How to Make a Household Compost Bin


Many dedicated gardeners and environmentally conscious homeowners express an interest in home composting, but hesitate when confronted by the idea of investing money in pricey commercial compost bins. You can easily make a household compost bin and still stick within your budget by using inexpensive or free materials to build your composter. As an added bonus, using your household compost bin to create nutrient-dense humus for your vegetable and flower gardens can drastically decrease the amount of garbage your household sends to landfills.

Step 1

Choose a location for your household compost bin. Look for a sunny, well-draining area that is conveniently positioned near your home or garden so you don't have to go far to add kitchen scraps to the bin or to harvest your finished compost. Mark a 3-foot square on the soil with wooden stakes and string. Remove any sod from the marked location with a shovel to allow the decomposing bacteria in the soil direct access to your organic waste for quicker composting.

Step 2

Install the corner posts for your compost bin. Dig a hole 2 feet deep with a post-hole digger at each staked corner. Insert a post into the first hole and tamp the dirt in around it firmly with a tamping rod. Repeat this process with each of the remaining three corner posts.

Step 3

Unroll the snow fence and use wire cutters to cut four individual 3-foot sections of fence. Lift the first section of the snow fence and position it along one side of the compost bin location with the ends resting on two of the corner posts. Secure the snow-fence slat to the two corner posts with galvanized steel staples, using at least four staples per post. Repeat this process with each of the remaining three sections to create an enclosed compost bin.

Step 4

Add your organic materials to the compost bin in layers. Spread a 6- to 8-inch layer of carbon-rich materials (brown organic waste such as dead leaves, straw, newspaper and cardboard) and top it with a 3-inch layer of nitrogen-rich materials (green organic waste such as cow manure, fruit scraps, vegetable peels and fresh grass clippings). Alternate the layers of waste until the materials in the bin are at least 3 feet tall. Add additional organic waste when desired, mixing the new waste into the composting materials thoroughly with a manure fork.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stakes
  • String
  • Hammer
  • Shovel
  • Post-hole digger
  • 4 6-foot-long cedar posts (4-inch-by-4-inch)
  • Tamping rod
  • 13 feet of snow fence (at least 36 inches tall)
  • Wire cutters
  • Galvanized steel staples
  • Carbon-rich organic waste
  • Nitrogen-rich organic waste


  • University of Missouri Cooperative Extension: How to Build a Compost Bin
  • University of Illinois Cooperative Extension: The Science of Composting
Keywords: household compost bin, compost bin, household compost

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.