Use landscape timbers and rebar to create a sturdy 2 bin compost system. Use it to collect yard waste and save you valuable trips to the landfill. You can save time, gas and have great compost to use in the garden afterward.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Before beginning its best to make sure you have the necessary tools to get the job done. These are all the tools that I used to build and install the compost corral. Everything is pretty self-explanatory at this point.
As far as materials are concerned, I purchased 19 8-foot landscape timbers, 6 4-foot sections of rebar, and 6 concrete footers. The total price came to about $240. I know this is pricey and this corral is probably over built. Taking into account the time, gas and money saved having to take a truck down to landfill every time we bag our grass clippings or cut some branches, I think it is worth it.
Step 2: Site Preparation
You will want to find or make level ground in an area of 8 foot by 4 foot. Remove any debris, gravel, etc until you have reached bare ground. Dig and rake the ground until it is level. Think about the placement of the compost corral so that it is convenient to use and out of sight. We installed ours close to the house but made sure to maintain at least 6 inches between the compost corral and the siding to allow for air flow and prevent mold. We'll see how well that works.
Step 3: Install Footers
Begin to place three concrete footers along the long side. Use the tape measure to keep everything straight. Use one of the timbers and a level to make sure it is all level. Remove the footers and place landscaping fabric around the outside, using the footers to hold it down.
Once the back three concrete footers are in place, set the other tree footers in place and make sure they are level. I had to dig out some dirt to get it all the fit. A level will be your best friend during this step. The longer the level the better. This is all I had. If you use a landscaping timber to level the footers make sure it is very straight and flat.
Step 4: Cut and Drill Timbers
(21) 4-foot sections of landscaping timbers
(18) 6-inch sections of landscaping timbers
Use a paddle bit slightly larger than the rebar to drill through the timbers. Locate the hole 1.5 inches from the edge and right in the middle. Drill 7 8-foot timbers in three places; on each edge and right in the middle. Drill the 4-foot sections on each edge, except you must remember to only drill halfway through three of the timbers because they will form the base. Drill the 6-inch sections only near one of the edges.
This will take some time. MAKE SURE TO USE EYE AND EAR PROTECTION AS WELL AS RESPITORY PROTECTION! These timbers are treated with nasty chemicals. Don't expose yourself.
Step 5: Install Timbers
Start by placing the three 4-foot timbers that aren't drilled all the way through. Then alternate the long timbers and the short sections. When you have placed 2 or 3 levels of timbers. Place the 6 sections of rebar through the holes and then slide the remaining timbers through the rebar. A baby sledge really helped set all the timbers.
Make sure to keep everything straight as you go.
Step 6: Add Mesh Screen
I had some mesh screen in the garage and decided to place it at the back of the corral to keep the compost from falling on the house. I just cut it to size and then used electricity staples to keep in in place.
I also backfilled the pea gravel over the landscape fabric.
Step 7: Fill It With Yard Waste and Admire Your Work
I don't place any big logs in the compost corral but small woody branches are okay. Try to alternate green and brown material for faster composting. You can turn it as often as you like or just let it be. For the size of our house, there is plenty of capacity. Also, the compost will settle and break down taking up less room.
Maybe later I will cut the rebar to size. I just don't have a grinder to do it.
Please let me know what you think, ways to improve and comments.