some compost
- Whatever you want to plant – flowers, vegetables etc
- Old clothes – tires are dirty!
- Elbow grease!
How to do it:
1. Find some used tires. Car tires are the easiest to get hold of and use for this, but if you have the space, you could use larger tires from a lorry or tractor. Create tall planters by stacking the tires to achieve the desired height.
2. Wash well with a degreaser and leave to dry. Old tires are usually quite oily and in need of a good scrub. This prepares the surface for painting and ensures adhesion.
3. (This step is optional). If you wish to open up the top of your tyre for extra planting space, remove one of the side walls using a sharp knife. With a little elbow grease and a very strong, sharp blade you can cut through and remove the side of the tire. Mark a guideline to follow using white chalk. Take care and wear a pair of leather gloves for added protection. If you will be stacking your tires, only cut the one that will be placed at the top, as the lower ones will need both sides in place to hold their shape. Lorry & tractor tires are much thicker so cutting them requires a powered grinder (or leave them as they are – much easier!)
4. Get creative! – Paint your tire using an oil based exterior (weather resistant) paint. Bright colors make a great impact in a contemporary space, or you could simply use white. If you are feeling adventurous though there is nothing to stop you painting polka dots, stripes, a pattern or whatever you like!
5. Leave the paint to dry fully. Have a rest!
6. Position your planter and fill it with soil and a bit of compost. Prepare for planting.
7. Plant up. Flowers, vegetables, herbs, strawberries, a tree or an architectural feature plant, the possibilities are endless. A stack of tires makes an excellent potato tower, as you can produce a large crop easily using minimal space. Once ready, simply knock your tower over and retrieve your crop. (You may wish to line your tire with plastic to prevent the possibility of any chemicals leaching into edible plants).
8. Sit back and enjoy your planter. Your new tire planter will last for years as it is made from an incredibly durable, weather resistant material. You have created something beautiful and practical and aside from your time and any paint you may have purchased, you project is both environmentally friendly, fun to make and free!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Felix is a member of the evergreenhedging.co.uk team. We are part of Greenshutters Nurseries & Garden Centre based near Taunton in Somerset which was established in 1980.