How to Add Compost to Soil in the Backyard


Compost acts as a soil conditioner and "improves the structure and texture of the soil enabling it to better retain nutrients, moisture and air for the betterment of plants," according to the University of Illinois Extension. Add compost to your backyard soil to improve it and prepare it for planting.

Step 1

Set the depth gauge on your rototiller to 8 inches. Start the tiller and dig the tines into the soil area in your backyard where you want to add compost. Work in rows until soil is loose, overlapping rows by 4 to 6 inches.

Step 2

Run a rake through the soil to find rocks and weeds. Remove the rocks and weeds by hand. Place weeds in a trash bag. Move rocks to other areas of your yard, such as around garden beds for edging or place in the bottom of pots to prevent water pooling to facilitate drainage.

Step 3

Spread a 1-inch layer or more of compost on top of the tilled soil. Till the area again to mix in the compost. Work in rows again and overlap to thoroughly mix the compost into the soil in your backyard.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Trash bag


  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Tilling Your Soil 'Till It's Workable
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: What You Should Know About Rotary Tillers
  • University of Illinois Extension: Composting for the Homeowner
Keywords: add compost soil, amending soil, soil compost

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.