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Five Easy Steps to the Perfect Compost Pile

Apr 20, 2021General

Compost adds organic matter to your soil, which allows for more oxygen penetration and greater water retention. This “natural fertilizer” provides a slow release of a balanced blend of nutrients that plants need to grow. So what keeps people from composting food and garden scraps in their own backyard? 

At first, composting may seem daunting. Perhaps you’re worried that after a few weeks, you’ll wind up with a huge, stinky mess in your backyard, or that it will attract unwanted critters. Well now we are here to put your worries to rest. Anyone can compost in their own backyard with these five easy steps!

Five Easy Steps to the Perfect Compost Pile


Choose Your Spot

The first thing you need to do is to choose your location. The ideal location is dry and shady. If you don’t have shade, you can still build a compost – you might just need to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s staying moist enough to break down materials. 


Choose Your Container

If you want to avoid the unsightly compost pile of your nightmares, you’re going to want some kind of container. You can buy all sorts of compost bins, but a slightly modified metal trash can is one of the best homemade options. We recommend punching several holes in the bottom and setting in on a few bricks so air can circulate underneath it. 


Prepare Your Container

If you’re using a can or compost bin, you’ll want to begin by filling the can with about three inches of garden soil. Then add about three inches of organic waste (kitchen scraps, etc), three inches of shredded newspaper, and three inches of leaves or grass clippings. 


Maintain the Compost Pile

Now you’re ready to go! Continue building more layers of kitchen waste, paper/wood scraps, and yard clippings until the can is full. A good ratio to keep is mind is about 3 parts brown materials to 1 part green materials. Brown materials include things like dead leaves and plants, shredded paper or cardboard, straw, wood chips, and sawdust, which are high in carbon.Green materials include grass clippings, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps, and most kitchen waste, which are high in nitrogen. Keeping this balance reduces odor and helps the materials break down the most quickly. 



Within three months, your compost should be ready! Finished compost should look like dark, crumbly topsoil and not like the original materials. Make sure it has an “earthy” smell to it so as to not attract pests and animals to your landscaping. There are many ways to use compost, including:

  • Work 1–2 inches of compost into the top 3–5 inches of soil.
  • Put a handful of compost in each hole when you’re planting.
  • In the spring, loosen the top few inches of annual and perennial beds and mix in a 1-inch layer of compost.
  • In the fall, apply a 1-inch layer of compost to protect plant roots and conserve moisture.


Even though these tips make composting so easy that anyone can do it, we recognize that not everyone has the time or interest to DIY. If you’re looking for a simple solution to bring new life to your landscaping, why not give us a call? We know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by that to-do list, which is why we started our Maintenance Plan.

We offer affordable residential maintenance plans with weekly or monthly visits, customized to your unique yard. Many landscape companies charge extra for winter work, but our maintenance contracts provide you with year-round yard care so your yard is in the best possible shape for every season.

Contact us to get started today!


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