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How to find good topsoil

Almost every homeowner with any property has said at sometime, “We need to buy some topsoil.” It could be to fill flower beds, build up the vegetable garden or cover sandy or clay soils when putting in a lawn. But do they really know what they are getting?

Myth #1: Topsoil means that it is going to be good, dark and rich soil.

Balloon popper: There is no legal definition of the word topsoil. Technically, it is whatever is on the top. Sight unseen, you could order 5 yards of anything from beach sand to adobe brick material. Always go to look at what you are buying if you are unfamiliar with the soil seller to know what you are purchasing.

How to find good topsoil

Myth #2: Good topsoil is very black.

Balloon popper: Very black soils are not always the best soils. You should be able to feel some grit when you rub a small amount of soil between your thumb and forefinger. This is the mineral portion of the soil, which is critical for plant growth. Those minerals include phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and many more. The black portion is the organic portion, which is slowly decomposing nitrogen. It’s just like music. It is impossible to write a good song using only one note. The soil should contain both minerals and organic material. It may be very good soil and not deep black.

Myth #3: There are no weed seeds in good topsoil.

Balloon popper: All topsoil comes with weed seeds. There is no way for even the most diligent seller to remove these. If the soil was heated to kill the seeds, it would also kill all the valuable microorganisms in the soil. This sterile disaster would create more problems than it would solve. Soil equals seeds, and when plants appear, they are often plants that you will recognize because they are not currently growing on your property.

Myth #4: All I have to do is spread it over my existing soil and jump back and watch great things happen.

Balloon popper: Topsoil sitting as a completely separate layer on top of the existing soil is going to create drainage and growing problems. When adding soil, it is almost guaranteed to be different from the existing soil. It will create problems for roots growing downward. Roots will stop at the original soil layer, especially if it is denser. To create a natural way for water to drain and moisture to percolate up, it is very important to mix some of the soils together. Add 2 or 3 inches of new soil and till it to mix in. Then, more can be added because you have just created that transitional layer. It is well worth the additional effort.

Myth #5: I don’t have to fertilize when I use topsoil.

Balloon popper: What you have just purchased may be lower in nutrients than what you already own. The seller is providing soil, not fertilizer. Topsoil may provide tiny amounts of nutrients, but don’t avoid soil testing because you think nutrient problems have been resolved.

How to find good topsoil

Landscaping and planting season is nearly here, and you may need high-quality topsoil to level out low spots in your lawn and fill the bottoms of your raised bed gardens.

So, what type of topsoil should you purchase? How can you identify topsoil that’s tops in quality? For lawn and garden success, look for one that meets the following conditions.

How to find good topsoil

Darker Tone

When you compare topsoil from different sources, you’ll notice that they can differ dramatically in color.

Generally speaking, lean toward darker shades – anything from coffee-colored to almost-black. Rich, dark tones indicate a high level of organic matter, and the more organic material present, the greater the concentration of nutrients. Conversely, lighter shades show a lack of the nutrients plants need to grow healthy and strong.

Loose Texture

High-quality topsoil should crumble easily between your fingers and feel slightly gritty – the loose texture is another sign that it’s rich in organic matter.

When topsoil is too hard to crumble or forms into a clump when you test it out, it likely has too much clay. A high clay concentration can prevent an adequate amount of water and air from reaching the roots of any plants placed in it. And when plants don’t get what they need, they begin to decline in health.

Screening

Screening is another important characteristic to look for when shopping for topsoil.

Screened topsoil is sent through a mesh grid during manufacturing to ensure a consistent particle size. With unscreened versions, there may be a mixture of small and large soil particles – and that doesn’t make for an ideal growing medium. Worse, unscreened topsoil can lead to plant root rot. Screening, on the other hand, allows for better nutrient delivery and natural water flow, both of which help boost plant growth.

Buying High-Quality Topsoil

You can find topsoil at home improvement stores and garden centers, but why spend time hunting a high-quality screened version down and doing all the heavy labor to get it to your home when an easier option exists?

