composted soil

photo by Kessner photography

Composting converts plant material, such as leaves and grass clippings, to a more usable organic soil amendment or mulch. Compost increases organic matter in the soil and adds nutrients for plant growth. It also helps hold moisture in light, sandy soil and improves drainage in heavy soil.


Golden Valley's compost ordinance was instituted to help residents follow correct composting procedures and avoid public nuisances that result from improper composting.

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+Where You Can Compost

Composting is permitted only on residential properties having up to four dwellings.

Compost structures must be place in the rear yard of the property at least 5 feet from property line (35 feet if property line is also a street line) and no closer than 40 feet to any habitable building other than your own home.

+What You Can Compost

You may compost yard waste, straw, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, or egg shells generated from the site on which the compost is located. You may add commercially available ingredients specifically designed to speed or enhance decomposition.

+What You Can't Compost

You may not compost woody yard waste, meat, bones, fat, oil, whole eggs, dairy products, unshredded branches or logs, weeds heavily laden with seeds, plastics, synthetic fibers, human or pet wastes, diseased plants, or any other garbage or refuse.

+Composting Structure

  • Materials must be contained in a bin that may be constructed of wood, wire mesh, or a combination of wood and wire, or in commercially fabricated compost bins.
  • Only one structure is allowed per lot.
  • Structure must not exceed 500 cubic feet (for example, 10' x 10' x 5') in volume.
  • Maximum height is five feet.

+Compost Management

Residents are required to use standard compost practices, which include providing adequate air circulation to prevent combustion and objectionable odors to adjacent properties. Composting that results in objectionable odors and/or includes prohibited material is considered a public health nuisance.

For More Information

To learn more about composting or lawn care, visit the University of Minnesota Extension Service at