This step by step guide shows how to use old tyres in the garden to prevent waste and save you money. Old tyres don’t have to be an eye sore. With a little forethought you can make an attractive feature in your garden.
Tyres can take 50 to 80 years to decompose so it is important to recycle tyres where possible. Tractor tyres are great for creating raised garden beds whereas car tyres can be cut then used as garden edging, a seat for a tree swing or hanging pots.
Creating Raised Garden Beds from Tractor Tyres
Finding Old Tractor Tyres
The best way to find old tractor tyres is by asking local farmers. They will usually have some old tyres laying around they would gladly give away. Tyre repair shops which specialize in farm and truck repairs are also worth trying.
Some rubbish tips allow people to take items but some don’t so you will need to check with your local authorities.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Tractor Tyre
- Exterior Paint
- Brush or Paint Sprayer – This quality REXBETI Paint Sprayer is top rated and great value. (Paid link)
- Topsoil, Compost or Aged Manure and Straw
How to Create Raised Garden Beds from Old Tractor Tyres
- Roll into Position
First roll the tractor tyre into its final position in the garden. You may need two people as they are heavy and awkward to move.
- Wash and Dry
Wash the outside of the tyre with a hose and brush to dislodge any dirt then leave to dry.
Paint the outside with either a brush or a paint sprayer. The paint sprayer is easier however you will need a still day or the wind can blow the paint where you don’t want it. Be careful not to spray it on too thick or the paint will run.
- Fill with Soil
Use weed matting at the bottom of the tyre if it is in a grassy area. Couch grass is particularly bad for growing up through a raised garden bed. Next layer soil, compost or aged manure and straw to create the perfect mix for growing vegetables or your favorite flowers. Succulents will need free draining sandy soil.
Make sure the soil goes inside the rim. This will keep the tyre in place and will lift up the top edge if it is sagging.
Water the soil well then plant your plants. For flowers and succulents remember to plant the tallest plants in the centre with shorter plants around the outside. I used a creeping ice plant succulent which will drape over the edge of the tyres.
Mulch well then keep the plants moist for the first two weeks until they settle in.
If you are using tractor tyre raised garden beds for people with disabilities it is a good idea to cut off the top edge so they don’t have to reach as far to get to the plants. Cut down one side of a piece of poly pipe then fit it over the rough edge to prevent cuts.
Using Car Tyres in the Garden
Car tyres are difficult to cut as they tend to smoke and the rubber can melt while the steel reinforcement makes cutting difficult. The best method is to use a circular saw with a fine-tooth blade for cutting metal. If you don’t have a circular saw try a hack saw or an angle grinder with a metal cutting disk.
This Irwin Metal Cutting Blade for circular saws will stay sharp for longer and is also great for cutting roofing iron. (Paid link)
Cut the tyre in half then cut the two halves in half lengthways. Step on the tyre to flatten it out. You may need to make cuts halfway down at intervals to be able to straighten out the tyre.
Paint the tyre with exterior paint then dig a trench along the edge of the garden bed. Place the tyre in at the required depth with the cut side in the ground then backfill the soil.
Car Tyre Tree Swing
Cut the car tyre in half then cut any wires that may be sticking out of the cut edge. File off any rough metal with a metal file until the edges are smooth. Drill one hole on both sides 2 to 4 inches from the cut edge in the middle of the tyre big enough to fit a chain through.
Use a heavy-duty chain which is strong enough to hold a large adult. Loop the chain through one hole then attach to the chain above the edge of the tyre with a U bolt and saddle. (Paid link)
Throw the chain over a sturdy branch a few times then thread the end through the other side of the tyre adjusting the height of the swing so it is the right height for a small child to sit in. Attach with another U bolt and saddle.
Place a canvas cushion in the tyre for comfort then test the strength of the branch by using the swing yourself.
Cut the tyre in half then smooth the edges with a metal file. Next drill three holes. One on each side in the middle of the tyre 2 inches below the cut ends then a small hole halfway between the cut ends in the middle for drainage.
Thread a chain through the hole then attach above the cut end with a bolt or a U bolt and saddle. Thread the other end of the chain through the opposite hole and secure with a bolt. The length of the chain will depend on how low you want your tyre to hang.
Paint the tyre with exterior paint if desired then fill with potting mix and your favorite flowers. If you don’t like the look of the tyre buy spreading flowers such as spreading petunias which will cover the tyre with flowers.
Now that you have a few ideas on how to use old tyres in the garden get creative with any leftover exterior paint you may have laying around to create interesting focal points with your tyres that aren’t an eyesore.
You can even screw tyre halves onto the side of a fence for a vertical garden or use the tyres as a retaining wall by packing each one with dirt and stacking them like bricks.
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