Rammed Earth Tyre Wall Plate

With the first tyre wall finished, I am able to use my short breaks between ramming tyres getting the top of the wall finished. As you can see, I’m using some 3″x2″ timber to create a ladder-like wall plate, which I am then levelling using stones built carefully on the tyres.

The tyres are not perfectly level, but the stones sort that out, and it looks lovely!

The pace of the work is not the fastest, and I have to gather the stones from the garden which fit, but I’m so far finding the work looks great from a distance and also suits the purpose nicely.

The work is a little slow as you have to be careful when placing the stones.

Eventually, the wall plate will be filled with stones to the top level, and I can put either decking or paving stones on top to finish it off, and prevent most of the rain that falls from falling onto the tyres, thus preventing any erosion occurring over time.

The stones create a nice frame around the tyres.

I’ll keep you informed as the wall plate progresses. It should be finished this week, if the weather goes along with the forecast!

I’ve added some more stones to the wall, and I’m rather chuffed at how things are turning out. I’m going to do this for the whole wall, and cover areas with various decorations. I’ll keep the posts updated on this!

Taking the stones between all the levels to hide the dirt at the joins of tyres.

Marble Hearth recycled as a garden bench

As the back of my garden continues to produce tons of good quality stone, I am coming up with more resourceful ways of using it, to avoid having it thrown out or buried.

I realised that one of the ways I could cover some of my tyre wall would be to have a bench built infront of it, and a wooden back covering the tyres above the bench. The natural lean of the retaining wall is a perfect back for the bench to lean back and relax on.

Using the stone at my disposal, I created a dry stone wall which sat solidly, but I found that the top of the bench was far from smooth. To resolve this, I figured some paving stones would be nice, but then I struck a much better idea – use the marble hearth from a fireplace!

The hearth as it appeared on eBay

After a little search, I came up with this beauty listed on eBay. It’s got a few scratches, but for £10, I thought you can’t go wrong!With this as a top to the dry stone, I figured I could level it out and get a nice finish on the bench. So, this is the dry stone wall almost built..

Almost Complete…


Once that was in place, I just needed to level it off and put the marble on top. To ensure that the stone doesn’t scratch the marble when it is in place, you need to line the underneath with some planks of wood.

You then have to fill in all the gaps to ensure that the wood/hearth is fully supported all along it’s length. If you don’t do this, you will find that the marble splits when you sit on it! (Unfortunately, this happened to mine). But given the nature of my garden, I’m not looking for perfection, so I don’t mind too much. here is the finished article!

The finished bench.

If the weather is good this Sunday (50/50 at the moment) then I am going to get some wood for the tyre wall to be finished off with a wall plate. I might then have a chance to get this bench finished as I’ve had some ideas with how I can really make a feature out of it. I’ll post an update when I can get the time to finish it!

June Volunteering Weekend

With the weather in the last few weeks taking a more depressing turn, I’ve not had a lot of time to get much done in the garden. A month ago, I planned the dates for the volunteering weekend to take place on the 9th & 10th June. I was quite concerned that the weather would force me to call this off, but, as if mother nature was watching over the weather herself, a window of no rain and gorgeous sunshine fell on the very days I was planning!

The friday before the arrival of the volunteers was absolutely horrible. I was assured by Derek (the local weatherman) that Saturday would be the opposite, and I wasn’t let down. By the time the volunteers had arrived and unpacked, the sun shone on the back garden, and smiles were firmly fixed on faces.

I was fortunate to have some very hardworking people helping me this weekend. My mum and dad were on hand to help out with gardening and feeding, and some of my friends came up to help out with the tyre ramming. My volunteers had come from all around the UK, and attacked the work with enthusiasm and seemingly unstoppable energy. It wasn’t long before all the tyres I had were rammed and sitting in the ground waiting for the next course. To ensure I had more to do, I had to change my plans and do the last course of my wall with 155’s, otherwise we would have been out of tyres completely!

Saturday evening was spent relaxing near the Cwmcarn Visitors centre. We found a spot where we could dip our feet in the freezing cold water! Those who dared took a dip, but it was far too cold for that in my opinion!

A small spot of rain on the Sunday morning threatened to put a stop to the work being done, but without hesitation, the volunteers threw on their rain coats and marched out, tools in hand to do the work. I was mightily impressed at the positive attitude on show. We were rewarded with retreating rain clouds and a nice warm, cloudy day to work through.

With the tyres being rammed, I managed to get some more work done on my dry stone wall, so my little pond area is coming along nicely too. The trench for the foundations of the north side of the building have also been started, so given some more time in the garden, I should soon have one ‘L’ of the wall done! Only two more trenches to dig then and I will have a building outline! Exciting times.

Many thanks to Chris, Nicola, Sarah and Tom for coming along on the weekend. Your enthusiasm will be hard to match!