How To Build A Compost Bin

How To Build A Compost Bin

Composting is an eco-friendly way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Building a compost bin is a simple and cost-effective way to contain your composting materials and speed up the decomposition process. Follow this step-by-step guide to create your own compost bin and begin transforming your kitchen scraps and yard waste into valuable compost.

 1.Choose a Location

Select a suitable location for your compost bin. Ideally, it should be in a well-drained area with direct or partial sunlight. Ensure it's easily accessible for adding and turning the compost. Remember to keep the bin away from structures or fences to allow for proper airflow.


 2.Determine the Type of Bin

Decide on the type of compost bin that suits your needs. There are various options, including:
Wire Mesh Bin: Use sturdy wire mesh or chicken wire to create a circular or square enclosure. This allows for airflow and easy turning of the compost.
Wooden Pallet Bin: Repurpose wooden pallets to construct a three-sided bin. Secure the pallets together using nails or zip ties, leaving one side open for access.
Plastic Bin: Purchase a compost bin made from recycled plastic, available in different sizes and designs. These bins often have lids and access points for adding and removing compost.
Choose a design that fits your available space, budget, and personal preference.


 3.Gather Materials

Collect the necessary materials to build your compost bin:
Wire Mesh Bin: Sturdy wire mesh, wire cutters, zip ties or wire for securing.
Wooden Pallet Bin: Wooden pallets, nails or zip ties, a saw (if pallets need to be cut).
Plastic Bin: A ready-made compost bin, lid (if not included), stakes or brackets (if required for stability).

 4.Build the Compost Bin

Now it's time to construct your compost bin using the chosen method:
Wire Mesh Bin: Cut a section of wire mesh to the desired height and length, typically 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 meters) tall and 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 meters) in diameter. Bend the wire mesh into a circle or square, overlapping the edges slightly. Secure the ends together by twisting the wire or using zip ties.
Wooden Pallet Bin: Arrange three wooden pallets to form three sides of a square or rectangle. Make sure the open side is easily accessible. Secure the pallets together using nails or zip ties.
Plastic Bin: Assemble the plastic compost bin according to the manufacturer's instructions. If necessary, use stakes or brackets to ensure stability.

 5.Place the Bin and Add Compost Materials

Position your newly built compost bin in the chosen location. Once in place, start adding compost materials layer by layer. Aim for a balance between "green" nitrogen-rich materials (like fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings) and "brown" carbon-rich materials (such as leaves, straw, or shredded paper). Alternate between the two types of materials to achieve a proper balance.

 6.Maintain and Turn the Compost

To facilitate decomposition, it's important to turn the compost regularly. Every 1-2 weeks, use a pitchfork or shovel to gently mix and aerate the compost. This allows oxygen to reach the microorganisms that break down the organic matter. Ensure the compost stays moist, but not soggy, by watering it occasionally.

 7.Harvest and Use the Compost

After several months, the compost will transform into dark, crumbly soil-like matter. This signifies that it's ready to be used in your garden. Apply the compost to your flower beds, vegetable patches, or container plants. It enriches the soil, improves moisture retention, and provides essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.


Building your own compost bin is a practical and sustainable way to manage organic waste while creating nutrient-rich compost for your garden. With a few simple materials and a bit of effort, you can reduce landfill waste and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment. Start building your compost bin today and enjoy the benefits of nutrient-dense compost for your plants.

Frequently asked questions


How long will it take for my compost to be ready?

The time required for compost to be ready can vary, typically taking between 3 to 6 months. Factors affecting decomposition speed include the composition of materials, moisture levels, temperature, and how often you turn the pile.

Can I compost meat, dairy, and oily foods?

In general, it's best to avoid adding meat, dairy products, and oily foods to your compost bin. These items can attract pests and take longer to break down. Stick to fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and yard waste for optimal results.

What should I do if my compost smells bad?

If your compost has an unpleasant odor, it may be too wet or lacking sufficient airflow. Turn the pile to introduce more oxygen and add dry materials like straw or shredded newspaper to improve moisture balance.

Can I compost weeds or diseased plants?

You can add weeds to your compost but avoid including those with seeds or aggressive roots. It's best to avoid composting diseased plants, as the heat generated during the composting process may not kill certain plant pathogens.
What should I do in winter when composting slows down?
 In colder months, composting may slow down due to lower temperatures. Consider insulating your compost bin with straw, leaves, or a tarp to retain heat. Turning the pile less frequently during winter can help maintain heat and promote decomposition.

My compost bin is full of slugs?

Don't worry about slugs or snails in your compost bin. Many slugs are detritivores, meaning that they eat decaying plant and animal matter, so they play a vital part in helping the compost heap break down. When the compost is ready to use as a mulch in the garden, you may find slug eggs. Simply transfer these back into your compost bin so the young slugs can continue to help with the composting cycle.

What base is best for a compost bin?

It's best to stand your compost bin directly on the soil, as soil micro-organisms, detritivores and other fauna will have direct access to the heap and help it to start breaking down. However, a stone base, such as a concrete slab, is fine. Just add a couple of spadefulls of garden soil to the bottom of the bin to help speed up natural colonisation, and therefore decomposition.

There are ants in my compost bin?

Ants are common in compost bins when the material becomes dry – they don't colonise moist heaps. The best thing to do is to encourage them to move on by leaving the lid off the bin for a few hours – this will expose the nest and the worker ants will move it, along with all of the ant eggs, elsewhere. Then, when they have vacated the nest, simply water it to dampen the material, and the composting process will resume. Never put ant powder on a compost heap. Ant powder is designed for use indoors and may have a detrimental effect on the garden ecosystem, including other invertebrates like worms and spring tails. If using the compost to grow vegetables, ant powder could also end up contaminating your food.

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