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:
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
Step 3: Cutting Away the Sidewall with Jigsaw
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!
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
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!
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!)