I am building a compost bin and it will be built right on the ground.

But is it better with or without a roof? and why? Also does the location change the answer? Lot of rain, snow, etc


4 Answers 4


Building a roof over your compost bin, would prevent it from getting moisture and you would have to water it in hot weather.

As previously mentioned, a bit of old carpet or sheet of corrugated cardboard will help to keep in the moisture while letting the heap breath and keeping in some of the heat to facilitate the micro-organisms growth.

It also has the added benefit of keeping out some of the pests if you are going to be putting food waste on the heap as well as garden waste.


Its about appearance more than anything- however a bit of old carpet will seal in the moisture on the top (think dry summers) and allow it to really break down without having to turn it over too many times- its good though your building it on the ground as this will allow excess moisture to drain away and allow worms to get it in and do their stuff. I prefer to build compost bins away from a house and in the shade as hot sun can ferment a heap and attract flies including wasps and mosquitos too- yuck!

  • Thanks it will be about 100 feet from the house so no worries there!
    – mateoc
    Mar 10, 2013 at 19:23

Not only flies consider how often you are going to be downhill from it, your distance and what you are mostly going to be putting in it. Grass clippings smell like cow manure after just a few days. Well actually its probably the other way around.

Fun Fact: Coffee Grounds are great for compost, i had fun


I roof my five by five by five foot bins, (125 cf), to keep heavy rains from drowning them. Ideal moisture is about the wetness of a wrung out wash cloth. Excessive moisture will drown the pile and the micro-organisms that create the heat, (120-160 degrees). Heat above 140 deg. will kill weed seeds and many pathogens in the soil if you are adding weeds and grass cuttings to your pile. Turning it twice a week will keep you in shape so you don't have to spend money going to a health club. It's a good work out. This keeps the pile from packing down, and a high level of oxygen to keep the micro-organisms active. On a cold day the pile will fog your glasses with all the steam released when you turn the pile. Lets you know it's really active and those tiny hard working organisms are healthy and happy. If you're building on reasonably good ground, the worms will enter the pile and add to the process, moving throughout the pile as it cools. Enjoy creating with Mother Nature as your teacher. She knows what she's doing better than going to college.

  • Good detailed answer; if could include additional information about turning the pile could also be helpful. We encourage you to take the Tour and browse through the Help center, to learn more about how the site works! Thank you! Welcome to the site!
    – M H
    Jan 15, 2021 at 13:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.