Building a Wire Leaf Bin and Compost Screen

I enjoy working on projects around the yard. It’s educational to make something yourself and see the effectiveness of your project firsthand. In many cases, it’s also cheaper than purchasing a product from a catalog. This spring we took on two projects related to composting: a wire leaf bin and a compost screen.

Wire Leaf Bin

I wanted to construct a cheap wire leaf bin that could serve a few purposes: to keep the pile of leaves from blowing away, to make leaf mold, and/or to make leaves accessible for adding to our compost pile.

Wire Leaf BinTo create the wire leaf bin, I purchased 2-feet 3/4-inch vinyl-coated poultry netting (1 package of 25 feet for $13.89 at Menard’s). After opening the package, I formed a circle with the wire, about 30 inches in diameter. To connect the two sides, I overlapped the wire and used green floral wire to weave the two sides together. Then I used a wire cutters to cut off the excess wire.

At first, the bin was held down by the weight of the bottom layer of sticks and the leaves. We’re considering securing the wire leaf bin to the ground by pounding a stake (3-feet steel fence post) into the ground and attaching it with green floral wire. But for now, that doesn’t seem necessary.

Compost Screen

A compost screen is used to separate the fine, finished compost from any large material which may not have finished decomposing. I wanted to construct a screen that could be laid over our wheelbarrow and also be easily stored in our garage. This compost screen is lightweight and small enough to accomplish those tasks.

Compost ScreenTo make the compost screen, I purchased:
* four 1x2x4″ standard pine boards (for a total of $2.36 from Menard’s)
* one package of galvinized wire mesh with 1/4″ holes (about $6.50 for 5 feet from Menard’s)

The four pine boards were cut in half at the store for free, which provided eight 2-foot sections.

To begin, we laid out four of the 2-foot boards to form a square (connected with woodworking butt joints). We screwed the boards together at the corners to form a frame, and then repeated this step with the other four boards to form a second square frame.

Close-up of the compost screen construction.

Close-up of the compost screen construction.

Next, safety glasses and gloves were worn as the wire mesh was laid over one of the square frames. Four small nails were inserted at the frame’s corners to hold the mesh down. A wire cutter was used to cut off any excess wire mesh, with care that the sharp ends of the mesh were within the middle of the boards (so that no sharp ends will stick out beyond the frame).

Finally, the second frame was placed on top of the mesh to provide additional support and cover the sharp ends of the mesh. This frame was added so that the boards were joined in the reverse direction as the other frame. To secure the frames together, we used eight screws (two on each side).


If you have ideas on how these projects could be improved upon, please make a note in the comments to help others who might take on these projects.


One thought on “Building a Wire Leaf Bin and Compost Screen

  1. Pingback: Updates from the Compost Corner (July 4, 2013) | SimpliCitySoil

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