Sooner or later all enthusiastic gardeners find themselves contemplating landscaping projects, for various reasons. You may have a low patch in your yard that floods and needs to be filled. Or you may be planning new plantings with native plants, or fruit trees or a strawberry patch. You will need more soil than is available in your backyard, and it’s to know a little bit about the different types of soil and their purposes. If you need to supplement the soil in your yard, you may need to check out your local landscaping supply store. The choice of fill dirt vs topsoil will depend on the kind of projects you have in mind.
Fill dirt vs topsoil: what’s the difference?
Soil is soil, isn’t it? Actually, one of the first things that gardeners discover is that there are many types of soil, which are used for different purposes. They have different textures and composition. The kind of soil you would use for foundations and fill is very different from the mix you need to grow healthy plants and vegetables.
For gardeners, the two qualities that matter most are fertility and texture. Healthy soil that is used to grow plants and vegetables typically is made up of 25% each water and air, 45% minerals and 5% organic matter. This topsoil very different from the fill dirt which would be used for building projects such as foundations and roadways.
What is fill dirt?
Fill dirt is soil that that is used as underlay for building projects, such as house foundations or roadways. The most important quality it should have is stability, without any spaces within that can cause it to shift or move after it has been laid down. This means that it should not contain any organic matter which will continue to break down and shift the soil.
Fill dirt should also be free of any rocks, large stones, or chunks of debris that will make it unstable. It’s usually made of broken down rocks and stones, along with clay. It should also be free of any toxins or chemicals. In your garden, you would use it as filler in projects like leveling out dips or low points in your yard, or building up little hills and rises to give your landscape some interest. A layer of topsoil is then added to grow grass or other plants. Fill dirt is also used in septic systems.
What does top soil contain?
Topsoil is the kind of soil that’s used to grow healthy plants. It should be nutrient-rich with plenty of organic matter in which plants can grow strong roots. Topsoil is usually darker in color and is often black. A layer a few inches thick is needed to grow grass or any other plants.
Topsoil is used for gardening and growing vegetables and fruit. It can also be used to improve drainage, because its organic content makes it porous and lets water pass through instead of holding it.
How to buy fill dirt and topsoil
You local landscaping store can supply both fill dirt and topsoil. Both are sold by the cubic yard, but the prices of fill dirt vs topsoil are very different. Top soil can cost twice as much as fill dirt, though you will typically be buying much smaller quantities.
Both types of soil are sold by the cubic yard, which will cover an area 50 feet square with a layer of 4 to 6 inches. Once you have your topsoil in place, you can consider other factors in your soil make up, such as its pH value. Most pants grow in the neutral range of pH 6 to 8, but some prefer more acidic or alkaline soil.
If you’re considering some serious landscaping and gardening projects, you will need to be aware of the differences between fill dirt vs topsoil. The two kinds of soil have a different composition and different uses.