painted tyre garden planters

March 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm 25 comments

These fabulous painted tyre planters were part of a show garden at the Gardeners World Live Exhibition in Birmingham in 2005. It was a roasting hot day and a friend and I ambled around and dreamed of how we’d transform our respective allotment plots. I loved these planters and it reminded me of the first year I had my plot and found a wheel dumped in a hedge on the other side of the allotments. I nearly bust my back spending 20 minutes rolling it all the way over to my patch. I triumphantly showed it to my husband George as my new potential herb planter

”…once I’ve removed the metal wheel part from the middle that is”
‘How are you going to do that?’ George asked.
‘I don’t know but I knew you would’.
‘‘I’m touched that you have such faith in me but you’d need a machine to do that!’
he smiled trying not to split his sides laughing.

Gardners World Live show garden 2005_painted tyre garden planters -
Several people have messaged me to ask what paint to use when making these planters. As I didn’t make them I can’t be certain (and don’t recall the information at the show being specific other than to say it needed to be something that would be flexible in hot and cold weather). George assures me it would have been oil based and most likely acrylic paint which is flexible for using on different surfaces and dealing with heat expansion and contraction.

The garden also included this lovely mosaic pathway using recycled materials like metal bottle caps, plastic bottle lids, buttons and straws.
Gardeners World Live show garden 2005_mosaic path using bottle tops - World Live show garden 2005_mosaic stepping stones -

Post update April 2016
If you’re looking for further ideas for using recycled tyres in your garden or to create a play space for children Melissa at Daycare spaces and Ideas has written a fabulous post to help you – 10 ideas for using tires in your outdoor space. What would you create in your dream garden or play area? These are my 3 favourites

swing set tire ladder from
Swing set tire ladder – full instructions here at Exploring Domesticity

DIY kids project teeter totter -

DIY kids project teeter totter see saw – full instructions for making at myfixituplife

Tire playground discovered by Azo Nations 2013 and shared at Trail Journal

footnote:  we spell tyre with a y in the UK.  Where I’ve written tire with an i I’m echoing the spelling used in the US blog post I’m linking to


Entry filed under: away from the plot, wordless wednesday.

bloomin’ lovely beside the seaside, beside the sea… with Flossie

25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Janet/Plantaliscious  |  March 3, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Fabulous! A whole new approach to square foot gardening. Wonder where I’d get hold of old tyres from…

  • 2. Nip it in the bud  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

    … a word with a friendly local mechanic perhaps?
    I asked once at a bigger garage but they said they send them somewhere to be recycled.

    The first year I had my plot I found a wheel dumped in a hedge on the other side of the allotments. I nearly bust my back rolling it all the way over to my patch but triumphantly showed it to George as my new potential mint planter… once I’d removed the metal wheel part from the middle that is.
    ‘How are you going to do that?’ he asked.
    ‘I don’t know but I knew you would’.
    He laughed like a drain before saying ‘I’m touched that you have such faith in me but you’d need a machine to do that!’.
    Not my brightest moment!

    You could try putting up a ‘wanted’ request on freecycle. You’d be surprised what people have lurking in their gardens just waiting to be rehomed

  • 3. A Life Less Simple  |  March 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I love it! I just collected a load of tyres this morning for the extra space I’m putting down to potatoes this year. If you try your local garage then most of them will be more than happy to give you some as they have to pay to have them taken away now

  • 4. Rufus  |  March 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve seen some lying in streams and rivers

  • 5. Anna  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    fantastic tyres 🙂 what a great idea? where are they?

  • 6. Nip it in the bud  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Poppy – will you be taking the paint brush to yours?

    Rufus – rubbish isn’t it, grrrr

    Anna – it was a show garden at the Gardeners World Live Exhibition in Birmingham in 2005. Always intended to do something similar and never quite got round to it (or got over my wheels-to-heavy hiccup!)

  • 7. Fiona Mayhem  |  March 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    What a great idea painting them is. I have always resisted lumps of black rubber in the garden, but I may change my mind having seen this

  • 8. A Life Less Simple  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I don’t think I’ll get time to paint mine but I have been thinking about it. It would have to be a very hard wearing paint to stay bright for any amount of time and I would have thought to keep them bright they would need repainting at least every growing season.

    There is just always so much to do in the garden and allotment

  • 9. Jenny  |  March 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Oh good memories of that day!!

  • 10. Nip it in the bud  |  March 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    nearly 6 years ago Jen.
    It was a hot day as far as I recall and we were worn out from all the wandering and dreaming by the end of it!

  • 11. becky  |  March 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Hi, the tyres look amazing, could i ask what type of paint you used?

