Hobby gardeners who cultivate their ornamental and vegetable garden in harmony with nature do not want to do without a compost heap with all its ecological advantages. At the same time, they are striving for a tastefully designed green space that would be difficult to integrate with a pile of rubbish. A patent solution to the problem that is as simple as it is convincing comes in the form of the wooden composter, constructed by the company itself. A pinch of manual skill, coupled with clear instructions, is enough to implement the plan, because building a wooden composter yourself is not a difficult hurdle.

material list

  • 24 wooden boards, 75 cm long x 10 cm wide x 2.5 cm thick.
  • 24 wooden boards, 70 cm long x 10 cm wide x 2.5 cm thick.
  • 4 squared timbers, 40 cm long x 6 cm wide x 6 cm thick.
  • 36 squared timbers, 20 cm long x 6 cm wide x 6 cm thick.
  • Galvanized nails 6 cm long.
  • Shovel, mallet, ruler.
  • If necessary ready-mixed concrete, bucket, mixing stick.

These materials result in a windrow with a base area of ​​75 cm x 75 cm, consisting of a total of 10 elements. Garden lovers who want to build a larger or smaller container simply adjust the dimensions.

The base element

The 4 squared timbers for the bottom element are twice as long as the other 36 beams. As part of the base element, they also have the task of anchoring the wooden composter in the ground. For this purpose they are sharpened and driven into the ground. Where the soil is too compacted, holes should be dug in the appropriate places. Hobby gardeners who build a larger composter themselves stabilize the 4 squared timbers with ready-mixed concrete or flash concrete.

Build a stack element

Following the basic element, the plan is to build the 9 segments, which are first assembled individually.

  • Connect 2 boards with a length of 70 cm using 2 squared timbers.
  • Also nail 2 boards with a length of 75 cm with 2 squared timbers.
  • The boards are flush at the outer edge.
  • The slats protrude 2.5 cm at the top edge.

The height of the squared timber is dimensioned so that it does not match the width of the boards. This also creates a gap of 2.5 cm at the bottom to create gaps for ventilation of the compost heap.

Lay one on top of the other step by step

The construction using stacking elements has the advantage that the wooden composter grows parallel to the compost heap. When the garden and kitchen waste has reached the upper edge of a segment, the hobby gardener simply places the next element and the compost disappears behind the wooden boards.

Tip: To prevent the wood from weathering so quickly, it is advisable to seal the boards and squared timber with an organic wood stain made from natural raw materials.

Build a slat composter yourself

If a garden enthusiast prefers to enclose his compost heap with a continuous wooden structure, the list of materials is reduced by the 36 squared timbers that are required in the segment construction.

material list

  • 4 squared timbers, 140 cm long x 10 cm wide x 10 cm thick.
  • 18 wooden boards, 75 cm long x 10 cm wide x 2.5 cm thick.
  • 18 wooden boards, 70 cm long x 10 cm wide x 2.5 cm thick.
  • Spacer for 5 cm.
  • Galvanized nails or screws.
  • Shovel, hammer, ruler, spirit level.
  • Possibly flash concrete, bucket, wooden stick.

It is advisable to choose the remaining 4 squared timbers a few centimeters thicker, as in this case they alone carry the weight of the wooden boards. The list of materials given refers to a base area of ​​75 cm x 75 cm and a height of 120 cm.


  • Drive the squared timber at the measured place 20 cm deep into the ground or embed it in concrete.
  • Place 1 batten on each 2 beams and check the horizontal alignment with the spirit level.
  • Nail or screw the wooden boards to the squared timber.
  • Spacers serve as an aid to create an even distance of 5 cm.

The later removal of mature garden compost is made much easier by an opening on the front side of the wooden construction. For this purpose, 1 wooden board is left out between 2 squared timbers and pieces of wood are attached instead. A board is screwed onto this, which allows the slats to be inserted and removed from the side. Ideally, the pieces of wood are slightly thicker than the slats, which increases stability and safely absorbs the pressure from the compost heap.