Some local landscape material suppliers – including The Dirt Bag here in northern Utah – will deliver affordable, top-notch topsoil to your property and unload it to the spot you specify. Whether you buy in bags or in bulk, this is a simple, cost-effective option.

The Dirt Bag, based in West Jordan, delivers bulk and bagged topsoil, garden mulch, organic compost, soil conditioner and all of our other landscape materials throughout Salt Lake County for free. And, our fee for delivery to the surrounding northern Utah communities is quite low.

For more information, or to schedule delivery of high-quality topsoil and any other landscape material you may need, contact The Dirt Bag today.

No matter where you garden, it's worth improving the quality of the topsoil you've got. After all, plants rely on topsoil, the uppermost layer of the earth's surface, for water and necessary nutrients. The more organic matter it has, the darker the soil will look (like what you may see sold in bags or bulk as "black dirt"). This type of soil is very easy to dig in and support healthy plant growth. However, the type of soil in your yard may look very different. Depending on your region, it can vary from reddish clay to beige sandy soil. Here's what you need to know about improving your topsoil.

Topsoil Myths & Misunderstandings

These four common assumptions about topsoil can trip you up. But knowing these basics will help you successfully create the best environment you can for your plants.

Topsoil Myth 1: All Topsoil Is Pretty Much the Same

Topsoil can differ dramatically, even in the same yard and from one garden bed to another. All the earth in your yard is made up of sand, silt, and clay in various amounts. The best ratios of these three elements allow for good drainage yet hold enough moisture for roots. Your soil can also vary in pH, which is a measure of how acidic or alkaline it is; some plants such as bigleaf hydrangeas are more affected than others by this soil quality.

Topsoil Myth 2: The Dirt in My Yard Is Fine the Way It Is

If you recently moved into a home that was previously owned by a skilled gardener, then maybe this is true. But more often than not, the quality of soil around homes, especially newly constructed ones, isn't the best for plants. It takes time to build up high-quality soil that includes generous amounts of decomposed plants, called organic matter. This is a vital component that gives topsoil good drainage, just the right water-holding capacity, and a loose, easy-to-dig quality. It's also important for supporting a healthy soil ecosystem of microbes that help plants grow better.

The quickest way to great garden soil is to purchase it. You can put a 2-3 inch thick layer directly on top of existing soil before planting and just let nature do the rest of the work, or you can till it in. On top of that, you can amend your topsoil further with a couple of inches of compost. This can be a lot of labor, but ultimately it creates very productive soil.

Topsoil Myth 3: To Always Have Good Topsoil, I Have to Till It Annually

If you're creating a new garden space, and want to till in soil amendments to get everything off to a good start, that's fine. But after that, it's best to avoid disturbing the soil as much as possible. For one thing, turning soil can stimulate weed seeds to sprout, so you'll just be creating more work for yourself to get rid of them. And for another, nature will take care of mixing in organic matter so you really can save yourself the trouble.

Tilling may be necessary if your soil becomes very compacted, which means it doesn't have enough tiny air pockets in it that roots require. You can avoid this by staying off your soil, especially when it's wet. If you need to walk into a bed to care for plants, you can minimize compacting the soil by creating a permanent stepping stone path you can use for maintenance or temporarily laying down a sheet of plywood while you work.

Topsoil Myth 4: Rich Soil Never Needs Fertilizer

Plants draw the nutrients they need to grow from the soil. Those nutrients usually need to be replenished every so often for the healthiest growth, no matter which type of soil you have. This is especially true for the soil where you grow annual flowers and vegetables, which suck up a lot of nutrients to fuel their rapid growth. Luckily, it's easy and inexpensive to restore nutrition by adding high-quality compost and/or granular or liquid fertilizer products as needed. If you're not sure if you need to add nutrients, a soil test is a quick way to check. To add nutrients and to replace organic matter as it breaks down, add 1-2 inches of compost to your garden beds in the fall. Then you'll be all set for spring and can just add a layer of mulch after cleaning up and planting your beds for the new growing season.

Common Topsoil Questions

Once you've decided to add topsoil to your garden, now what? Time to think about how you want to use it, where to get it, and how much you need.

