How to Build a Backyard Compost Bin


Composting is a popular method to amend soil using an organic, eco-friendly technique; it's good for both the soil and the planet, helping reduce landfill waste. To create your own compost you can use kitchen scraps (nothing that contains grease, fat, or meat/animal products), newspaper, and lawn refuse (grass clippings and leaves). There are as many composting plans available as there are types of compost bins. For small backyard gardeners, one of the easiest is to use wooden pallets.

Step 1

Choose the location for your compost bin. Common places are near the kitchen or behind your home. The location needs to get direct sunlight during the entire year. Measure the length and width of your pallets. Stand one pallet on its side. Most pallets are square; if yours are not, choose to have your bins tall rather than wide. Place one stake to mark the outside corner and then one stake to mark the inside corner of that pallet. Using the measurements from the other pallets, use the stake to mark the other corners. This will provide the setup for a double compost bin.

Step 2

Place one metal corner brace for inches down from the top of the first wooden pallet, while it is laying flat on the ground. Attach another metal corner brace four inches up from the bottom. Repeat this on the opposite side of the pallet. Align a second wooden pallet next to the first so that a corner is formed. Secure the second wooden pallet to the corner braces.

Step 3

Stand the two joined pallets up and place them so that the marking sticks are inside the pallets. Add a third wooden pallet to the first and secure to the corner braces. This is the first side of the compost bin. Add corner braces 4 inches from the top and the bottom to the third pallet on the outside corner, so that another pallet can be attached perpendicularly. Secure the fourth pallet to the third and add corner braces to the open side and attach the fifth pallet perpendicularly. When adding pallets, make sure to place them over the metal stakes for added stability.

Step 4

Divide the bag of composted manure in half and add one half to each side of the compost bin. Add one dozen fishing worms to each side of the compost bin. Begin adding kitchen scraps, lawn refuse, paper, and other compost materials to one side. As this breaks down add it to the other side to further decompose.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 wooden pallets
  • 8 1 ½-inch wide metal corner braces
  • 1 bag of composted manure
  • 2 dozen fishing worms
  • 48 10x2 wood screws
  • Tape measure
  • 6 metal stakes
  • Power drill
  • Screwdriver bits for a power drill


  • Missouri Extension

Who Can Help

  • Lowes Home Improvement How To
Keywords: Compost, Compost Bin, Easy Compost Bin

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.