How to Make Compost

best compost buying guide ideas

Compost is a key component to any happy garden. Rich in the essential nutrients needed to encourage plant growth and help flowers bloom, it’s a must-have. 

If you’re an avid gardener or are looking to live more sustainably, a fantastic way to join us on our eco-conscious mission is to make your own compost. Discover everything you need to know about the role compost plays in your outdoor space as we teach you how to compost. 


What is compost?  

Compost is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that’s widely used in gardens to improve soil quality. It’s commonly made up of organic materials that decompose to produce well-balanced, nutritious compost that will help the plants in your garden grow strong and healthy.    

Traditional compost comprises primarily of peat, sourced from lowland raised bogs. However, over time, resource is becoming more and more scarce.  

To help preserve these bogs, peat-free compost and reduced-peat alternatives are now more common. Making your own compost is also a sustainable, peat-free option. 

Top tip: Learn more about the 5 best peat-free composts and our sustainability mission here.  


How to make compost  

Whether you’re aiming to live more sustainably, or need an affordable way to give your garden soil some TLC, follow our step-by-step guide on how to make compost at home.  

Now, let’s get started with what you’ll need…   


Your homemade compost can be made up of a combination of the following: 

  • Fruit and veg scraps 
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Eggshells 
  • Grass and plant clippings 
  • Dry leaves 
  • General garden waste 
  • Straw 
  • Woodchips 
  • Shredded newspaper 



1. Choose a compost bin 

A compost bin is a rarely unseen garden accessory amongst the green-fingered. However, if you’re just getting into composting, it can be tricky to know what kind of compost bin to choose. 

Firstly, think about your budget. We offer a variety compost bins, ranging from £25-£175 depending on the size and capabilities.  

Secondly, think about how much garden space you have to work with. Where will you be setting up your compost bin? While small compost bins may seem like the best non-invasive option, the larger ones can work more efficiently, producing more compost.  

From compact 15L urban composters to 1000L thermoinsulating compost bins, browse our full range to find your best fit.  

2. Choose where to set up your composter 

Now that you’ve chosen your compost bin, it’s time to find the best place for it. 

It should be on a levelled-out, flat area in your garden that is well-drained and gets plenty of sunlight. 

Additionally, think about convenience. If your compost bin is located at the very back of your garden, how willing will you be to head out in all weathers to top it up? 

3. Begin collecting green compost materials 

In the UK, we waste around 9.5 million tonnes of food per year. Luckily, some of this food waste can make its way to your compost bin. These are your ‘green’ materials that will add nitrogen to your compost. 

Scraps such as fruit, vegetables and eggshells make for perfect homemade compost ingredients, as well as items in your fridge that might be past their best.  

Do not use meat, fish or processed foods in your compost, as these can attract pests into your garden and create bad bacteria in your soil.  

Top tip: Why not collect food scraps and save them in the Garantia Urban Composter – 15L? Either use this as your main composter if you have a small garden or to take the collected food waste out to your main outdoor compost bin once full. 


4. Prepare garden waste for composting 

Did you know that your general garden waste also makes for a great component to your homemade compost? 

From dry leaves and grass cuttings to pruned branches and old houseplants, these organic ‘brown’ materials will help add carbon to your compost. You can also add old newspaper, straw or wood shavings for the same purpose.  

Top tip: Use a combination of pruning equipment and garden shredders to break down your garden waste so that it fits in your composter.  

5. Begin layering your compost materials 

Once you have a good mix of green and brown materials, it’s time to start layering them up in your composter. 

For the best results, we recommend starting your compost pile with coarse materials, such as twigs or woodchips – to allow for good drainage.  

Then, begin alternating layers between green and brown materials. The different layers help one another to break down more efficiently. 


6. Water your compost 

Your homemade compost should have the consistency of a damp sponge. Not too dry. Not too wet. Sprinkle with water where necessary to maintain its consistency.  

Be careful not to add too much water, as the microorganisms in your compost will become waterlogged. If it gets too wet, add more dry materials to balance it out.


7. Turn your compost every 2-4 weeks  

Using a large garden fork or spade, give the compost a mix to provide it with oxygen. Turning your homemade compost not only helps it break down faster, but also helps eliminate odours. 

8. Harvest your homemade compost 

So, how long does it take to make compost? With consistent maintenance, your compost will be ready to harvest at around 6 months – 2 years.  

You’ll know the compost is ready when it’s dark in colour, crumbly and smells like earth – similar to ready-packaged compost. 

Using a spade or trowel, collect the completed compost (it will be at the top of the pile) and leave the other materials to finish decomposing.  

Be sure to not use your compost before it’s fully complete. The microbes from materials that haven’t fully decomposed could cause more harm to your garden than good! 

Top tip: This DIY compost project is a great one to complete with kids! It teaches them the role compost plays in the garden, as well as highlighting the importance of recycling. Check out our other kids activity ideas here. 


And there you are – your very own homemade compost heap! If you’re looking for more outdoor tips and tricks, check out our other garden ideas. 




Writer and expert