Used Tired Raised Garden & Tree Ring

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Introduction: Used Tired Raised Garden & Tree Ring

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Ever wonder what to do with those old tires? Do you want to have a garden without the need to till soil? We have found that used tires make GREAT raised garden beds!

Caution!
Please note that we are using some serious saws to cut the tire. It's important that you are familiar with and comfortable using power tools to make these projects. While the cuts are not difficult, the tires do have steel wires in the sidewall that can be resistant to sawing initially. BE CAREFUL AND WATCH WHERE YOU PLACE YOUR HANDS/FINGERS!

Step 1: MATERIALS:

- Used tires:
We saved our tires when we replaced them. This actually saved us the cost of the disposal fee! We also asked a couple of friends to save their tires for us as well since we knew we'd need several for various gardens.

- Sharp Knife:
You will want to use a sharp knife but not one that would bother you if it's used in your garden.

- Jig Saw:
This saw is used to cut the side off the tire.

- Dual Saw:
This is the saw we used to cut a slit in the side of the tire. It cuts through the steel bands easily. Again, BE CAREFUL!

- Landscape Fabric:
You could also use several layers of newspaper to create a weed/grass block.

- Garden Soil:
You can purchase garden soil, compost material, or find a friend/acquaintance who needs to have soil hauled away.

Step 2: Preparing to Remove Sidewall

All you really need to do in this step is make a "hole" to put the jig saw blade into.

Step 3: Cutting Away the Sidewall With Jigsaw

Now all you have to do is cut around the tire! We didn't use a special blade. The general purpose blade works just fine.

You should also note that it isn't necessary to remove both sidewalls. We've tried this both ways and have found that the tire is much more stable if you only remove one side. Also, you have a trough that allows a little water to pool into a reservoir which helps with fluid retention and watering. Another benefit is the way this second sidewall will hold the landscape fabric and soil without allowing it to run out the bottom.

Step 4: The Sidewall Is Removed!

This is what you're left with after removing the sidewall.

Since I believe you're intelligent enough to figure out where to put the soil and landscape fabric, I'm not showing photos of that step. All you need to do is, PLACE THE TIRE WHERE YOU WANT IT SINCE THERE WILL BE NO WAY YOU CAN MOVE IT ONCE THE SOIL IS IN. Once you have the tire in place you will need to line it with the landscape fabric. Then fill the tire with soil and plant!

Now wasn't that easy???

Now for your BONUS PROJECT! THE TREE RING!

Step 5: Splitting the Tree Ring

This step is optional depending on the size of your tree or shrub. If the plant is too large for the ring to go over it then you will need to cut the split.

Again I'd like to caution you about where your hands and fingers are placed. Make sure that you have the tree ring placed on a safe surface with an adequate work surface for cutting. Take time to make sure the electrical cord isn't in the way of your blade!

You will need to use a Dual Saw for cutting through the steel belting. It's usually a very narrow band of metal that requires cutting. Be prepared to feel a give and easier cutting after you get through the metal band. The most difficult part of cutting is the curvature of the sidewall. We suggest using a cutting surface that you can cut into.

Step 6: Now You've Made Two Projects Out of One Tire!

This picture shows a tree ring in place around a small shrub. We didn't need to cut this ring because the ring was so small.

Our rings have stayed in place through several mowings without any pinning or stakes. However, it would be easy enough to drill some holes to drive stakes into for holding the ring in place. We have also filled in some tree rings with mulch now and it stays put really well.

*Additional tip for "lawn stakes":
Everyone I know has more wire hangers than any reasonable person could sanely use. (I say sanely because I find it insanity inducing to untangle the tangle of wire hangers when doing laundry!) Wire hangers make GREAT lawn stakes. We've used them for years and since you will typically pick these up for free, they are also CHEAP! (That's one of my favorite words!)

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52 Comments

can anyone give me an idea of how much soil I would need to half fill a Larry tyre. The bottom half is filled with stones.

My grandparents used tires in flower landscaping. Instead of cutting off the side wall they cut slits to make triangles, then turned tire inside out and the triangles folded out and looked like flower petals. Granny then painted them pretty colors to improve the looks. Also it improved the looks as the inside of tire is smooth rather than the treads which are rough. Just another view point if you want something to look at bit better.

For cutting the sidewall I have found a sawzall to be the perfect tool... use a metal cutting blade and the sidewall will cut like warm butter!

People want to go back to doing things the way people did before the world became so fast paced, so chemically involved...with hormones and pesticides on all our foods....Well, tires have been used for years and years as planters....they just happened to be the huge tractor tires and you'd see them out in the country on old homesteads instead of car/truck tires and seeing them closer to cities. I'm pretty sure our elders didn't die from eating food grown in tractor tires. As a matter of fact, most of them lived to ripe old ages! I for one love this tutorial. I've used tires before, and will use them again. I've never cut the sidewall, (so thanks for that), and I also like the bonus tree ring. I think it would be good for holding mulch in place (as we get very high winds where I am). So thanks again! :-)

Used tires can safely be used for all sorts of similar projects. One can even build a retaining wall with them. A huge retaining wall was built in South America by this method and the project was a success. Some folks combine the planter with the retaining wall and this is something I plan to do. Seems like a great way to cultivate. One caution, however: the metal in the tires can leach toxic chemicals into the ground over time. I personally would not use any tire where the cut metal was exposed and could leach in this way.

My cousin & a friend of his got a patent on a wall of tires 20+ yrs ago it is built in Indiana.

Hi ourmoneypit. I'm just a bit curious as to what toxic chemicals the "cut metal" would leach. If you're talking about the wires in the beading and tread, surely they're made of steel which afaik would only leach iron and carbon...

Has anyone tried to cut tires with the circular saw instead of this sabre saw?

I tried using my jigsaw and the blade just moved up and down and moved the rubber up and down with it. No cutting happened at all this afternoon. Any tips on how to get it to work. I used the regular blade nothing special.

I just realized that you can't see my husband's hand in the photo. We hold the inner edge of the tire BEHIND the saw. This cuts down on the jumping and makes it easier to cut. There will still be vibration and you do need to keep inching your hand along as you cut.
I will say this as an encouragement, my hubby did this on his own and he is NOT a power tool user! He almost put a spade bit into his chest one time (He was saved by the bit being tangled in the open flaps of his button-up shirt tangling around the bit) and he has also electrocuted himself trying to "help" me install a ceiling fan. Tools are not his thing...he's the cook. :-) That being said, If he can do it, I know you can get there. Just be very careful and keep your hands BEHIND THE BLADE - NEVER IN FRONT!