HomeOutdoor DecorWhere To Place A Compost Bin: The Best Location

Where To Place A Compost Bin: The Best Location

Before you start composting, it’s important to know the right location for where to place a compost bin or pile. 

Did you know that composting is one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact? You can turn food scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil that you can use in your garden.

But the location can affect the quality of your compost and the time it takes to decompose. With so much to consider, here are the best tips on choosing the right location for your compost bin.

Where To Place A Compost Bin

Compost bins located in an ideal location in a partially shaded area.

How Much Space Do You Need

The amount of space you need for your compost bin will depend on if you are using the compost for kitchen waste or if you will be adding yard waste.

It also determines the size of your bin or bins. For a lot of yard waste, you will do best with a multi-bin system which will require a lot of space.

For example, I know we will need a good sized space for our sized yard. We have chosen a 3-bin system to make the process go faster. 

Convenient Access

A person pour waste into their compost bin located in their yard near house.

If the bin location isn’t easy to access, the chances that you will keep up with the composting process are less.

So be sure to think about the access from your home and the access to your garden or other spaces where you’ll use the finished compost. 

For example, if it’s raining, snowing, or freezing outside, and your compost bin is a long distance from the house.

There may be a good chance you put off taking your kitchen scraps to it. 

So try to keep your compost pile within a reasonable walking distance from your house.

Give Yourself Some Space

Compost bins placed in an area with a lot of space in front for easy working access.

If you use your compost bin for holding yard waste, you want the bin or series of bins to be in an area you can easily push a wheelbarrow to.

Give yourself easy access. You also want to give yourself enough space in front of the bins to maneuver your tools as you add and turn the waste. 

A good rule of thumb for your composting area is to allow twice the size of your compost bin. It gives you enough room to turn and aerate the compost.

It also gives you enough room to get a wheelbarrow around it to move your nutrient-rich compost to your vegetable garden when it’s done. 

For more on composting different types of yard waste, here’s how to compost weeds and how to compost wood chips.

Temperature Of The Compost Bin and The Sun

The temperature of your pile will determine how long the decomposition process takes. The colder it is, the longer it takes, and the hotter, the more efficient the process.

And this will more than likely depend on where the sun hits your yard and where you position your compost. 

But you also don’t necessarily want your compost to be in full, hot sun all day, as too much could cause it to dry out.

Composting requires a well-balanced level of moisture to work properly. 

Therefore, the ideal location will receive some shade during the day and avoid extremely sunny areas all day. 

The length of time for organic matter to break down can all depend on the climate you are in.

If you live in a very cold climate, putting your compost heap in the sunniest part of your yard may be more beneficial. 

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Test says "the best location for compost bins" and "it matters", Compost bins located in an ideal location in a partially shaded area.

Stay Away From Trees (But Plants Are Okay)

Trees provide the shade you need, but they also have hungry root systems that seek out nutrients and water, which isn’t good for your compost pile. 

On the other hand, placing it near plants is perfectly acceptable, and the plants will love you for it!

Place A Compost Bin Or Pile Close To A Water Source

More than likely, moisture will be required in the composting process. It’s way more convenient if you’re within close proximity to a garden hose. 

The last thing you want to do is haul buckets of water repeatedly. 

Avoid Windy Spots

Similar to a sunny spot, putting the pile somewhere very windy will dry out.

You want the pile to remain humid and retain those moisture levels. So the best spot has natural or man-made windbreakers if your yard gets windy. 

Be A Considerate Neighbor

It’s probably a good idea not to put your compost bin too close to your neighbor’s yard, house, or fence. 

Your compost pile should not smell much, if at all, but things are only sometimes perfect, and the last thing you want is to upset your neighbors over something easily avoidable.

Compost Bin Location Visual Considerations

A compost bin concealed by a lattice fence.

If the aesthetics of your garden is important to you, you may want to hide your compost bin. 

You can hide it with plants, a screen, or an arch. Or make a nice-looking wooden bin. 

Avoid Placing A Compost Bin Against The House

Just like you don’t want to put it against your neighbors’ houses, don’t place it against yours.

Sometimes things get out of balance in your pile, and you get smelly compost. 

The last thing you want is to get a whiff of that inside your house constantly.

Also, compost occasionally attracts unwanted visitors, such as bugs or rodents. So keeping the bin at least 10 feet away from your house is a good idea. 

Choose a Level, Well-Drained Site

It makes sense to want a level spot for your outdoor compost bin, but having a well-drained spot is also important, especially if you’re using an open-bottomed bin. 

You want the pile to stay moist, but too much water is just as bad as too little. Good drainage is essential.

Pay attention to where puddles tend to form after rain. Generally speaking, these will not be good spots for your compost.

Also, a compost pile should be placed directly on the soil so any liquid drains away (this liquid is known as leachate or “compost tea”).

So putting the compost pile on pavement or other hard surfaces is not advised. 

Also, and more importantly, microbes and earthworms will come from the soil below your pile, which is another important reason to place your compost pile onto the ground. 

If you’re using an off-the-ground system, such as a tumbler, adding a small amount of compost at the beginning is often advised to introduce microbes. Kind of like a starter for sourdough bread!

As you can see, a combination of the ideal conditions mentioned above will provide the best temperature of the pile and provide faster composting. 

FAQ For Where To Place Compost Bin Or Compost Tumbler

You can add all sorts of organic matter to your compost, including food waste, grass clippings, wood chips, coffee grounds, and much more. 

You should never add non-organic waste, dairy products or meat, and other items. 

One of the most asked questions is whether your compost bin should be in the sun or the shade. In reality, partial shade is the best option.

If you must choose one extreme or the other, the best option is the shade over an area with direct sunlight.

The shade will prevent the water from evaporating and depleting the moisture needed in your compost. 

As you can see from what we covered, quite a few factors determine this.

However, compost bins are generally tucked away in a corner of the garden. It should be easily accessible, but not where the occasional smell or liquid will be a problem.

Place it on level and well-drained soil in a spot with sun and shade.

Not sure about if you want to go all in on composting yet? Then check out our pros and cons of composting.

And here is a rundown of all the different methods of composing.

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