Used Tired Raised Garden & Tree Ring




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!

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!


- 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???


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 Discussions


    2 years ago

    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.


    3 years ago

    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!


    4 years ago

    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! :-)


    9 years ago on Step 6

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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...


    5 years ago on Step 3

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


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, Ma'am! Thanks. I'll try that! We just installed 3 ceiling fans this past week. I'm glad to say that no one was electrocuted. I told my BF that he had to shout "CLEAR" and hear a reply of "clear" before he was to flip any switches! LOL


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like the idea of using newspaper in the bottom of the tyre - thanks. I have used tyres in my garden for the last year or so mainly because I have had a large area of new bed to 'better'. The soil is a heavy clay that need loads of compost and since we live on the slopes of a river, carting kitchen waste to the official compost site it just too labour intensive. So.... I have planted some tyres in my bed and use them as compost sites until they have served their purpose and are then moved to another site. BTW, I used a small bladed kitchen knife to cut the rims off. It works pretty well but only if you keep a tin of water near by and keep dipping it into the water - no electric saw needed.

    Tyre garden tip.JPG

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just looking at putting in some fruit trees - looks like a great idea even though I'm not mowing, it'll stop the climbers from so easily getting a hold



    8 years ago on Introduction

     An awesome idea for an easy raised bed!  Thanks for sharing it!

    Can I just offer an idea with regard for it?  If you could, you might want to consider lining your planter with a layer of cement/concrete, even hypertufa or ferrocement.  I know it sounds strange, but I mention this for a couple of reasons:

    1) Rubber (especially tire rubber) contains chemicals which will most assuredly break down more quickly with such constant, unlimited exposure to the sun and elements.  Those chemicals will, in turn, be absorbed by your plants.  Not only can it impact the health of your plants, but especially if you are growing edibles in this environment you would not want to ingest plant matter which has been grown this way. The cement/concrete or other similar
    matter offers a layer of protection against this.  

    2)  Concrete, cement, hypertufa and ferrocement (the latter two of which are created utilizing cement) contain lime, which will naturally (with exposure to water) leech at a minimal rate into the soil and provide a natural source of lime to your plants.  This is especially beneficial if you are growing plants which prefer a base environment.  If you want to grow plants which prefer an acidic environment, you would simply use a liberal amount of peat moss in your soil mixture (I'd use as much as possible--even a ratio of 3 parts peat to 1 part soil or compost would be fabulous). 

    Hope this gives prospective tire-gardeners something to consider.  I am absolutely all for repurposing items in any way you can, it's always good to consider the long-term effects of such a practice on not only the environment, but also your own health.


    8 years ago on Step 3

    You don't say anything about what to do with the sidewall once you have removed it.  I have found that you can invert the sidewall and place inside the tire, over your landscape cloth.  This will help hold the landscape cloth in place inside the tire. 

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you look at step #5, we actually split the sidewall and use it as a tree ring. The reason we didn't use it in the bottom of the tire was because it will block root growth more harshly than landscape fabric.

    However, we have lately been starting up our gardens again and switched from using landscape fabric to using 2 layers of newspaper. The roots can get through the newspaper but it does block the weeds very well.

    Also, I just planted potatoes in 3 tires on Good Friday. I'm anxious to see if this works as well as I hope but the plan is to:
    1. Cut off both sidewalls.
    2. Put the potatoes 3"-4" into the ground, just inside the tire ring.
    3. After I have about 6" of green growth from the potatoes I'm going to fill the tires with straw. The potatoes should have 8"-10" of straw on top of them and I'm hoping that the tire ring will hold the straw in place better and keep me from needing such a high mound.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I think that I will give it a try....

    I have seen this before, but with very large tires only, without removing the sidewall.

    Thank you for sharing this great gardening information

    Grtz Albert


    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    We just went through a nasty winter around here. We actually had some onions survive the winter in one of our tire rings! When the snow melted away we had some nice sized onions that had been insulated unter 4 feet of snow. That was a really nice surprise!!


    9 years ago on Step 1

    This is a great idea I needed a raised garden and using tires we already have for it worked out super of course I did put my own spin on this idea.Thank you for sharing. I love being able to recycle and have fresh vegtables, herbs and flowers .I have one area done and working on another when I am finished I will have 10 raised bed gardens from your original idea. Thank you. Bonnie