Looking for ways to make your yard more beautiful and productive without spending a ton of money? Here's how you can start a compost pile that is easy to maintain. 

Creating a beautiful and productive garden and yard can be as expensive or time intensive as you afford.

You can go to the store and do several supply runs to fix up the problem spots. And for some instances, that's an efficient way of doing things.

In many cases, though, going the do it self route can be the best route. Take composting.

Why You Should Compost

We're working on getting our yard more consistent and productive. Right now we have patches of really great soil and plenty of areas where its either a clay mess or sandy.

Considering the size of our lot (just over 1/2 acre), we knew that we had to put composting at the top of our to do list.

If you're new to gardening the composting is basically helping organic material break down into healthy nutrient rich soil (also called ‘black gold').

Some big benefits with composting:

  • great for the environment (your food trash is productively used)
  • big money saver (since you're not having to rely on fertilizer, which can get pricey)
  • easy on time (using what's around you saves you a trip and maintaining it is a cinch)

Sounds like a win all around, right? So how so you get started?

How to Start a Compost Pile (The Easy Way)

There are several ways you can compost, but one of the easiest ways to get started is using what you probably have around yard.

  1. Start by spreading a layer of leaves or straw on the bare ground. This will allow worms to help aerate the pile.
  2. Top that with several inches of dried leaves and/or straw. This layer will help with drainage.
  3. Add a thin layer of soil. Since we're trying to level some area, I simply used that for the pile.
  4. Don't forget to throw in some ‘green' material like grass clippings and clover. You can also include some used coffee grounds and food scraps.
  5. Add another layer of leaves and or straw.
  6. Moisten the pile.

You can turn the pile every couple of weeks or if you're looking for a lower maintenance option, you can try drilling some holes into a PVC pipe and planting into the pile.

Note: If you have a ton of leaves you can start another pile and compost them. Find a shaded area with good drainage.

It won't have much in nutrients, but it can used be a soil amendment.

Compost Bins

While you don't need a bin to start composting, it can be a practical solution if you're hoping to keep pests away and want to organize your yard.

You can buy a compost container or you can build one with simple materials such as old pallets.

To keep things contained, we re-purposed an old zip line tower into a compost bin. The pile on the left is made from everything around the yard and the smaller one is just the leaves.

More on Composting

I still have so much to learn, but I'm really happy with the progress we're making. Some of the bald patches are starting to sprout some life.

If you really want to get into composting I highly recommend checking these out:

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