Wednesday 16 July 2014

How To: DIY Tyre Planters

Since January, I have been helping to renovate the community garden in the area where I live. The garden has been closed for fifteen years, and in that time it turned into a jungle. Early tasks included cutting back all the overgrown tree branches, mulching the flower-beds, removing the corpse of a dead bird (!), sweeping, and more sweeping. All this stuff was tough, but it meant that later on we got to complete some more creative projects to bring a bit of personality to the garden.

The project I want to talk about today is the tyre planters we created to cover up some of the holes and areas of uneven ground that come about after fifteen years of unruly tree roots. My dad actually mentioned the idea in passing, but me and my mum took it and ran with it! We googled  ‘tyre planters’ and the results were so gorgeous, that they filled us with even MORE ideas.

Our budget for this garden is pretty minimal, so anything we want to do has to be done on the cheap. For this project we used recycled tyres that were donated to us, meaning that the only costs were paint, lining and flowers!

Step One: Acquire The Tyres

This one could be a bit tricky. We headed to our local garage, explained our situation, and they were more than happy to donate some tyres to the cause! I’m not too sure how else you’d get hold of tyres, maybe from an old car, or maybe you’ve found some on the side of the road? If you really want to try this, but don’t have access to any tyres, then I would definitely recommend going to your nearest car repair shop or garage like we did. After all, if you don’t ask, you wont get!

Step Two: Clean Them!

Wherever you got your tyres from, chances are they’ll need a good clean. We cleaned ours with some warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush to remove any ingrained dirt.

Step Three: Base Coat!

When your tyres are completely dry, it’s time to apply the base coat. We used white masonry paint, and I would highly recommend it. I bought it from a specialist paint shop, but I’m sure you could get it at any DIY-type store. I applied two coats of this paint, letting it dry fully between each one. The reason we applied this base coat was to make the coloured paint stand out more, and to help it stay on the tyres. 

Step Four: Paint Your Tyres!

OK, so this is the fun part. Not that the other steps haven’t been, but this is what you’ve been waiting for, I can tell. At this point you should have some gorgeous white tyres, and you may be happy with them staying this colour, we did in fact leave a few white because we loved them so much!

To get the colours we wanted, firstly we tried out spray paint. I was so up for this, I haven’t used spray paint before, and thought it would be pretty badass. The spray paint was expensive, about £7 per can, and each can covered one tyre (in some cases not even one (see the dark blue tyre)!). Also, the colours of the spray paint weren’t the nicest. We wanted Cath Kitson-esque, pastel coloured tyres, and the spray paints were a bit too strong.

After trying out a few spray paint colours, blue, purple and green, we decided that the best option would be to mix up our own colours. Being the scrimpers that we are, we decided to mix up the masonry paint we had left with acrylics we had lying around the house. By doing this we achieved the EXACT effect we wanted. We created colours that looked good enough to eat, and were able to paint multiple tyres in the same colour. 

Step Five: Turn The Tyre Into A Planter

So, the end goal here is to fill the tyres with soil yes? Well, soil is expensive, and we don’t want to waste it. Soo … we needed to find a way to fill the inner rim of the tyre, so that it wasn’t filled with soil (because this would be wasteful. Are you following?). You may have different ideas of how you want to do this, but I think the way we did it is the easiest and most environmentally friendly. We filled the space with rubbish. Not rubbish out of the bin, but garden rubbish. This mostly consisted of rocks and trimmed tree branches.

You may be thinking ‘eww I don’t want rubbish inside my newly, beautifully painted tyres’, but why not? To me, it’s a win-win! You can get rid of the rubbish that’s been hanging around in big bags in your garden, you can encourage bugs and insects into your garden by creating a ‘mini-beast hotel’, AND you can join the ranks of a 'true recycler'. What’s not to love?

Once you’ve filled those edges in, it’s time to line the tyre. We used some garden liner, you can find this is your local DIY-store, garden centre, or online. The important bit is that it is breathable, as you don't want your plants to drown. You can secure this however you’d like, with duct tape or staples, or you may even like the way the liner looks sticking out a bit.

Last part of this step, fill the tyre with your chosen soil! Woo! We made it, only one more step to go.

Step Six: Plant. Your. Flowers.

I wont pretend to be any kind of an expert on gardening, I’m not even an amateur really, but I will tell you which plants we chose to put in our tyres. We put various flowering plants in our tyres, as we wanted them to be pretty and colourful. We put in nasturtiums, calendula, and some smaller plants we had around the garden. We wanted flowers in our tyres, but you may well want to use them as mini vegetable patches etc.

Bonus Step: Arranging The Tyres

Depending on how you're going to use your tyres, you'll want to arrange them in different ways. We wanted ours to cover big holes in the ground, so we wanted more tyres on the bottom, with just a few on the top. If you want to plant vegetables, and things with deep roots, then maybe you'll want to pile the tyres directly on top of each other. If you do do this, bear in mind you'll have to rethink the lining.

We were a bit slap dash with our colours, we mixed up what we wanted and painted in straight on. You may have a more specific idea of what you want, I think ombre tyres would look great! You can also paint patterns on the tyres, or write out words or names. The world really is your oyster for this one!

Disclaimer: this is my first DIY post, don't be too harsh!

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