What can I use topsoil for?

Topsoil is a good choice for filling up raised beds, repairing eroded spots, or filling in holes. When planting a new lawn or overseeding a patchy lawn, you can use a thin layer of topsoil to protect grass seeds as they sprout. One thing you shouldn't use topsoil for is filling your containers. It won't drain as well as you need it to in a container, and it makes your pots very heavy. Stick with potting mix ($7, The Home Depot) for containers, and use topsoil in garden beds.

Where can I Buy topsoil?

Topsoil is widely available through a variety of sources, including garden centers, nurseries, and home improvement stores. Topsoil is sold by the bag ($3, Lowe's) totaling a cubic foot, or in bulk, which is usually priced by the cubic yard (the price varies based on location and availability). Usually, commercially available topsoil has been screened; this means any extra materials such as small rocks, roots, and debris have been removed.

How do I figure out how much topsoil I need?

If you need to fill a raised bed or install a berm, measure the area's square footage and depth to estimate how many cubic feet of topsoil you'll need. To spread over a garden bed, you’ll want enough to give you at least a 2-inch layer. To install a new lawn, plan to spread a layer of 3-6 inches of topsoil before sowing seed or laying sod, depending on the quality of your existing soil.

Buying topsoil can be a confusing job , especially with so many different suppliers, grades and the different terminology used by different suppliers. We have put together this simple buyers guide to make things a little easier for you

What are you going to use the Topsoil for?

Topsoil comes in many different types and grades, depending on the area it has come from and the use it has been specified for.

There are many uses around the garden for different grades and blends of topsoil, these uses include infilling holes and ponds, turf laying, topping up and creating flowerbeds and filling up raised beds and vegetable patches.

Topsoil for Turf Laying – Turf laying requires a general purpose topsoil, preferably screened to 10mm to remove larger stones and lumps and free of clay. A screened sandy loam is the best soil for turf laying.

Flower Bed and Border Topsoil – A better quality screened topsoil with a higher organic matter content is best for flowerbeds. Where possible choose a topsoil blended with an organic compost or soil improver. This added organic matter will ensure the best possible growing conditions for your plants.

Topsoil for Vegetable Growing – Vegetable crops can absorb a large amount of nutrients from the soil so to get the most out of you vegetable patch or new raised beds it is best to use a topsoil with a higher organic matter content than would normally be used in other applications. You are going to eat your crop so grow it in the best possible soil you can buy. Find out more here

Buying on Price alone (& why that’s a bad idea)

Please don’t buy Topsoil on the price alone (of course we would say that..)

Topsoil isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean you should be settling with the cheapest provider. Unlike most other goods, whether it be gardening gloves, plants, flowers, etc. Topsoil is delivered using a large, heavy vehicle, which can’t access every single residential road. Alongside this, the heavy bulk bags can’t be picked up and dropped off as easily as small garden centre soil bags.

If I haven’t put you off buying Topsoil, let’s talk about things to consider when buying it.

Tracking

Heavy goods are delivered using big heavy vehicles. There are few networks that offer tracking, especially not to the extent of the delivery networks we use. We can chase an ETA (estimated time of delivery) for you. The depots will come back to us with a 2 hour time frame that we will then pass back onto yourself.

Alongside this, the drivers are instructed to call you before delivery to let you know when they are on the way!

This superior service can cost a pretty penny – thankfully we deliver a lot of pallets and we have good relationships with the hundreds of depots within the network.

Delivery Times

For the majority of the country, we can offer an AM service, which will guarantee your product is delivered between 9am – 1pm. Yes this service costs, and yes it’s an additional service, but the option is there. Booking one couldn’t be easier though. Before you place your order, call our Sales team on 01785 850 653 and request this service.

Problem Resolving

Drivers have roughly 20 minutes on each delivery, so if there’s an issue, we are notified by the depot and we kick into gear to get the matter resolved. Whether that be to instruct the driver to leave it in a safe place, or to contact you, the customer. This is a very simple service we offer, but it’s important to us that we do as much as possible to get your product delivered.

