Building a composter is very easy, the main thing is that you plan the job properly and have all necessary materials ready for the day you decide to build the composter.


Old wooden composter

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and also get some nutrient dense compost back to feed the plants/vegetables in your garden.

Items that can be composted include-

  • Grass
  • Leaves
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Tea bags (although it is best to empty the tea leaves out of the bag as some bags contain a membrane that will not decompose)
  • Banana skins (these can take years to compost)
  • Potato skins
  • Newspapers
  • Ash from burning timber etc.

The first thing is to plan the size of the composter, in this example we have plenty of room and so have made a composter that is about 3 metres by 1.5 metres and 1.75m high.

concrete in wooden posts

To start with tanalised posts measuring 100mm by 100mm need placing in position, these posts require a hole to be dug and the posts setting level in the holes using post crete or concrete. Once the posts are set the rest of the composter can be built.

Space out the posts no more than every 1.5 metres apart.

building a composter

In this picture you can see that the posts have been positioned and are being held in position using some feather edge boards until the post crete has set. These boards can then be unscrewed and the boards can then be nailed in position.

dewalt nail gun in use

Once the posts are fixed firmly you can then fix tanalised feather edge boards to the posts, a nail gun makes really light work of this. It’s important to leave a gap between each board as this allows the air to get into the compost.

Once all the boards have been nailed in position you can then start adding the material to be composted. It can take a few years before all the material breaks down, it is important to keep the compost pile damp (but not wet) and turning the compost over from time to time also helps the materials break down.

wooden composter

A couple of things to consider are the height of the composter as it can be difficult emptying a mowers basket into the composter if it is too high, you might also want to add at least one door to make it easy to turn the compost over.

This large composter has two doors and also a reinforced rail at the top left which can easily take the weight of a full loaded grass basket from a ride on mower.