Topsoil Definition and Usage

Topsoil and its uses for Lawn

Topsoil is a unique combination of various materials, such as decomposed plant matterclay, and sand providing the required nutrients and minerals to your lawn, plants, yard or garden beds. This type of soil is essential for improving landscape quality and should be used according to your lawn’s needs. The topsoil cost varies from brand to brand and depends on the type of topsoil and the amount you require for your gardening or landscaping. However, the cost range starts from $10.

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Before understanding the process of effectively and efficiently employing it, let’s discuss in detail what topsoil is and what it is made up of.


What is Topsoil Made of?

A combination and mixture of materials, including silt, clay, sand, and organic matter (mostly made from crunched-up leaves, dead plants, dead insects and twigs), produces the topsoil layer. 

But the proportions of sand, clay and silt vary from place to place, so the amount of organic matter that contributes nutrients for healthy plant growth also differs in different soils. 

What is Topsoil Used for?

Since topsoil is composed of organic nutrients and minerals and can improve soil quality, it is widely used in gardening and landscaping. Topsoil can quickly solve the problem of your patchy lawn where the grass isn’t growing well. It is also beneficial for those areas of your lawn or yard that are slightly uneven. Apart from this, topsoil can improve the quality of soil drainage. 

However, topsoil usually gets washed away in rainy seasons or experiences depletion of nutrients due to varied reasons, including too much foot traffic. So, you’re lucky if you are blessed with perfect topsoil. But, top soil is typically found several inches deep, resulting in either a thin or non-existing layer of soil in your garden bed or lawn. Hence, Eden suggests that you purchase the type of topsoil that best suits your project.

Do I need Topsoil for a Flower Bed?

Your garden soil consists of dirt for flower beds, and the flowers and plants draw their nutrients from the dirt they live in. But if your garden has endured a long winter, then it is necessary to restore these nutrients of your garden soil through a fresh layer of topsoil. 

One of the most important factors involved here is choosing the right mix or kind of topsoil that includes fertilizer and matches your garden’s soil structure. But it is worth noting that the fertility of topsoil varies by the brand, which can be easily checked either through its label or a professional who is there to help you. Another factor you must consider is using the right amount of topsoil for your flower bed, given that it is square or rectangular.

Soil for Raised Beds

Can I Use Top Soil for Raised Beds?

The professionals of Eden recommend using topsoil amended with compost for your raised garden beds, where rich organic matter holds moisture and provides minerals and nutrients to your plants.

The factors to consider for raised beds are:

  • Height of the raised bed 
  • Plant type 
  • Root depth
  • Soil components – topsoil, substrate, and compost
  • Fertilizer

You would be required to select the material for your raised beds, like composite wood, aluminum corner kits, or galvanized steel. The height of the raised bed will determine the soil depth for the roots of your plants to grow. The right location should be decided for optimum plant health and productivity. Apart from this, you must also determine the number of raised beds you need, given your space and time. 

How to Apply Topsoil on the Lawn?

The following steps briefly explain the application and illustrate professional landscapers’ methods on how to spread topsoil

  1. Aerate your lawn.
  2. Mix and prepare your topdressing with the correct composition of sharp sand, compost, and topsoil that matches your lawn soil. 
  3. Apply the topdressing over the areas you’d like to treat and improve. Spread the soil evenly using a garden rake as you fill the aeration holes. The dispersing of soil will ensure that the topdressing mixture is settled on the soil surface.
  4. Add grass seed in the areas where the grass is thin. 
  5. Whether you have added grass seed or not, water your lawn well to help the soil settle. 

How do I Figure Out How Much Topsoil I Need?

Many companies out there provide online topsoil calculators so that you can quickly come up with the exact amount of topsoil you need for your existing or new lawn. Nevertheless, you can also do the math yourself if you understand the factors involved. 

  • Plot’s area (Plot width and plot length)
  • Depth of soil
  • Topsoil volume

The three factors mentioned above help you to determine and calculate the amount of topsoil required. But, do remember to convert volume to cubic yards. You can make the task of calculating the amount of topsoil easier, with the skilled landscapers of Eden who have the expertise in this area.

When is the Best Time to Apply Topsoil?

The best time to apply topsoil is after an aeration treatment during fall. Early spring is also a good time to topdress your lawn for most lawns and gardens . Spring and fall describe the growing season when the earlier you apply the topsoil; the better the results. 

With that in mind, you must avoid topdressing your lawn during winter since the inert phase can damage or entirely kill your grass.

How Long Does It Take for Topsoil to Settle?

