Make leaf compost

Making your own compost is great fun and really good for your garden. You can make special compost out of leaves which is called leaf mould to improve soil or act as a mulch to keep weeds out.

Build a leaf compost bin

What you'll need

  • 4 bamboo canes, about 1.5m high

  • 4 eye protectors or yoghurt pots to protect your eyes from the canes

  • Measuring sticks

  • 4.5m plastic netting/windbreak netting

  • Thin gardening wire, cut into 10 pieces each 8-10cm long

What to do

  1. Put the eye protectors on the top of each cane for safety. Push the first corner cane firmly into the ground.

  2. Using the measuring sticks, form a 1 x 1m square from the first cane and firmly push the other three canes into position.

  3. Unroll the netting and slowly walk around the four canes, so that the two ends meet and the four canes are enclosed.

  4. Fix the netting to the canes, by passing the wire through the net and twisting the two ends together tightly around the cane. Apply at least two pieces of wire per cane, spaced at the top and bottom.

  5. On the last cane, the netting should overlap and the wire should feed through both layers. The loose ends of the netting can either be cut off or attached to the other piece of netting with another piece of wire. This will form an enclosed bin ready for lots of leaves.

  6. Once the leaves start falling, collect the leaves and start to fill your bin.

  7. Water in the layers as you go, as this helps to rot the leaves down. It may take up to a year before the leaf mould is ready to dig in to improve the soil or use as mulch.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.