“How Much Topsoil Do I Need?”

Our favourite question.. Well, it would be if we measure it by the amount of times we’re asked it (on a daily basis).

We honestly don’t mind, it’s (obviously) the biggest factor. As we’ve been in the ‘biz’ for nearly 10 years now, we thought it would only make sense we create a Topsoil calculator.

Awesome, now to convert your measurement (m3) to tonnes, simply multiply it by our topsoil guideline ( 1.3 ).

E.g. 5m x 5m * 0.15m = 3.75m3

3.75 * 1.3 = 4.875 tonnes (let’s call it 5)

Congratulations!!
If I was smart enough to make confetti appear on your screen, I’d do it. For now just imagine it!

You’re done. Minus the buying topsoil part – don’t worry that bits even simpler. Click on the button below to be taken to our topsoil catalogue.

How is Topsoil delivered?

Before placing an order, it’s worth noting however small or tall the product is, we send all of our products (including Top soil ) using 18 tonne curtain sided vehicles.

Vehicle Size

The vehicles are 3 meters wide (10 feet), and 9 meters long (30 feet).

Delivery Surface

As our delivery depots use manual pallet trucks and tail lifts, the delivery surface must be flat and hardstanding. The driver will lower the tail-lift flush with the ground, to then push the goods onto the flat and hardstanding surface.

Whilst the goods can be moved using a pallet truck – topsoil is very heavy and can only be moved a short distance.

(Alternative Option) Improving Existing Soils

The alternative to buying better topsoil for your garden is to improve your existing top soil by adding soil improvers and organic composts. This is often a less expensive way of achieving better results from your garden.

Buy good quality organic composts (preferably screened to 15mm or less) and blend this with your existing soil by applying a 2 to 3 inch layer over your topsoil and incorporating it with a garden fork or mechanical rotavator. Adding organic compost to soils will increase soil fertility and improve soil structure, the basics of a good topsoil.

Now you know which topsoil to buy you probably want to know how much you need.. visit our topsoil calculator page .

Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, which is high in nutrients and organic matter. It is widely available to buy in bags or in bulk from specialist suppliers, garden centres and DIY superstores. It can be used for making new beds, borders, raised beds or as a base for lawns, where the natural soil is poor or non-existent.

Quick facts

  • For laying lawns you will need at least 10cm (4in) layer of top soil
  • New beds will need about 20cm (8in) or more
  • Topsoil is available in three grades: premium, general-purpose and economy
  • Good quality top soil should meet British Standards 3882:2007

Jump to

Why buy topsoil?

You may need to buy in topsoil if the existing soil is poor, damaged or if the space to be gardened has no natural soil, such as a courtyard or patio garden.

Where to use topsoil

Many gardens have poor soil, such as those found behind new-build homes, where the natural topsoil has been stripped away during the construction process. Topsoil can be used to cover the ground, to create new beds, borders or to provide a base for turf laying or sowing grass seed.

In paved gardens where there is no access to soil, topsoil can be used in raised beds for growing many plants, including vegetables.

Product choice

Topsoil is generally available to buy in three different grades: premium, general-purpose grade and economy grade.

  • Premium grade: This can be expensive but should not bring in weed seeds. High in fertility, this loamy soil has good structure and is commonly used to build up flower borders or create new beds, while nurseries use it in compost mixes for container grown plants
  • General-purpose grade: This can be bought in differing screen size grades. Also good for making new beds or borders, or as a base for sowing new lawns. Coarser grades are particularly useful for turf laying while finer grades are good for top dressing lawns
  • Economy grade: This tends to be supplied ‘as dug’ (unscreened) and is commonly used to build up areas where volume rather than quality is required

Buying topsoil

To avoid later problems, it is best to check the topsoil before buying it. Look out for high stone content, thick fibrous roots, weeds and contaminants such as glass and brick. Inspection will enable any concerns you may have to be discussed before purchasing it.

Ask the supplier where it is coming from and whether it all has the same origin (building sites are often used as a source and the quality can be variable). If the supplier has had soil analysis undertaken, request a copy. If they claim it is good and state facts and figures request these details in writing.