It will take years to settle your top soil naturally. However, after topdressing your lawn, you can consider using water and appropriate tools, such as a rake, to facilitate settling, which starts to give results in a day or two (or maybe even in a few hours).

Mushrooms in the lawn

Where can I Buy Topsoil?

Listed below are some of the companies that offer topsoil.

  1. Pacific Topsoils INC. – From contractors, landscapers to homeowners, they provide high-quality soil mixes and amendments. Their garden soil includes 3-way-topsoil, winter/supreme mix topsoil, special garden mix, and enviro mix. 
  2. Walmart – Today, it is unlikely that you wouldn’t find a product online at Walmart and at the lowest price possible. From potting top soil blend to the premium top soil for lawn repair, you will find various types and brands of topsoil on this platform.
  3. Jones Topsoil – Jones Topsoil claims their topsoil is of the highest quality since it strips topsoil ahead of gravel operations. They offer three types of top soil – regular topsoil, pulverized topsoil, and soil+topsoil/supersoil. They usually deliver within a few hours. 
  4. Earthgro® Topsoil – This soil is best suited for landscape beds and gardens and is ideal for leveling low areas and filling holes. However, according to your needs, you can consider different types, such as manure blend or natural mulch. You can buy this on Amazon. 
  5. Vern’s Topsoil – Vern’s Organic Topsoil & Bark provides quality products, including top soil. It is worth noting that most of their products are available for pick up or delivery.
  6. Peninsula Topsoil – They provide various landscaping products, including top soil and its varied types. 
  7. Krantz Topsoil – They deliver various types of soils, from Premium top soil to Nutri soil and even provide a test result for each soil type. 
  8. C&M Topsoil – C&M Topsoil is one of the largest landscape products supply companies that also provide pick up and delivery. They offer a plethora of products, from round pebbles, decorative gravel to materials that professionals use. 

How to choose the best topsoil?

The choice of the best topsoil depends on the type of landscaping project you intend to do. For instance, a raised bed would require a lighter soil mix or an organic mix of topsoil to support healthy plant growth. 

For landscaping, screened topsoil would be a great choice to support several different projects. Or, for a vegetable garden, you would require the soil that will help in the growth of that particular vegetable under favorable conditions. Usually, crumbly and loose sandy loams that are free of large rocks and grass weeds are an indication of good topsoil. 

What are the common Topsoil Misunderstandings?

The landscaping experts of Eden have curated a list of topsoil myths for you.

  • All Topsoil is Equal

Unlike this myth, topsoil differs even in the same lawn and from one garden bed to another. Most people don’t know this because they aren’t fully aware of what topsoil is made up of. At the same time, some people believe that the perfect ratio of ingredients in topsoil is 60 percent sand, 25 percent silt, and 15 percent clay. 

What they don’t understand is that the ratio or composition of each material varies depending on the decomposed plant matter or organic matter, types of insects, and organisms like earthworms that are present in their topsoil. 

  • Topsoil Can Replace Fertilizer

Another misconception among people (especially if you are new to the landscaping industry) is that you can avoid using fertilizers if you are working with topsoil. To create healthy landscapes, plants, or garden beds, there is still a need for required nutrients and additional work, no matter which soil you have used. 

You must remember that your lawns and plants are using or sucking the nutrients from the soil. That is why they require fertilizer and constant care every now and then.  

  • With Topsoil, Only Annual Tilling is Needed/ Topsoil Helps You Avoid Tilling

It is a common misconception and a little confusing as to when you should till your soil or if it needs to be done annually to acquire the benefits of good soil. Tilling a garden or lawn is necessary when the soil becomes compact, hard, or even dead. Tilling the garden is also required when your garden is bare or it’s time to plant.

  • Regular Dirt is Just The Same As Topsoil

While most people believe that any dirt can work as great as topsoil, it happens simply because they don’t know the materials that are involved in topsoil. Organic matter is the most important material in topsoil that makes it moist and high in nutrients. But, this organic matter is rarely present in your yard to completely satisfy the everyday needs of your plants and garden beds. 

  • Quality Topsoil is Hard to Find

While the consistency and nutrient level can vary from one topsoil to another, it is not that difficult to locate high-quality topsoil for your yard or lawn. Eden has already mentioned many places in this article where you can find top-notch topsoil to improve the quality of your plants. 

To conclude, topsoil is the top layer of soil containing decomposed plant matter, clay, and sand providing the required nutrients and minerals to your lawn or landscape. Topsoil can improve the patchy or uneven areas of your lawn and help improve drainage. Contact Eden for more information and the best professional assistance regarding landscaping and gardening. 

Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!