How To Know Where To Place Your Compost Bin

Thinking about composting at home and not sure where to place your compost bin? Consider these questions to figure out where to put your at-home compost bin.

If you’re just starting to think about composting at home, you may first consider where a compost bin, heap, or tumbler might live in your yard. There’s not really a wrong or bad spot for a compost bin with respect to the composting process working effectively. If done properly, composting does not attract animals or pests that will pose problems. It doesn’t really matter if your compost bin is in the sun or the shade, though its placement may impact how you manage it.

While you can’t really mess up the placement of a compost bin at home, there are some factors to consider to find a place that makes the most sense for you and makes composting as simple as possible.

How To Know Where To Place Your Compost Bin

Here are some questions to consider when thinking about where to place your compost bin or tumbler in your yard.

How often will you bring food scraps to your compost bin?

Depending on how often you plan to drop food scraps and other materials into your compost bin may inform your decision about where it lives. For example, if you plan to bring food scraps out to your compost bin each day, you might want something that’s a little closer to your house.

On the other hand, if you plan to contain your food scraps in a bucket or sealed container for a week or two in your kitchen before hauling them out to your compost bin, being close to your house might not be such a high priority.

Consider how often you’ll be visiting your compost bin and if the walk to the compost bin will deter you from using it with regularity. If the trip is a deterrent, consider a new home if possible so it doesn’t get in the way of your composting efforts.

How do you store your food scraps until they are ready to put into the bin?

Related to the question above, how you store your food scraps in your house may influence where you put your compost bin. If you have a large container in your house, such as a sealed bucket under your kitchen sink or a compost crock with a charcoal filter on your counter, you can allow food scraps to collect overtime for far longer than if you plan to toss them in a bowl on your kitchen counter throughout the day. The more frequently you need to empty your indoor compost container, the closer you probably want your compost bin to your door.

How is the climate where you live?

Think about the weather where you live. Consider if rainy days, cold winters and deep snow, or really hot summer days might make a trip to the compost bin more uncomfortable or inconvenient. As I helped my parents think about where to put their first compost bin, we kept in mind that they live in the tundra of Minnesota. For many months during the year, the ground is covered in snow. Therefore it was important to find a place in their yard that didn’t require trudging through the snow on a regular basis to empty their food scraps during the winter months.

How much do you plan to put in your compost bin? 

Some families have far fewer food scraps and compost material than others. If you expect to collect a lot of food scraps and yard waste to fill a large compost bin, you’ll certainly need more space than the family who uses a simple tumbler to hold their decomposing food waste.

What type of compost bin or container do you plan to use? 

If you plan to use a pre-made tumbler or container to hold your compost, that can reside just about anywhere. If you plan to pile up your food scraps and other compost matter in a heap or an open bin, you may want to keep it a bit away from the house just so it doesn’t become a safe space for rodents and other animals to cuddle up next to your home.

Properly managed compost bins don’t generally attract pests. But if your compost is an open pile or heap of decomposing matter, it’s not bad to keep it a bit away from the house just to be safe. Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you won’t perfectly manage your compost pile all the time. Every once in a while, it will need a little readjustment and likely enjoy a few friendly visits from your animal neighbors.

Will it be an eyesore to you or your neighbors? 

Some neighborhoods are more particular than others about the appearance of landscaping and other yard fixtures. You may want to consider if your compost bin will be an eyesore to your neighbors or even violate your homeowner’s association contract, particularly if it’s in a place that is visible from the street.

If you’re concerned about your neighbors not being fans of your composting habit, you may consider getting a tumbler or manufactured bin that is a bit cleaner looking and better contains composting matter. You could also consider putting your compost behind a bush or other plant or structure so it’s hidden from the street

Certain neighbors might appreciate your composting and eco-friendly living habits. If you’re feeling generous, consider putting your compost bin in a place where neighbors can also use it to drop their food scraps. It could create a great sense of community and be a vehicle for encouraging more eco-friendly habits in your neighborhood.

Sharing or not, before you land on the right spot to house your future garden gold (i.e. compost), reflect on how your neighbors might feel and how it could impact your home’s curb appeal.

So Where Should The Compost Bin Go?

It really depends on your yard, your composting preferences and habits, the climate where you live, and more. Hopefully, these considerations will help you find the perfect spot that works for your family and your compost bin.

However, know there really isn’t a wrong place to put a compost bin. You’re not going to mess it up. A compost bin will eventually compost your matter no matter where it lives, and you can always move it if you need to.

What did you consider when you decided where to place your compost bin? If you have other things you think are worth considering, definitely share them in the comments!

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