By Cassie Johnston
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We’ve been really working on getting our front porch in tip-top summer shape. We have wonderful outdoor spaces at our home—and in the spring, summer, and fall, they act like extensions of the house! We sit outside to drink coffee in the morning, eat meals, read books, and enjoy our daily afternoon kombucha cocktail hour. Living the porch life is part of the beauty of living out the country!
We were looking for a fun way to add some color and some plant life to the ho-hum brick wall on our front porch, and decided to upcycle some tires to create quirky planters!
These tire wall planters were so incredibly easy to make, and, for us, totally free because we had the materials on hand, and we did some dumpster diving for the tires. Let me show you how we made them. Here’s what you’ll need for each planter:
As far as plants go, we went with shade and part-shade annuals because, obviously, on the covered porch, they’re not getting a whole lot o’ sunshine. We planted a combination of decorative grass, impatiens, and lobelia. We really like that the tall, spiky grass fills in the center of the tire, while the impatiens and lobelia fill in the bottom and add some color—and eventually, the lobelia will hopefully spill down and out of the planter a bit. If your planter is going on a wall in the sun, you have a crazy wide variety of fun plants you could fill it up with! These would be so beautiful with wave petunias pouring out of them.
I will say because these planters don’t get filled with a lot of soil, plants with shallow roots will probably be your best plant of attack. Succulents would work beautifully!
We snagged our tires from the local recycling depot. It’s not hard to track down used tires. Look on the side of the road, ask your local garage, or go ahead and hit up the dump or recycling station like we did. If you’re planning on getting new tires soon, ask the mechanic putting them on if you can take your old tires home (in fact, most places charge you to dispose of your old tires, so if you take them home, you’re actually saving cash).
First up, I gave our tires a good scrub so the spray paint adhered well.
You’ll need to drill in some drainage holes in the bottom of the tire. So go ahead and figure out which way you want facing up, and then drill a few holes in the bottom of the tire using your drill and drill bit. We ended up using a 1/2″ drill bit, and drilling through both directions (outside-to-inside and inside-to-outside) to make sure the holes didn’t close in. Drilling through rubber isn’t easy or fast, but you’ll eventually get through it. It doesn’t take a ton of drainage holes—we ended up with about four per tire.
And now it’s time to get painting! You definitely don’t have to paint the tires if you’re digging the black—in fact, the dark color will help keep the soil nice and toasty if you live in a cooler climate. But I can’t resist an opportunity to put an obnoxiously bright color on something, so I whipped out the spray paint (and obviously, you can tell from this picture, it wasn’t my first painting project of the day)!
We have lots of touches of teal and turquoise on our front porch, so I decided to pull that into the tires as well. I went with Valspar Exotic Sea. I thought the color would also look really nice against some dark plant foliage and the colors in the brick. Because our tire wall planters are hanging on the wall, I didn’t really worry about painting the back, just the front and the sides. I thought it was going to take a billion coats, but it only took two, plus a light touch-up, to get some pretty, pretty blue tires.
Then I let those suckers dry and cure out in the sun for a day. The next day, I came back and cut small strips of landscaping fabric to line the inside of the tire. This probably isn’t necessary, but I figure since I had the fabric, it wouldn’t hurt to put it in to help keep the soil from plugging up the drainage holes.
And then I filled up the bottom with soil, planted my plants, and watered it!
We hung them up on the brick wall using 3-1/4” concrete screws in the mortar. At first, we thought we’d just put two screws in and hang the tires on them and be done with it. But Craig wasn’t too happy with how secure that felt, so instead, he drilled large holes in the top of the back of the tire to actually fit over the screw heads—much more secure.
I am obsessed with these tire wall planters. I absolutely love everything about them. I love that they are quirky and weird and eclectic. I love that they’re trash that we ended up making beautiful again. I love that they allow us to put plants in a place you wouldn’t normally expect them.
Don’t be surprised if you come to our house and see tire wall planters everywhere—I have so many ideas for places to put them now! I can see a whole row of them on the wall next to our back deck filled with herbs. Or a bunch of them on the walls of our barn packed with bee-friendly plants (to help draw bees to our garden). Bring me all the tires!
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such a fun and neat idea! i love the thought of using it for herbs :)
In Baltimore (where I live), you will see tires that people have cut around the top, then flipped inside out and turned into planters… this is hard to describe without seeing it – but they end up looking like flowers (you can google to see pics of what I mean). You see these on the sidewalk outside rowhomes all the time – I LOVE them and think they are so funky and cool! I plan on making some when I have a house of my own!!
First, I love the tire planters. Second, do you feel that you like the plastic Adirondack chairs? I’ve been comtemplating all summer picking some up for around my outside fire pit area.
Honestly, I wouldn’t but them myself. We inherited them, and they are fine. But I’d much rather save the cash up and spring for some really nice wooden ones (or even more cash, the resin ones, which are NICE and crazy expensive).
Thanks! That’s what I was leaning towards. I was actually thinking the plastic ones could even blow away during a bad thunderstorm since I would have them out in the open. Gotta keep saving for some wooden ones.
Your porch looks so inviting! I need to decorate the walls of our deck, this looks so good.
What a pretty project! I love that color too! Such a happy color. :D I’ve always liked the tires as planters concept. When we moved earlier this year, we downsized in yard ( a LOT ) which is a challenge because I’m just now finding my green thumb. :( I have to think more vertical. lol
I adore the idea of bee friendly tire planters on the barn. I think it could be so pretty if they have a randomly placed look with a mix of colors. I’m crossing my fingers for that to be an eventual project as I would love to see pictures of it.
I love your porch. Where did you get the coral chairs?
They were just regular old wooden folding chairs that we painted. :)
These are awesome and really brighten up your porch!
Love this idea. I wouldn’t have never thought to spray paint old tires. Love the color you chose!
What a beautiful porch! You’ve given me some good ideas to try. Question – what is the material on the floor of your porch? It doesn’t appear to be regular concrete. We’ve tossed around the idea of painting our concrete or trying one of the finishes found at the home improvement store. Thanks for such a great blog!
It’s some sort of stone aggregate—I don’t remember the name of it. But I wouldn’t recommend the stuff—it’s super rough on feet! It hurts both human and animal toes.
I know I’m super late to this post, but I love the idea! Thanks for sharing what type of paint to use. We want to line our drive way with them and plant. We are getting bees, and it would be a great way to add some of their flowers.
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