The following criteria (taken from BS3882: 2007 Specification for Topsoil) can be used as a guide against any analysis report a supplier offers you;

Premium grade

    = 5.5-7.8
  • Phosphorus (P) Index min = 2
  • Potassium (K) Index min = 2
  • Magnesium (Mg) Index min = 1

General purpose grade

  • pH = 5.0-8.2
  • Phosphorus (P) Index min = 2
  • Potassium (K) Index min = 2
  • Magnesium (Mg) Index min = 1

Economy grade

  • pH = 5.0-8.2
  • Phosphorus (P) Index min = N/A
  • Potassium (K) Index min = N/A
  • Magnesium (Mg) Index min = N/A

Note that imported topsoil can sometimes introduce invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed and couch grass to the garden. Inspect the soil for signs of weed roots or shoots. Weed roots are often white and fleshy, sometimes with a brown covering, unlike the brown, dry, fibrous roots of trees and shrubs.

Rich, nutrient-dense soil is crucial to successful gardening. Signs of healthy soil include plenty of underground animal and plant activity, such as earthworms and fungi. Soil that is rich in organic matter tends to be darker and crumbles off of the roots of plants you pull up. A healthy, spread-out root system is also a sign of good soil. We talked about determining your soil type, now here are eight simple tests to determine your soil’s health.

These tests are part of the Willamette Valley Soil Quality Guide, a system developed for farmers. The expert developers say that it works for gardeners, too! Do all the steps during spring growing season and use different spots in your garden for the best overall picture of your soil’s health.

How to find good topsoil

Soil Organisms

Healthy soil is full of animal life.

  • Dig a hole at least 6 inches deep.
  • Watch the interior of the hole for 4 minutes.
  • Count the number and species of critters you see like spiders, ground beetles & centipedes.

Anything less than 10 means your soil is low on animal life. A strong population of critters keeps down pests and disease, so “the more, the merrier.”

Earthworms

Worms aerate the soil, allowing better circulation. They also eat organic material, so a big worm population means your soil is rich in nutrients.

  • Look for earthworm casts or burrows on the surface of damp soil.
  • Dig up a chunk of soil 6 inches deep.
  • Count the worms you find in the chunk.
  • Five is the magic number, but three is still good.

Earthworm benefits go beyond aeration. These friendly critters leave behind secretions that improve tilth, as well as adding organic matter, bacteria, plant nutrients and enzymes via their casts.

Soil Structure/Tilth

Tilth is the condition of tilled soil.

  • Dig a 6 – 10-inch deep hole in damp soil.
  • Remove a soup can-sized section intact.
  • Break it apart

Healthy soil consists of different sized aggregates or chunks that retain their shape when slight pressure is applied. Rich, organic soil has rounder aggregates, allowing water and air to move more easily around plants’ roots. This results in healthier plants.

If the aggregates are difficult to break apart, you have a hard soil problem.

Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan TopSoil Supplier and Delivery Service

High quality topsoil is the foundation of any great landscaping as the growth rate, health and visual appearance of landscape plants are all directly related to the quality of your soil. If you keep searching for “best topsoil near me” then look no further! Green Earth Materials is one of the best top soil suppliers in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Serving Perrysburg, Maumee, Bowling Green, Toledo, Sylvania, Adrian, Ottawa Lake and everywhere in between. Contact us today for more information on our topsoil delivery services. ​

We also have the best topsoil processing equipment and our employees have many years of experience. As you can see our custom blended topsoil is screened and pulverized to a fine texture ready to be hauled and spread at your home, business or jobsite. We can haul 1 ton of topsoil or we can haul 24 tons of topsoil depending on your needs.

As the leading topsoil supplier in the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, we know the important role good quality topsoil plays in landscaping and filling. Because of this, we own and operate our own fleet of trucks which allows us to easily and efficiently deliver topsoil to our customers, providing the exact amount they need, dumped right where they need it. Call us today for more information or to order bulk topsoil delivered conveniently to you!

