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Using Topsoil in Your Garden – How Much it Weighs and How to Get it Home

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Topsoil has several uses in the yard. It is mainly used as dirt to fill in patches or holes in lawns and to refresh gardens and flower beds. The hardest part about using topsoil is figuring out how much you need and how to get it home. A yard of topsoil weighs between 1,400 and 2,000 pounds depending on several factors.

Average Weight of a Yard (One Cubic Yard) of Topsoil

how much does one yard of topsoil weigh

The average weight of a cubic yard of topsoil varies based on texture, moisture, and overall composition. When you measure soil, it is always done in a matter of volume and not as a matter of weight. Of course, these are generalizations and you should always check with your local dirt supplier to check before you buy.

Texture

The texture of the dirt can vastly change the weight of a yard of topsoil. Finer particles will pack in tighter and increase the weight of the soil overall. Larger clumps will keep the particles from packing tightly and therefore reduce the weight of a yard of topsoil.

Moisture

This one should be obvious. The wetter the soil is, the more it’s going to weigh. If you’ve been getting a lot of rain in your area, be especially conscious if you’ve going to pick up your topsoil in your truck so that you don’t exceed the load capacity of the truck.

Composition

The overall composition of topsoil changes because it’s a natural product. Some topsoil will have more rock while other topsoil may have more organic matter. The more rock and sand there is in the topsoil, the heavier the load will be.

How do You Measure a Yard of Topsoil

In general topsoil, and other garden soil, rock, and mulch items, is measured in a matter of volume. You will purchase these items by asking for a certain number of cubic yards, or “units” if you need several yards.

How Much Does a Yard of Topsoil Cover

Again, there are variables such as composition and texture that will change your specific yard of topsoil. But you can rely on a cubic yard of topsoil to cover about 320 square feet at a depth of 1 inch.

how many square feet will one yard of topsoil cover

Will a Yard of Topsoil fit in a Pickup Truck

A single yard of topsoil will easily fit into even the smallest pickup truck. Most trucks can take at least two yards of topsoil. If you need anything less than four yards, it’s probably less expensive for you to haul them home in your own pickup but it will depend on your area.

How Many Wheelbarrow Loads are in a Yard of Topsoil

The number of wheelbarrow loads in a yard of topsoil will depend on the size of your wheelbarrow and how much you fill it. Larger, more full wheelbarrows will of course mean fewer trips. In general, there are between 4 and 10 wheelbarrow loads in a yard of topsoil.

Getting Your New Topsoil Home

Once you wrap your head around the size of a yard of topsoil, you need to figure out how to get it home. It’s not actually as hard as you think to get your topsoil home to your garden beds where you can use it.

Finding a Reliable Vendor

Reliable topsoil vendors will source their topsoil responsibly. If you’ve ever heard of the Dust Bowl, you’ll understand why this is important. If a vendor sources their topsoil inappropriately, they will destroy the environment in the process.

Choose a reliable vendor who sources materials responsibly

A good vendor should be able to tell you where and how they source their products. They should also be able to advise you on how much you need and recommend specific products for your project. If they can’t do these things, you may want to continue looking.

Ordering the Right Amount

When you order your topsoil, you will need to tell them exactly how much you need. Remember, that a cubic yard of topsoil will cover about 320 square feet to a depth of 1 inch. But this is highly dependent on the state of the topsoil at the time.

Remember a couple of things. If you are using a tool or recommendation from a topsoil vendor, they will automatically give you the LEAST amount of topsoil you would need to cover an area. This means that they factor in a little extra, and account for compacted soil, because the last thing they want is for you to not have enough.

Also, when you are estimating how much topsoil you may need for your project, you will need to know a rough idea of the total area and average depth. Unfortunately, without those numbers, you won’t be able to accurately estimate how much you need.

Decide if You Want it Delivered

Most reputable topsoil and garden amendment vendors will be able to deliver directly to your home. There is typically a small fee for the process, unless you buy a minimum amount. But it’s worth it if you are getting a lot of garden amendments.

If you have access to a truck, and it can fit a full yard of topsoil in the bed, you can pick it up directly from the yard. Most soil and rock vendors will load the stuff in the back of your truck for you, usually with the help of a skid loader. This way, you can avoid the delivery fee.

Clear the Area for Delivery

If you are getting your topsoil delivered to your home, you need a spot for the soil to be dropped by the company. They will need a spot clear that is large enough for the soil itself and with plenty of room for the truck to maneuver. Make sure there are no overhead power lines too.

Weight of Other Major Garden Elements

average weight of common garden elements

What is Topsoil

Topsoil is the very topmost portion of soil within the Earth’s layers. It really only encompasses just under one foot of soil. Because it is the upper layer, this layer of soil has more biomass and nutrients than any other portion of soil.

What is Topsoil Used For

Topsoil can be used in a garden to increase the bacterial, fungal, and nutrient levels in the soil. While not quite as rich as compost, topsoil is incredibly valuable for making your soil more fertile.

Topsoil also has other uses though. It can be used to level an area before grass seed is laid down and especially to fill in shallow holes and divots in a garden area.

Can You Add Topsoil to Existing Lawns

Of course you can! Make sure that you don’t add a layer of new topsoil that is too thick or it will kill the grass underneath. But a sprinkle of new topsoil on your lawn will reinvigorate the soil and help to refresh your turf grass with very little effort.

What is the Difference Between Topsoil and Fill Dirt

topsoil vs fill dirt

Topsoil is specifically the top foot of soil roughly. It is rich in nutrients and loose in texture. Fill dirt is typically dirt that results from taking out a hill or digging a large hole. It will have clumps of all different sizes and it has very little nutrients in it. Fill dirt is used primarily for filling in deep holes or leveling ground in preparation for a hard surface like concrete or a patio.

Conclusion

Topsoil is an important yard amendment to consider using in your home. It can be used for a variety of tasks, from filling holes to providing new nutrients to grass. Sadly, a cubic yard of topsoil can weigh in at almost a ton under the right conditions. That’s a lot of bake-breaking lifting in order to get it to your garden and use it.