How to Make Compost in Your Backyard


Compost is a powerful fertilizer and makes a beautiful topsoil. Rotting and decomposing grass clippings, tomatoes and carrot-tops can be transformed into the richest soil in your backyard using easy-to-obtain materials, like an old garbage can and food scraps.

Step 1

Drill 1/4 to 1/8 inch holes in the sides and bottom of a lidded plastic garbage can, using a 2- to 3-inch grid pattern.

Step 2

Begin to fill the garbage can using alternating layers of "brown" material, like corrugated cardboard or newspaper, and "green" material, like moisture-rich food scraps or grass clippings.

Step 3

Add a layer of organic soil to the top and spray lightly with water from the garden hose. Seal the lid of the garbage can.

Step 4

Repeat the process of adding new layers every week.

Step 5

Add earthworms, like red wigglers, to the backyard compost after two weeks or so. Allow the bacteria and microbes in the soil to begin the decomposition before introducing worms to the mix.

Step 6

Harvest the worm castings and compost in your backyard by sifting through a wire mesh screen and distributing in the garden as topsoil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add bones, meat, eggs or cheeses to the backyard compost because they can attract rodents.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic garbage can with tight-fitting lid
  • Drill with 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch bit
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Organic garden soil
  • Food scraps and yard waste
  • Garden hose


  • Backyard Composting Problems
  • Composting with Worms
  • Building your Compost Pile
Keywords: make compost, compost in your backyard, backyard compost

About this Author

Lisa Russell is an entrepreneur and writer from Washington State, with a professional background in education, cosmetology and the restaurant industry. She's been published in regional parenting publications, homeschooling publications and has published over 10,000 articles online since 1999. She studied Early Childhood Education at Antelope Valley College.