Topsoil is dark in color, often referred to as “black dirt” and has high organic matter and micro nutrients. Which makes it very easy to till and fertilize for growing plants of all kinds including trees, grasses and shrubs. (Click the video on the right to see how our TOPSOIL is made!)

Did you know that not all soils are the same? We offer several different grades of soil to fit your needs and budget. Bellow we provided information on three different types of topsoil we supply. If you are not sure what soil would work best for you, call us today and we would be happy to help. Ask us about our bulk topsoil delivery services!

How to find good topsoil

#1 Topsoil

Produced from the top layer of rich dark native soil screened and pulverized to promote root growth. This is a customer favorite and our most popular topsoil product. Used by the Toledo Metroparks and Toledo Botanical Gardens!

How to find good topsoil

#2 Topsoil

Produced from the second cut near the bottom of the top soil layer usually 8-12” down.

This product is unscreened and will contain some roots, not as dark in color as our premium topsoil but it still has plenty of organic matter. This product is typically used by contractors and homeowners when seeding lawns or jobsite areas.

How to find good topsoil

#3 Topsoil

This layer of topsoil is produced from the layer of soil where that is mixed into the sand layer. This soil is not as dark in color and has approximately 50% yellow sand and 50% organic matter. This works very well to break up heavy clay soils to prepare for final grading and seeding.

Garden soil

Custom blended black gold topsoil with leaf compost added to achieve a very rich dark black nutrient rich soil with good drainage for garden areas. The perfect for flower and vegetable gardens.

Bioretention soil

Storm water runoff has become an increasing environmental concern. Bioretention soil mix is a soil medium for bioretention basins and swales which helps remove contaminants from storm water runoff as required in many areas today. We specialize in blending bioretention soil to meet your specifications. If you are looking for high percolation rates to prevent surface ponding, large capacity to sequester pollutants or support for the growth of plant populations, we can custom blend soil to meet your needs.

How to find good topsoil

What is Topsoil? Topsoil is the upper layer of soil, usually between 2 to 8 inches in depth, that contains most of the ground’s nutrients and fertility. If you have poor soil in your garden and want to begin planting veg or laying turf, buying fresh topsoil will ensure your plants will get a great start.

Topsoil formation is an incredibly slow process, typically taking 100 years for every inch of soil. It is formed from the weathering of rocks and the subsequent addition of organic material from decaying plants and animals. This enriches the soil and adds the nutrients essential to support plant life.

​Topsoil formation is an incredibly slow process, typically taking 100 years for every inch of soil

Nutrient Rich

The main nutrients found in topsoil are nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Each one has an important role to play in the soil’s fertility. Nitrogen is used for growth and promotes healthy stems and leaves. Potassium and magnesium help the plants to photosynthesise, and create lush green leaves. Phosphorous is used to create the plant’s cells and DNA. All of these nutrients are naturally found in topsoil, but in varying quantities and quality. They can be added to enrich the soil and increase fertility, whilst also improving the soil’s structure.

Varies Across Regions

Soil composition and structure varies considerably from area to area and it is constantly under the influence of its environment. People talk about having either clay or sandy soils in their gardens. Clay soils are harder to work with as they tend to harden and the nutrients are locked up in the sticky soil, although they do hold water a lot better. Sandy, loam soil however, is the most ideal soil and most often used in garden projects. This soil is a dark rich colour, lightweight and friable. As a quick test it should be hard to roll up into a ball, and then quick to break up. Online Soil are located in the North West, where this type of soil dominates and produces incredibly fertile ground. We are lucky to be based in the North West and that we are able to share this soil with the rest of the country.

Acidic or Alkaline?

A good quality topsoil should have a pH value of between 5.5 and 7.5, in other words mildly acidic to slightly alkaline. This ensures the plants are able to take up the nutrients in the ground. Although most plants are able to cope with quite a range of pH values, if the ground is either too acidic or too alkaline then there will be problems. Although there are certain plants which prefer soil that is more extreme, such as the acid loving rhododendrons and azaleas. Don’t forget that the pH is not the only important element of a good topsoil though, it also needs an open structure to make sure there is good aeration and drainage, which stops nutrient lock up.

