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:
- A tire
- Drill with a 1/2” drill bit
- Spray paint
- Landscaping cloth
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!