How to make a compost pile with green and brown materials Your compost pile can be either free standing or it can be made inside some type of container. The compost materials can be divided into greens and browns. Greens are materials like green plants, manure, and coffee grounds that are high in moisture and nitrogen. The browns are plant materials like straw, hay, and dried leaves. You want to put a 50/50 mixture of greens and browns into the compost pile making sure that the materials are cut up into small pieces so that there is lot's of surface area in your pile. You also want to alternate layers and make sure that the pile is big enough to insulate it's own heat that's created by the bacteria in the interior of the pile. As the pile begins to work you can either stir it up or just leave it. Leaving it is best because the end result will be richer in nutrients. The compost is great for the garden and you will enjoy the benefits over time.