Whether you’re living in the country or have a big backyard in a suburb, composting is an efficient way to regenerate poor soils and retain moisture. Budget Dumpster is here to show you how to build your own backyard composter.

To get started, here are the materials you will need:

  • 55-gallon garbage can with a tight fitting lid
  • Hammer and large nail (or drill)
  • Two cinder blocks (or bricks or lumber scraps) to elevate the finished bin off the ground
  • Pie tin to catch compost tea
  • Watering can or garden hose

Get Ready to Assemble

  1. Using a hammer/drill and nail, punch holes into the garbage can at 4-6 inch intervals until you have covered the surface of the can.
  2. Flip the garbage can over and punch four equidistant holes near the center of the bottom for drainage.
  3. Elevate the can using blocks and place the pie tin underneath it to catch any liquid compost tea that drains out.

DIY garbage can

Layer it Up

Layer 1: Start by spreading a layer of garden soil on the bottom of the can.

Layer 2: Next add chopped leaves, shredded newspaper or sawdust. These materials are referred to as browns and are rich in carbon.

Layer 3: Your next layer should contain nitrogen-rich materials, also called greens. There’s a plethora of items that are considered greens.

  • Vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Corn cobs
  • Tea leaves/bags
  • Crushed nut shells
  • Grass clippings (must be dry)


Mix it Up

Be sure to mix the contents in the can, either by rolling it on the ground or by using a shovel, at least once a week.

Garden Time

You can expect a finished compost as soon as 4 to 6 weeks.

By composting you are not only preventing pollution but also reducing the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides.  This marketable commodity is a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and will enable you have the best soil in the neighborhood!