Organic Topsoil

Some suppliers talk extensively about organic topsoil, but this is generally misleading. True organic topsoil would need to be taken from an organic certified field, which would be prohibitively expensive. Therefore, a better decision would be screened soil which has been improved by blending in organic composts to give it a higher organic content. The process of screening topsoil involves working the soil over a large mesh or screen to sieve stones and lumps out of the soil, a process that also acts to aerate the soil. Screen sizes should be 10mm or less for high quality soils and up to 25mm for infill.

How to find good topsoil

How to find good topsoilHow to find good topsoil

When selecting your topsoil you should ensure your supplier is acting ethically. As mentioned, topsoil can take years to develop so avoid suppliers who dig virgin green fields. Instead, it is more environmentally friendly to use topsoil taken from sites that are cleared prior to development, which would otherwise go to waste. When buying you should also avoid soils taken from skip yards due to the high levels of brick, glass and other contagions. We hope this article has been informative and answered your questions based on what is topsoil. However, if you have a question that we haven’t answered, please get in touch.

Unsure how much topsoil you need for your garden? Not to worry, use our very handy topsoil calculator to get an exact figure.

Our sister site, online turf, sells a great range of lawns to suit every garden.

See our range of guides to help you grow your own veg, berries and much more.

Our knowledge base section provides all you need to know about soil, FAQs and more.

Read what previous customers think of our products and service or let us know your thoughts.

When buying topsoil, there are various questions you should be asking yourself before you make your purchase. These questions will help you narrow down the right amount and type of topsoil for your individual project. Here, we explain a little more about exactly what topsoil is and how it works:

Topsoil is the name of the uppermost layer of soil used within your outdoor plots. It is particularly high in nutrients, as well as organic matter.

Why do I need topsoil?

On account of its high nutrient content, topsoil is useful for ensuring that new beds and newly-planted flowers and plants can thrive and be nourished adequately. Topsoil is particularly important if the existing soil in an area is poor or damaged, or indeed if the space that will be used to plant new flowers and plants does not currently have soil and needs a brand new area of soil for the plants in question.

Where should I be using topsoil?

Topsoil should be used in gardens with poor soil, such as those belonging to new-build houses which have had their natural top layer of soil stripped away during the construction process. Topsoil can specifically be used for the following purposes:

– to cover ground

– to create new beds for plants

– to create borders within the garden

– to lay turf or sow grass seeds

Topsoil can even be used in gardens that are paved and there is no access to soil, providing an environment for the growth of many types of plant in raised beds within the garden.

Types of topsoil

There are three main types of topsoil, which can be chosen accordingly for different types of project. The three topsoil types are as follows:

  • Premium grade: Though it can be expensive, premium grade topsoil tends not to bring in weed seeds which is beneficial for those tending to the garden as it does not become as overgrown by weeds. This type of topsoil is extremely high in fertility and has a good structure, so is often used to build up flower borders or even create entirely new beds for flowers and other plants. Nurseries often use this type of topsoil in compost mixes for plants grown in containers.
  • General-purpose grade: This type of topsoil can be bought in different screen sizes dependent on the project at hand, with more coarse grades useful for turf laying and finer graders more useful for top dressing lawns. This type of topsoil is also useful for making new beds and borders, as well as making an excellent base for the sowing of new lawns.
  • Economy grade: Usually supplied unscreened, this cheaper topsoil is most commonly used to build up areas which require volume as opposed to serious high quality topsoil.

When buying topsoil, look out for the following aspects that could cause issues for those using it:

– high stone content

– thick fibrous roots

– contaminants such as glass and brick

Ensure that you ask the supplier where the topsoil has come from to guarantee its quality, as well as making sure that it all comes from the same source to make sure that the quality of the topsoil is not tarnished by additional amounts of soil from external sources.

Here at Woodford Recycling, we are a leading provider of topsoil supplies to customers throughout Cambridgeshire, extending our work to cover the rest of the UK with our network of approved partners. To find out more, get in touch with our friendly and reliable team of experts today, and let us help with your enquiry.