How Much Topsoil Do I Need?

hands with topsoil

If you are starting a gardening or landscaping project, one of the supplies you may need is topsoil. A quality topsoil can be used to add nutrients to the existing soil, or be used to fill raised garden beds or planters. If you are planning a large garden or adding new sod or seed to your lawn, you need to determine how much topsoil to buy. If you are wondering, ‘’How much topsoil do I need for grass, sod or a garden?’’ there are ways to calculate how much to buy. Here are some tips on calculating topsoil amounts for common projects.

How Do I Calculate How Much Topsoil I Need?

To figure out how much topsoil you will need for your landscaping project, you need to do some math. You need to know the basic fundamentals of determining area and how to convert your space into the volume of topsoil. Most topsoil is sold by cubic yards. A cubic foot is a square that is 12-inches in depth, width and length. A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet. This a substantial amount of topsoil, weighing in at over a 1,000 lbs.

The math can be tricky for some. You need to convert all measurements to feet. You will need to multiply the depth, width and length in feet to determine the cubic feet. Then, you can divide that number by 27 to come up with how many cubic yards of topsoil you will need for your project. But you also need to know how much topsoil in depth you should be adding for certain projects. This can be different for gardens, sod or planting grass.

How Much Topsoil Do I Need for a Garden?

Topsoil is vital for a garden. The nutrients it provides is essential for feeding new plants and producing the best results. If you are planting a new garden in the ground, you still will want topsoil added to enrich the existing soil. If you have raised planters, you will need to fill those planters or at least add some fresh topsoil on top of any existing soil. The answer to the question, “How Much Topsoil Do I Need for a Garden?’’ depends on the size of the garden and how deep you want the new soil.

A general rule of thumb for adding topsoil to existing soil for a garden is 8 inches. In truth, there is never too much, only too little. For most gardens, this is enough to enhance the soil to begin planting, but you still may need to fertilize for the best results. If you are thinking, “But how do I calculate how much topsoil I need for my garden?” you need to do the math. You will multiply the length and width and depth (8 inches or deeper for filling raised planters) in feet, then divide by 27 to achieve the cubic yards of topsoil needed.

How Much Topsoil Do I Need for Grass?

If you are growing grass from seed, you need to have a suitable layer of topsoil to nourish your new grass, deep enough to start roots. In most cases, you will want 4-6 inches of topsoil added on top of your yard where you plan to grow your lawn. To calculate how much topsoil you will need, you will multiply the width and length of the yard area in feet and multiply by the depth of topsoil you desire in feet (6 inches would be .5 feet). Divide the number by 27 to determine the number of cubic yards of topsoil you will need to buy.

How Much Topsoil Do I Need for Sod?

Like planting grass, laying sod will require a nice layer of topsoil to nourish the new sod and help it thrive and grow strong roots. Most sod companies suggest at least 4 inches of quality topsoil on top of your existing soil to achieve the best results for your lawn. Like planting a lawn from seed, you can determine the amount of topsoil needed by multiplying the length and width of your plot for your new sod then multiply it by 4 inches (or more) or .33 of a foot. Then, divide by 27 to come up with the amount of topsoil in cubic feet that you will need.
A professional landscaper applying topsoil before sod installation.
It is important to remember the weight of a cubic yard of topsoil. If you need more than one cubic yard, you will likely need it delivered or need a truck to haul your topsoil home. Many landscape suppliers offer topsoil and other soil component delivery if you are applying the soil yourself.

How do I calculate how much top soil I need? If you want to make it easier to calculate and get the right amount of topsoil for your landscaping project, talk to a local landscaper. Many professional landscaping companies will calculate the needed topsoil, deliver it and spread it for you, making it simple to plant your new lawn or garden.