Making your own compost bin or heap means that you can design it to suit you and your garden. If you can use recycled material it will save you money too and you don't have to be a DIY expert.

Open heap

The simplest way of composting is to just start piling material in a convenient corner of your garden. The composting process can happen a bit more slowly in open heaps. Covering the heap with plastic sheeting to insulate and turning the material regularly can help speed up the process. Also, the larger the heap, the higher the temperature which helps decomposition.

Wire mesh

A quick and easy way to contain your compost heap is to simply make a cylinder of wire mesh (such as chicken wire). If you find this a bit wobbly, to give the container more shape, drive stakes into the ground at four corners, and wrap the wire around the stakes. Secure wire to stakes with a short piece of wire, or simply squeeze the wire around the stakes.

Old dustbin

A very simple option is to use an old dustbin. Cut off the base or drill plenty of large holes in the base and sides to allow for ventilation.

Wooden compost bins

You can make an attractive compost bin from any spare wood you may have left over from DIY projects. You can make any size or style you like but here are two ideas:

  • Wooden pallets can be found at many warehouses for free or left over from deliveries. (Watch your neighbours to see who's putting in a patio or re-doing their roof. They might be willing to give you the pallet their materials arrived on.)
  • The Garden Organic website has instructions on how to make an adaptable wooden compost box consisting of identical interlocking sections that are stacked one on top of the other. As the compost decreases in volume, the top sections of the box can be taken off and used to start building up a new container.