Gardeners all over the country are giving new life to their gardens by re-purposing old tires. The benefits are two-fold: Fewer tires end up in landfills or dumped along roadsides where they become health hazards, which in turn keeps the planet cleaner and greener.One basic use for old tires is as planters to cultivate vegetables such as cabbage, tomatoes and potatoes. Use garden plastic to line a tire, and then fill it with soil, and water in seeds and plants. The tire keeps the soil moist and compacted and prevents fertilizers and other chemicals from leeching into the yard. Once you’ve established your tire garden, harvesting and planting become easier, and you save money on soil. Using old tires as bumpers can also help prevent erosion in tiered and sloping gardens, and they make durable borders for raised beds.
You don’t have to look very far to find sexy ways to incorporate used tires as decorative planters. For instance, old tires make great hanging planters. A little weather-resistant paint for color, some cool decoration such as giraffe spots or tie-dye, and you’ve got very affordable artwork to hang in your garden. Just add potting soil inside the lower edge of the tire, and bed flowers and other ornamental plants inside.
Another variation on decorative tire planters is the wishing well, a stack of tires that’s lined with pond lining, filled with water and decorated to your taste. Bright colors and clever motifs are the order of the day, as well as aquatic plants and even live fish.
If you’ve always wanted a more extensive water feature but couldn’t make the math work, consider building a pond using an old truck tire. As with building a wishing well planter, line a large tire and fill it, then decorate the tire or cover it with soil to make a more natural-looking pond. Aquatic gardening centers can give you advice about depth, plantings and re-circulating pumps to keep the water sweet and clear.Let your creativity guide you as design themed gardens and do a little terra forming with your old tires. You can do your bit to protect the environment and devise fun, family-friendly projects that appeal to all ages.