Weekend Project: Tires to make our house pretty

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We’ve been collecting old tires for a while now. Whenever we would get our hands on one, we’d throw them on the side of the barn in hopes that in one day we’ll think of something useful for them. In fact, old tires are hella handy to have around the farm. You can grow potatoes in them (although that didn’t work out too well for us last year), make nesting boxes out of them for your chickens, build an Earth home with them, just throw them down a hill and see whose tire goes the furthest or make flower planters out of them… which is what we did.

I’ll admit it, the front of our house is a little bit of an eyesore right now. The house needs a new paint job, the foundation just got patched up and needs to be re-painted and there’s weeds growing everywhere. It needed some TLC and a little bit of color. So Saturday morning, Dave and I took the time to make our house look more like a home and less like the “before” example on an episode of This Old House.

So where to begin? Well, we had an existing rock path in front of the house (flat rocks that we found along our creek’s dry wash) that had to be moved. Dave dug out the dirt, rocks and leveled out the site the best we could.

First step! Dig out the site of the planters and remove rocks from existing rock path.
First step! Dig out the site of the planters and remove rocks from existing rock path. Note the shotty paint job we have going on right now. Some call it ugly, I call it “naturally ombred.”
Step Two: Supervise the process. Thanks Project Manager Cadillac.
Step Two: Supervise the process. Thanks Project Manager Cadillac.

While Dave did the hard stuff, I gathered up the tires and drilled holes into the walls of the tires. If you’re going to put living things inside a container, you need adequate drainage. We learned this lesson the hard way last season when we tried to grow potatoes in tires. If you don’t drill holes, there’s no way for the water to seep out and you’ll end up with root rot and root rot doesn’t produce beautiful flowers… or potatoes. 🙁

Step Three: Drill holes in tire for drainage.
Step Three: Drill holes in tire for drainage.

However, holes in a tire won’t be enough drainage. The soil underneath the tire planters is terribly, terribly compacted clay. So we laid down a bed of gravel about 3 inches deep before we placed the tires.

Step 4: Lay down a bed of gravel for drainage
Step 4: Lay down a bed of gravel for drainage

After we had the gravel bed set up, we placed the tires where we wanted them. Then we added more gravel underneath each tire to make them even and level with each other. And we added more gravel around and in the center of each tire to really solidify it in place.

Step Five: Set the tires in place. Add rocks or more gravel in, around and under each tire to get them all even and level with each other
Step Five: Set the tires in place. Add rocks or more gravel in, around and under each tire to get them all even and level with each other
Step 6: Level the tires, packing in gravel around the inside rim as you go to give the tire a good, solid base.
Step 6: Level the tires, packing in gravel around the inside rim as you go to give the tire a good, solid base.

Almost done! We took the dirt that we took out of the site and packed it back in around the tires. I mean really packed it in. Hard. With a rubber mallet. Those tires aren’t going anywhere! After the tires were set, we put the flat rocks back in around the tires to, y’know… make it look nice.

Step Seven: Fill in all the gaps with dirt and really pound it in. I mean really pound it in. Those tires aren't going anywhere.
Step Seven: Fill in all the gaps with dirt and really pound it in. I mean really pound it in. Those tires aren’t going anywhere.
And there you go! Tires are all set in place and ready to be filled.
And there you go! Tires are all set in place and ready to be filled.

We’re not finished just yet. Once the weather warms up and we’re ready to plant our peonies and dahlias, we’ll fill each tire rim with a thin layer of gravel. This, along with the holes we drilled, will help drain the water and lessen the likelihood of root rot. After we’ve added in gravel, we’ll fill it with some good organic potting soil and throw the bulbs in.

While we wait for those pretties to come up, we’re going to expand our rock walk way and possibly paint the tires. Then, once the peonies and dahlias bloom they’ll get big and tall, no one will even notice the crappy looking foundation…. right?


4 Responses

  1. whyknocht
    March 28, 2013

    Hi Autumn, I’ve go about 7 old tire here. Three of them are semi tires. If you want them they’re yours.

  2. May 13, 2013

    […] guess we were on a flower kick because after we made Rob’s flower bed, we made tire planters in front of the house. After we made the planters, we planted dahlias and peonies in the tires and […]

  3. February 9, 2014

    […] and Such Farm found a great way to repurpose tires for their garden this […]

  4. jana
    February 9, 2014

    we collected some old tire’s and did the same thing you have done. but, to make them a little prettier, I had some old spray cans of paint in different color’s and gave them a great lift of color. it really brighten them up. can’t tell they were tire’s until your right up on them.

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