How to Retain Walls With Tires

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A retaining wall keeps sand or soil from eroding or collapsing. Many types of materials can be used to accomplish the task, but one of the least expensive ways is to retain walls with tires. The job is labor-intensive, but it can be done with a few tools and a large supply of used tires and soil or sand. Used tires can often be acquired for free and make a long-lasting and sturdy retaining wall, if you stack them properly. After you complete the wall, leave the tires visible or apply a finish for a more polished look.

Things You'll Need

  • Used tires
  • Tape measure
  • Marking paint
  • Soil or sand
  • Pick
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Wooden stakes
  • Maul
  • Mason's string
  • String level
  • Standard level
  • Sledgehammer
  • Measure the length and depth for your retaining wall, using the dimensions of the largest tires as a guide. Mark the outline for the wall with the marking paint.

  • Cut away the soil from the base of the wall inside the outlined area, using the pick and shovel. Cant the wall back slightly as you work upward and place the excavated soil close to your work area.

  • Rake the excavated area to make it as smooth as possible, using a standard garden rake.

  • Drive a wooden stake into the ground at each end of the intended wall, using the maul.

    Tie mason's string taut between the stakes and attach the line level to the string. Slide the string down as close to the bottom of the excavated area as possible and level it, using the line level.

  • Level the bottom of the excavated area with the mason's string, using the shovel and rake.

  • Lay the first row of tires in the excavated area, lining them snug against each other. Tie them together wherever the sides touch using the polypropylene rope.

  • Adjust the level of the tires by adding or removing soil beneath them, using the shovel, until your level shows the tires are even with each other.

  • Fill each tire with soil or sand, compacting it firmly in place with the sledgehammer, as you work upward.

  • Stagger the joints between the tires as you lay each course by aligning each one with the centers of the tires beneath them. Set back each course at least 3 inches as you work upward. Check the tires for level and make any adjustments after each row of tires is placed, using the standard level and shovel.

  • Fill the crevices between the tires with the excavated soil as you complete each row. Compact it firmly in place, using the sledgehammer or a scrap piece of lumber.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use biggest tires for the bottom course to ensure the most stable retaining wall.
  • Cut away the upper sidewall of the top course of tires for easier access.
  • Plant thick, trailing vines to spill over the front of the tires for camouflage.

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References

  • Photo Credit tires stacked in herringbone design image by Zhann from Fotolia.com
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