Build a Compost Fence

When you are composting in your own yard, you may want to build a compost fence to keep animals out of the composting area and contain the compost.

Step One - Buy the Materials

The materials that you will need for your compost fence are wire fencing materials or a “snow fence” section of fencing material.

The wire that is best for composting is the large, rectangular wire mesh commonly found at any home improvement center. You can also use chicken wire or hardware cloth. Use galvanized wire to prevent corrosion.

The snow fencing materials can be found at some home improvement centers, but not in all parts of the country. This type of fencing is common in upper Midwest and other northern climates. It consists of small fencing posts held together by wires.
You should not use biodegradable fencing unless you want to replace the fence every few years.

Step Two – Posts or No Posts?

If you create a mesh composting bin with no posts, it is easy to move and lift. You can easily reach the composted material at the bottom of the bin as well, and allows you to use it when the top material is not yet ready.

Make the decision about posts before you begin. If you decide to use posts, it does add stability. Buy 3 or 4 standard wood or metal fence posts for a round bin.

Step Three – Prepare the Wire

Use a ten foot length of wire for the compost fence. Fold back the edges of the wire with pliers and pinch the edge tight. If you are using hardware cloth, file down the exposed ends. Create a strong, clean edge.

Step Four – Form the Wire

Form the wire into a circular shape. Using pliers, fasten the two ends of the wire fencing together by twisting the wires. Don’t make them too tight if you will want to access the composted materials.

Step Five – Install Posts

If you use fence posts, pound them into the ground, spaced around the interior of the bin. Push them tightly against the mesh as you pound. If you use hardware cloth, there is less chance that you will need to use fence posts, since it is sturdy on its own.

Step Six – Snow Fence Compost Pile

Use a 13 foot length of snow fencing and four sturdy wood or metal fence posts to construct the composting unit out of snow fence.

Pound the fence posts into the ground in a square with 3 foot sides.

Beginning at one post, attach one end of the fencing to the post using lengths of heavy wire cut long enough to go around the post and leave six inches for twisting together. Tuck the ends so that the wires do not snag people or animals near the bins.

Continue attaching the fence at each post, using additional wire. Close the fence with more lengths of wire.

Step Seven – Using the Bin

If you choose not to turn compost in your wire bins, the compost should be ready to use on a garden within six months to a year. You can cut a small door in the bottom of the bin, using wires to keep it closed, and access the bottom compost in that way. Otherwise, open the bin to pull out the bottom compost.