If you garden, compost can be an ace in the hole. Rich in nutrients that all plants need, it can give your garden and other plantings a serious boost.
Compost is also the perfect way to recycle all sorts of kitchen, household, and yard waste into useable, eco-friendly fertilizer.
This saves you money while helping to keep trash and filth out of landfills and the environment. It is a win-win.
There is just one issue to deal with, though: where to put the compost bin itself. Tending to your compost will be yet another item on your never-ending list of chores, so it is important to make the process as easy on yourself as possible.
You don’t want to make it a pain to get to, but you also need to site it carefully for proper results and ease of use. It can be tricky!
So before you can start reaping the benefits of composting you’ll need to figure out the right location for your bin. Today we will help you do just that with a list of seven great places to put it.
Considerations for Placing Your Compost Bin
Before we get straight to the list, it is helpful to know what factors should influence your decision. There are several considerations you’ll need to juggle for placing your compost bin.
However, some of them might be mutually exclusive depending on your specific property, garden location and other concerns. Take a moment to review these factors and compare them against your personal situation.
This is the number one consideration for many people. After all, if it is a real pain to get to your compost bin you probably won’t tend to it as often as you should.
Neglect can lead to problems, stalling the breakdown of the compost in a number of ways.
If possible, try to place your bin within easy reach of both the house and garden. If you have to go too far out of your way it probably won’t get used as often as it should.
On the other hand, some people might be more concerned about how their compost bin looks on your property.
This is a valid consideration, particularly if you live in a neighborhood where everyone keeps their yards looking nice.
In this case, it is best to place the bin somewhere that won’t be too visible from the street or other areas where people congregate. The last thing you want is for your compost bin to become an eyesore.
3. Thermal Considerations
The temperature of your compost can have a significant impact on its performance. If it gets too cold the process of decomposition will slow down significantly.
Conversely, if it gets too hot it might wind up killing off all the beneficial bacteria that make composting possible. In general, you’ll want to avoid placing your bin in direct sunlight as this will tend to make it too hot.
Moisture is critical for composting. If the bin is too dry the process will stall, while too much moisture can lead to problems with mold and other fungi.
It is important to strike a balance, which can be tricky depending on your climate and the location of your bin.
Completed compost does not really smell, but compost piles that are out of balance or ill-tended can reek. If you are worried about odors, it is best to place your bin as far away from the house and other gathering areas as possible.
Keep these factors in mind as you read throughout the list of picks for best compost bin locations below.
The Top 7 Places to Put Your Compost Bin
1. In a Partially Shaded Spot
One great option is to place your compost bin in a partially shaded spot. Shade from your home, an outbuilding, convenient tree cover, or anything else can work.
This will help to keep the bin from getting too hot in the direct sun while still allowing it to get plenty of warmth and light periodically. Remember, a compost pile is about balance.
Take care to assess how much sun your compost gets as the months go by and seasons change, as slight variations in the track of the sun or changes in the environment might drastically affect how much shade your bin gets.
Make sure that the spot isn’t too shady as this can make it difficult for the composting process to sustain at a good clip.
2. Near the Garden
If you have an existing garden, and you probably do, placing your compost bin nearby can be a great option. This will allow you to easily put the compost to work when and where it is actually needed!
But depending on where your garden is located in relation to your home, you might be facing a trek to add kitchen scraps and other organic matter to the pile.
There are a few things to keep in mind with this approach, however. First, make sure that the bin won’t be in the way of foot traffic or other garden activity.
Second, you’ll need to keep an eye on it to make sure that critters attracted to the compost might not also prey on your live plants, or that beneficial insects leave your plants for the compost.
So long as you can do that you should definitely consider placing your compost bin near your garden.
3. Near Raised Beds/Planters
As with placing your bin near the garden, placing your compost bin near your raised beds or planters can be a great option.
This will allow you to easily add compost to your beds as needed without having to lug heavy compost too far. The same considerations as with placing the bin near the garden apply here.
You’ll need to make sure that the bin won’t interfere with movement or other activity around the beds, or that it will block future expansion. You don’t want to move a heavy compost pile, trust me.
As with your garden above do keep an eye on things to make sure that pests aren’t attracted to the live plants, and that your beneficial critters aren’t abandoning the beds for any reason.
4. Along a Fence Line
If you have a fence line that provides partial shade, this can be a great place to put your compost bin. The benefits are twofold.
First, it can act as a windbreak for your bin. Second, it can allow you to tuck the bin out of sight, providing some additional privacy if you are worried about your compost being too visible from the street or other areas.
Just make sure that the fence is in good repair and that the bin won’t be too close to it as moisture can potentially rot or stain your fence.
A few inches of the standoff is usually plenty unless your bin is overflowing, and if it is you should get to use that compost!
5. Behind a Shed or Outbuilding
If you just want your compost pile out of sight and out of mind, this spot has the most potential.
Generally, it will be out of the way and out of sight, and highly unlikely to interfere with any activities around the property. It can provide some measure of protection from too much sun.
However, depending on the positioning of your shed it might not be convenient to your garden, or even convenient for making trips to the pile for additions or turning.
Additionally, this location will often lead to pest problems in and around your shed, so you’ll need to be prepared for that.
Do take care that your bin is not exposed to excess water runoff from the roof of the shed as with your home, above; this is something you should test before placing your pile!
6. In a Well-Drained Spot of Your Yard
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t mind your bin being plopped in the middle of your yard you can simply place it anywhere it has good drainage.
This should be the natural high spot of your property that is not in the path of runoff after a good, heavy rain.
You don’t want it to get inundated anytime it rains. So as long as you have a spot that slopes slightly or is elevated in some way it should be fine.
Again, if the bin is getting full sun you will need to stay on top of turning it regularly or, better, get a cover for it that can shade it without blocking airflow.
7. Against an Exterior Wall of Your Home
Against an exterior wall of your own home is a popular spot for a compost bin, but this one is really 50/50 when it comes to advantages against disadvantages, and for that reason you should consider carefully whether or not to site your compost bin here.
If you have a spot along the exterior wall of your home that gets some sun and is out of sight you might just have a potential spot for parking your compost bin system.
This will allow you to quickly add scraps from your kitchen and elsewhere in your home without having to go far, and if you can put it near your trashcans so much the better.
That can be an extremely convenient placement. Also, your bin will get the benefit of picking up some gentle radiant, and reflected heat from the wall throughout the day.
But the cons, and there are some big ones, are that you’ll need to take great care of the pile since it will stink to high heaven if improperly managed, and being so close to the house you will likely catch a whiff when you open a nearby door or window.
Also expect a few close encounters with insects and mammals that are coming to check out your leavings.
Lastly, double-check and make sure that your pile won’t be getting hit with a deluge of water cascading off the roof whenever it rains. Your pile needs to be moist, but not that moist!
Find the Right Spot for Your Compost Bin
Now that you know some good places to put your compost bin, it’s time to find the right spot for yours.
Consider how easy it will be to access from your home and from your garden, and try to keep it partially shaded and out of sight. If you can do that, you’ll have great compost in no time that won’t bother you or your neighbors.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.