How to build a compost bin

How to build a compost bin

Find out how to make a DIY compost bin using pallets, in our step-by-step guide.

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There are lots of types of compost bin available to buy, at the garden centre or via your local council, but it’s also easy to make your own. All you need is a bit of time, some basic tools and some old pallets.

Find out how to make compost.

A compost bin gives you the satisfaction of turning kitchen and garden waste into rich, crumbly compost, which you can use as a mulch in the garden. What’s more, because food and garden waste releases methane (a harmful greenhouse gas) when sent to landfill, composting is good for the planet, too.

Here’s how to make a DIY compost bin.

All you need is a bit of time, some basic tools and some old pallets.
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You Will Need

  • Spade or rake
  • Strong wooden pallets (four)
  • Sturdy wooden stakes (six)
  • Sledgehammer
  • Bow saw
  • Strong wire

Total time:

Step 1

Clear the area where you’re going to put the compost bin and, if necessary, level the ground using a spade or a rake. You need to stand the bin on bare soil, not paving. Add a base of chicken wire if you are worried about rats getting in.

Levelling the soil with a spade
Levelling the soil with a spade

Step 2

Take a pallet and stand it on its long edge to form the back edge of the compost bin. Push a stake through the two layers of the pallet at either end, using a sledgehammer to drive them firmly into the ground – about 20-30cm deep.

Fixing the pallet in place
Fixing the pallet in place

Step 3

Position the remaining two pallets at right angles to the first to make the sides, butting the corners tightly together to stop compost spilling through the gaps. Fix in place with stakes in each corner, as in step 2.

Fixing stakes into the ground
Fixing stakes into the ground

Step 4

To keep the structure stable, wire the pallets together at each corner. Trim the tops of the stakes with a bow saw.

Fixing the pallets together with wire
Fixing the pallets together with wire

Step 5

Wire the last pallet onto the front of the right side pallet to make a gate – you’ll need to open it when you want to get to the compost – and start filling your bin with garden and kitchen waste.

Adding material to the new compost bin
Adding material to the new compost bin
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Cover your bin and keep it moist

Cover your bin with carpet to keep it warm – this will help to  speed up the composting process. And check that it is moist – you may need to water it lightly in warm weather.

Watering can