Without nails and screws – the practical plug-in system

A wooden composter in a plug-in design saves energy-sapping hammering in of nails or laborious screwing. In addition, this variant – comparable to the stacking elements – offers the option of the container growing in height synchronously with the stack, which makes it easier to load with garden and kitchen waste.

material list

  • 20 wooden boards, 100 cm long x 10 cm wide x 4 cm thick.
  • Jigsaw, tape measure, pencil


Except for the two lower boards, all slats are provided with a cut-out on the lower edge: 2.5 cm wide and 4 cm high. So that everything fits exactly later, the distance on both sides of the wood is 5 cm from the outer edge. With this carving, most of the assembly is already done. Then all the wooden parts are put together to form a square. The necessary ventilation slits are created automatically because the sawn-out sections only make up a quarter of the slat width.

Tip: If you wish to give the construction additional stability, attach squared timber approx. 5 cm thick to the corners. In this case, of course, nails or screws are still used.

Build a compost heap yourself from Euro pallets

Probably the most uncomplicated and cheapest construction method is with used Euro pallets. These are available in a standardized size of 120 cm x 80 cm and result in a composter with an acceptable footprint for a small garden.

material list

  • 12 used Europe pallets in standardized dimensions.
  • 6 stable wooden beams, at least 1.80 m long and 10 cm thick.
  • Sledgehammer, cut-off grinder
  • Galvanized nails or screws.

Without question, this list can be extended or shortened at will if a clamp with larger or smaller dimensions is desired.


Knock off the feet of the Euro pallets with a sledgehammer and then grind off the protruding nails without leaving any residue. Anchor 3 wooden beams next to each other at a distance of 100 cm and 20 cm deep into the ground at the intended location. Concrete the remaining wooden beams in parallel at a distance of 100 cm. The Euro pallets are then attached in such a way that they are flush with the outer edges of the wooden beams. This results in a rectangle 2.40 m long and 1.20 m wide. This can either be closed all around with the wooden pallets, or 2 pallets on the narrow side are left out, so that there is open access for uncomplicated loading and unloading.

Note: A cover should always be avoided. Without sufficient moisture supply from rainwater, the compost would dry up within a short time and would be unusable.

Suitable wood qualities

Hobby gardeners who build a wooden composter themselves determine the amount of the costs essentially by the choice of wood quality. The standards laid down in the construction industry also serve as a guide in the leisure sector, because using the price alone as a criterion for choosing the type of wood is probably too one-sided. Depending on the size of the enclosed compost heap, the wooden walls should be able to withstand a certain amount of pressure. In addition, the effects of the weather, especially rain and snow, should not be underestimated. The subdivision of the wood species into 5 durability classes proves to be helpful.

Classes 1 and 2 with a service life of up to 25 years

  • Oak
  • Teak
  • Cumaru

Other high-priced tropical woods are assigned to these classes, such as bangkirai or robinia, which are more of interest for terrace construction.

Class 3 with a shelf life of up to 10 years

  • Nussbaum
  • Sapeli
  • Douglasie

Class 4 with up to 5 years durability

  • Fichte
  • Tanne
  • larch

In the lowest classification, maple, alder, birch or ash cavort, which only house the compost heap for a relatively short time; in return, of course, can be purchased extremely cheaply.

Thermowood as a modern and environmentally friendly variant

The relentless overexploitation of the rainforests has prompted engineers to develop a method to strengthen our native wood species in an ecologically compatible manner. They discovered that ash, birch, beech, larch or spruce become more stable if they are heated to 230° Celsius for a period of 24 to 48 hours. This means that these types of wood are still not qualified as load-bearing elements in the construction industry; as a building material for an aesthetic and durable wooden composter, they are of course suitable every day. The use of chemicals can be completely dispensed with and a significantly longer service life can still be assumed.

building permit or not?

The building legislation in Germany is strictly regulated and also includes the area of ​​the home garden to a certain extent. While larger construction projects, such as garden houses with lounges and toilets, generally require a building permit, there are flexible regulations for smaller projects within a certain framework. Fencing systems, for example, only require approval above a specified height. A generally valid statement cannot be made, of course, because the local building authorities of the municipal or city administrations are ultimately responsible. It is therefore definitely advisable to contact the responsible office in advance and inquire. So it can happen that the self-built wooden composter is in principle not subject to approval,

Building a wooden composter yourself not only saves money, but also offers the gardener more flexibility in terms of construction and size. With the help of instructions, the work can be done quickly and gives the pleasure of productive creativity. At the same time, the unsightly pile of rubbish becomes invisible and can do its useful work without spoiling the appearance of the garden.

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