    • 12. Nip it in the bud  |  March 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Hi Becky, this picture was taken at the Gardeners World Live exhibition. I recall the blurb in the brochure said you had to use a certain kind of paint on rubber so it doesn’t crack or peel off when the rubber flexes. I’m not sure if it was acrylic paint (which works on a great many things and is readily available in many different colours) or something more specifically made.
      cheerio, Nic

  • 13. Nicky  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Wow love the colours-a neighbour has just offered me some tyres for the garden and I remember some boring ones as a kid with white paint-these are fab. Lovin this site and giving me loads of inspiration. Moved to central France a year ago and been doing lots of gardening for first time in my life recently sowed tomatoe seeds. Just got some dalias growing in a pot-what a miracle gardening really is.
    Got me thinking I need to start putting together some picture myself. We have been renovating the place-old vineyards some thirty years not touched and no garden when we started.
    We just got some chickens today.
    Our three cats approve of your site too!

    Nicky N Nick x

    • 14. Nip it in the bud  |  April 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      thank you for taking the time to leave such lovely comments and introduce yourself Nicky. Tomatoes are a wonderful place to start with gardening and will make a massive saving on your grocery bill come the summer. I grew Dahlias for the first time last year and they were really beautiful. Sadly they haven’t resurfaced since our very snow winter.
      Writing a blog is a lovely way of tracking progress in the garden. It sounds like you’d have plenty of inspiring content for your own. Of course I’m curious to know now what your 3 kitties look like and whether it gets confusing have the same name as your partner!

      • 15. Nicky  |  April 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

        I would be interested to know since I am not keen on lifting Dahlias once they are in ground (fundamental laziness on my part) if there is a way of leaving them in ground and protecting them from frost?
        Fresh tomatotoes organic tomatoes um. I have a recipe:
        Make tart base (just buy some ready made puff pastry)
        Fill sliced tomatoes-best if have lots of different coloured tomatoes. Sprinkle over a little salt and sugar to taste.
        Mix some egg yolks (about 3) with tub of creme fraiche or any sour cream. Add teaspoon of mustard. Put on top of tomatoes and top with some lovely fresh herbs-ie tyne, majoram or basel.
        Lovely served cold.

        Our cats are: one male tiger cat-Henri. Then there is Saffie black and white fluffy female and then Tara who is white and black-has naughty smudge face-dubbed ‘the mask of Zorro’. We found her last year in our barn -she was little kitten-abandoned.
        On the name of my partner – I always wanted someone in my life to be called Nick so find the confusion funny.

  • 16. Hazel at the Hill  |  April 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Just a note of caution – and sorry to come back to an older thread – fantastic as these tyres look, anyone on a local authority allotment plot needs to check that tyres are allowed on site.

    Birmingham recently cracked down on our site and poor Julie a few plots up from us who had several mature blueberry bushes and perenials in her tyre stacks had to carefully replant – and transport over 80 tyres to the local tip for disposal…

  • 17. Nip it in the bud  |  April 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Nicky – if people are worried about losing Dahlias over winter they usually lift and store them. Some allotment holders have gorgeous dahlias that just keep coming year after year. I can only presume they’re tougher with age as my baby rhizomes from last year didn’t make it through the snowy winter.

    Sctummy sounding tart recipe – thanks for sharing. Will have to remember that when I have the bountiful tomato harvest I’m hoping for in the summer!

    Always lovely to come across fellow cat lovers – especially the rescuing kind :o)

    Hazel – it’s a really good point and I’m glad you made it. The City Council here hired a skip a few weekends ago for a big site clear up. All sorts of junk went into it but tyres were banned as they’d have to pay to dispose of them. Plot holders were advised to take them to the dump themselves. 80 tyres – blimey! How did the bushes fair after their move?

  • 18. Peet Bekker  |  September 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Dear Nic. Would you mind me using your pic to get people to donate tyres for a similar project. Of course I will include the link back to your blog. Please check and let me know:

    • 19. Nip it in the bud  |  September 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      no problem Peet, happy to help. All the best with your gardening project. N x

  • 20. Susan Edlund  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:31 am

    What is the best kind of paint to use on tires? These look fantastic.

    • 21. Nip it in the bud  |  April 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Hi Susan, I’ve not actually painted tyres myself but I’d guess an oil based paint would be the best option and less likely to flake when the rubber reacts to hot/cold weather. An acrylic paint would be flexible and durable. Years ago when we got married we needed purple shoes for our bridesmaids and Gs art degree came in handy when he suggested mixing up the exact colour using acrylic paint and painting black shoes! All the best with transforming your garden with painted tyres :o)

  • 22. Vicki  |  May 4, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Can I ask what you painted the tyres with ? Thanks

    • 23. Nip it in the bud  |  May 4, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Vicki, please see previous comments about paints to use on rubber to avoid cracking. N

  • 24. Jen C  |  June 24, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Please what kind of paint was used. I think it would have to be something flexible. Great idea so cheerful.

    • 25. Nip it in the bud  |  June 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Jen, please see paint discussion in comments. Acryllic paint is flexible for using on different surfaces and dealing with heat expansion and contraction.


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About Nip it in the bud

Welcome to my blog about growing and cooking allotment veg since 2009 and growing sweet boys since 2012. Take a walk with us through our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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