Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tire planters with cinder block plinth

Last summer I made my first tire planter. This spring I decided to elaborate on the idea a little further.

Painted and elevated off the ground on a cinder block/concrete paver plinth this redneck garden staple is given the appearance of high garden style, especially when doubled and placed on either side of our entry (below pic taken from our front porch).

So let's start from the beginning.

I started by gathering some used tires still on the rim. We live right by a tire shop so they were kind enough to give me one or two from there, I found one on the curb and then my MIL found me a curbside one as well. They were all different sizes but I decided to work with the two of most similar size, and it's hard to tell a huge difference between them after it's all said and done.

The turning the tires inside out is always hard work but there is a definite technique to it so it gets easier the more you practice. I always follow a super tutorial from here. And I also omit the flower petal style that they have on their site, I prefer to just make a straight cut to make a more classic, urn-like planter. 

Next I picked up two sets of 12 standard cinder blocks as well as two extra large stepping stones, these measure 24x24 inches (found them at Lowe's).

If you're doing things right, here is where you should probably make a little foundation for your plinths by digging out a hole and putting down gravel and sand to make a perfectly level surface. However, I like to live dangerously so I cut some corners here and just plopped the cinder blocks on top of the old grass.

Four cinder blocks per "tier", make sure to alternate directions to make it sturdier. I'm sure you could glue them together too, mine are just loosely stacked on top of each other. And then the stepping stone on top.

 At this point I was eager to try to imagine the finished result so I stuck my planters on the plinths and made sure to take pics from every conceivable angle :)

Mmmhmm, pretty good. To further disguise the simple origin of my urns I decided to add handles to them, purely decorative mind you. They're there to try to distract the eye and add to the illusion.

 I took a tire from my collection and cut four pieces from the side of the tire. What you see in the above pic is the handles as well as the other two remaining pieces of that tire when I was done.

And then I simply attached them to the planters by drilling through the handles and walls of the planter, inserting screws and securing with nuts on the inside of the planter.

And then it was time for painting. When I first came up with this idea I planned on using a spray paint with a stone texture, but I wasn't sure if they could stand up to the elements and my costs were starting to rack up on me. So when I found a gallon of exterior primer in just the right sandstone color at our Habitat store for $10 that kind of cinched the deal.

First I diluted the paint a little bit and did a wash on the cinder block part of the plinth to cover up that concrete gray. And then I used full strength paint on the planters, two coats, making sure to paint the top inch or so on the inside of the planter as well.

As you can see this kind of planter comes with pretty great drainage holes :) I like to put a few pieces of leftover plank cuttings and snippets from previous wood working projects over the holes to prevent the dirt from escaping and to aid drainage (not pictured, but imagine a small pile of various plank odds and ends in the center there).

So this is what you end up with after adding a ton of dirt (these planters are huge!) and some plants.

These are trailing ice plants which I hope will thrive in our hot and dry summers as well as survive winter. As they grow the idea is that they will be spilling over the edges and mostly cover up the planters. I know the planters look pretty plastic-y right now and I considered going over them with a sander for a more aged appearance but ultimately decided against. I imagine they'll get chipped on their own pretty soon, and if the plants fill in as fast as I'm hoping it won't really matter for long anyway.

Trailing ice plant (delosperma cooperi) is supposed to be really easy to propagate so I skimped and only bought four plants. I have already started new little plants by sticking cuttings into the dirt, it seems to be working :) And they should stay covered in those lovely magenta flowers all summer long! Their only drawback is that they're not fragrant, but I guess you can't have it all.

Here's the run down of the costs.

Used tires on the rim = free
24 cinder blocks = about $40
2 XL stepping stones = $20
paint = $10
screws + nuts = free, on hand

Obviously you can cut the costs considerably if you already have cinder blocks and stepping stones on hand. However, a planter as huge as this and with that urn shape would probably cost you at least $60 if you bought it at a store. And I got two of them along with plinths for a total of $70! All in all not a bad deal :)

I like how they add some much needed symmetry to our front entry as well as a nod to much grander homes. Combined with the vines I'll have climbing the house, the wildflower bed in the foreground (starting to emerge now!) and the split rail fence I'm still hoping to have one day the overall feel of the front yard will not be formal at all, but most decidedly colorful cottage eclectic :)

Funny story. All the while I was working on these planters (over the course of a weekend) one of our neighbors was hanging out on his front porch, kinda keeping an eye on things. The look on his face while I was documenting it all with the camera was absolutely priceless! :)

Even from a distance it was clear that he was racking his brain trying to figure out why I would finish a detail, put everything down only to come out and snap pictures like a maniac, then go put the camera back, come back out and keep working. I don't mind if they think I'm eccentric and very well documented, maybe that'll deter them from taking off with my new planters :) "Mr. Policeman, Sir. This is exactly what the planters looked like".

Oh, the things we do for blogging's sake! :)

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk Interiors
Blue Cricket Design 
The Thrifty Home 
Domestically Speaking 
Homemaker on a Dime
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  1. I have never seen or heard of these before! They're so fabulous! I LOVE the handle detail, really makes it elegant. The plinths are cool, I would not have thought to do that with cinder blocks - looks really neat. A wowzer project!

  2. you made what from what??? Whow!! They are brilliant, way to go.

  3. Titti--
    I've always loved these. I like yours-- I don't mind the tulip shaped ones either. I can't convince Honey that I need these on either side of my entry gate.
    He is just coming around to the 'recycling' phase of his life.
    Maybe-- I'll be able to convince him. Right now... I'm working on getting him to agree with my wanting and justifying a 'bottle tree'.
    I DON'T SEE THE PROBLEM... I've got the bottles already.
    Love your planters... and way to keep the neighbors guessing.

  4. Totally clever. I live in the South, so I see these often, but they never look this good. The handles and color are what make them striking!

  5. Can't believe you made those from tires! Great job!!

  6. I absolutely ADORE this idea. Never seen anything like and I am TOTALLY going to do this. Last year I made a horse tires swing by I know how hard it is to work with tires....but for this result, I'd do it again. :-) I would love it if you would link this up to my Marvelous Mess party!! Here is the link:

  7. I love what a difference some paint can make!

    Would love for you to share at Calling All Crafters, today!

  8. These are gorgeous -and- I already have a bunch of tires!

  9. beautifull



I really appreciate you taking the time to comment because I know you didn't have to. Additional ideas or related techniques are always welcome, the more we brainstorm the better all of our end products will be.
While I try to answer all comments I sometimes don't make it or have your contact info. If you don't hear back from me it doesn't mean I hate you, I just ran out of time (or simply had no way of contacting you).
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