Where to Place a Compost Tumbler


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If you are keen to get into composting, you are probably wondering where to put your compost tumbler for the best possible effect.

There are a few things you need to think about in terms of positioning, so we’re going to explore the pros and cons of the different places you could put it.

When positioning your compost tumbler, you need to think about where it is in relation to the house, any boundary walls, and plants. You don’t want it to shade other things, and you don’t want it to be in full shade, because the warmth of the sun helps to keep it active and helps it compost quickly.

Do I Need to Put My Compost Tumbler on Flat Ground?

Do I Need to Put My Compost Tumbler on Flat Ground?
Compost tumbler needs a flat ground

If you are using a proper compost tumbler, you should place it on level ground, as this ensures it can spin properly and it stays stable.

Find a nice, flat spot and clear it of rocks and weeds that would make the composter unstable.

Alternatively, lay some pavings for the tumbler to stand on.

Should I Put My Compost Tumbler near to the House?

There are a few advantages to having your compost tumbler near your house, but you don’t want it to be too close.

The biggest reason for having it near to your house is that it makes it easy to deposit compost whenever you want to, without having to trek across the whole garden. You certainly don’t want it miles away.

However, there are some good reasons to avoid putting your compost bin too close to the house:

  • The first of these is obviously the smell. While a healthy compost heap shouldn’t smell terrible, it will often have an earthy and slightly rotten smell, and in hot weather, this isn’t something you want too close to your home.
  • Secondly, you don’t want a compost bin right beside your house because it may attract animals like raccoons and bears and rats. Depending on the local wildlife in your area and how you feel about this, it’s probably sensible to put some distance between your house and the tumbler. This reduces the chances of the animals investigating your home.
  • Thirdly, you don’t want a compost heap too close to your home because there is a small fire risk. It is extremely rare for home compost heaps to catch fire unless they are very large (unlikely with a tumbler) and have had a lot of nitrogen added to them, but it is not completely impossible.

Because of this, it’s safest to put your compost tumbler a short distance from any buildings, including your house and garden shed.

Best Strategy: Overall, placing your compost tumbler a few meters from your home is probably the best option. This lets you access it easily, but prevents it from causing issues.

Should I Put My Compost Tumbler in the Sun?

Should I Put My Compost Tumbler in the Sun?
Sun will warm your compost

It’s a good idea to put your compost tumbler somewhere that it gets some sun because the sun will warm it up and help the bacteria process the food in the heap.

This increases its efficiency and makes it operate better.

However, you don’t want it in the full sun, because this will cause your compost to constantly dry out and may also make it too hot.

Dry compost won’t operate properly, and you may find that the worms (which also help with the composting process) leave.

Although unlikely, it is also possible that hot sun could distort your compost tumbler and leave it misshapen.

This will probably only happen if you live in a particularly warm part of the world, but it’s something to bear in mind with the full sun.

Should I Put My Compost Tumbler in the Shade?

A bit of shade is good for your compost, because it keeps it damp and stops the worms from getting dried out.

Compost generates some heat itself, especially when regularly turned, so it should manage to keep operating even in the shade.

However, it does help to have a little sunlight, as this makes the compost break down more quickly.

Try This: If you can put your compost somewhere with a bit of sun and a bit of shade, this is the ideal position.

Should I Worry about Wind?

If some parts of your garden are more exposed than others, you might be concerned about the wind.

If you have a proper compost tumbler, there is nothing major to worry about in terms of wind, but if you have an exposed heap, you will probably find that the wind dries it out quickly.

It may also result in things getting tossed off the compost pile and flung around on the ground nearby.

If you add things like paper or cardboard, this could be particularly annoying.

What Else Do I Need to Think About?

A man is spreading compost in garden
Compost tumbler tips

As well as the actual location of your compost bin, you should think about the area surrounding it.

You need a bit of space near your compost, because at times, you will need to tip the bin out.

You also need to be able to spin the tumbler properly without it bumping into anything or getting caught on protruding branches.

It’s a good idea to leave yourself a meter or two around the compost tumbler, because this will make it much easier to handle your compost and turn or empty it as needed.

Nice Tip: You should also think about the aesthetic of your garden and your neighbors’ gardens. Compost tumblers are often quite unsightly, so you may want to position it out of view of your home and the nearby homes if you can.


That’s a lot of things to think about, and you’re probably wondering where on Earth you can position it in your garden that meets all of these conditions!

Remember, however, that you can rig up temporary shade for the tumbler if necessary, and you can also level ground or put up wind blocks.

While you may not currently have a perfect position for your compost tumbler, you should be able to make one without too much issue.

It’s worth taking the time to position your tumbler properly, or you may find you have to empty it out and move it!

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