Creating a Flower Bed Using Recycled Materials

2 Hours
As part of my insane one-day blitz of completing as many projects I could fit, I tackled the new planting bed at our front entrance. I managed to get into it early, before the peak heat of the 4th hottest day ever in Phoenix (119˚) It was still a miserably hot experience. We planted the flowers a couple weeks ago, so today was a border and mulch install day.
I tried out a couple recycled tire-rubber products, both for the border and for the the mulch. it was fairly easy stuff to work with and looks great. EcoBorder is a flexible, crumb-rubber molded edging, that comes in 4' sections and includes all the necessary hardware. It's great for free-form curves and uneven terrain. Rubber Mulch is actually shredded, colorized bits of tires. I chose the products for low-maintenance, the recycled aspect, and for the fact that I wouldn't be laying out a buffet of munchable wood, right where I had found subterranean wood-eating insects feasting on our front port overhang.
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We wanted a free form, curved bed, to contrast the sharp edges of the house and walkway. I used a string line to lay out a few shapes, until I found one that Sweetie liked. I measured the string to get an accurate length to put on the shopping list.
It was easy to cut the EcoBorder, with a hacksaw (while wearing gloves. vs. 3 words: Steel. Belted. Radials.) I started with a miter cut, to fit against the house.
The sections coupling together with hard plastic pins. They have scalloped ridges, that should help them from backing out. The gap between sections mirrors molded groves equally spaced throughout the piece.
Form the curves and stake them like vampires. Each 4' section requires 4 of these stakes. It was initially easy enough, but I later had some trouble in the rocky terrain.
Rubber Mulch. Again, this is from recycled tires. But this time, it's shredded and colored, not crumbles formed to shape. A close examination will actually show the occasional tire tread pattern.
Installed an inch and half deep, it looks like normal, wood bark mulch. For the first couple days, there was a faint scent of rubber in the air that has now dissipated.
John @ AZ DIY Guy
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  1 question
  • Cj57 Cj57 on Nov 02, 2021

    Where did you get your materials (rubber etc ) from? here in Ohio, would like to know where to inquire.

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3 of 17 comments
  • Tonya Tonya on May 06, 2015
    Looks great, nice upgrade too.

  • Meli Meli on Jan 18, 2016
    Rubber mulch? What about the chemicals that seep into the soil for years?

    • John @ AZ DIY Guy John @ AZ DIY Guy on Jan 18, 2016
      Hard to say @Meli, I'm not seeing any signs the material breaking down. It appears to be pretty stable stuff. Maybe the rubber is breaking down, maybe not. I thought the big trouble with tires is they never degrade. The way I look at it, I'm keeping old automobile tires out of a landfill, also full of soil. I don't have to wastefully replace wood mulch, year after year. No one is going to grow food here. The flowers are growing explosively well. I think the environmental effects are minimal. What do you think?