A Step-by-Step Guide To Spreading Topsoil

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Spreading topsoil is a difficult task that might result in several mistakes. The best methods are needed by amateur gardeners, compost professionals, or anyone to maximize their topsoil. This will allow your lawn, garden, fruits, and vegetables to thrive, which will lead to higher-quality results.

It is very fulfilling to work with your own hands to grow food. This guide will simplify the process of creating the proper topsoil. However, it is important that you understand the garden’s goals and how topsoil should be used. The following will be improved if your garden’s topsoil is great:

  • Drainage
  • Aeration
  • Fertility
  • Rapid growth
  • The overall quality of the output

Give your garden the topsoil that it needs to protect its investment. The right amount is important, not just in spreading the right topsoil mix. Too much can be dangerous, but too little won’t work.

Tips To Consider Before Spreading Topsoil

  • To remove large or broken objects, rake the garden.
  • Topsoil is mostly used for lawns, while compost is primarily used for gardens. You can mix topsoil and compost in your garden. It acts as a super-powered soil and will enrich your garden.
  • You shouldn’t do any damage to the grass or yard. Topsoil can be described as the soil that is on top of the grass. Don’t increase the density to the point that water cannot penetrate.

Step-by-Step Guide To Spreading Topsoil

Gardeners are nothing without their tools. Let’s discuss the best topsoil recipe depending on what the garden is used for and the tools required to spread it.

1. The Right Topsoil

The best materials are often the ones that are already in stock. Gardening isn’t as intimidating or overwhelming as you might think because of this.

Mixing topsoil with the soil of similar composition will produce the best results. You shouldn’t mix topsoil with soil that isn’t compatible with your lawn or garden. It’s important to keep the garden’s original consistency and composition. This ensures that the garden continues to drain and aerate correctly.

Topsoil that is not proper will cause a blockage in the garden, which can lead to a slowdown in growth. These are the most common topsoil ingredients:

  • Compost – The addition of nutrition to your lawn is done with compost. It also recycles nutrients, rather than sending them to overflowing landfills.
  • Peat-Topsoil needs to be balanced in moisture and dryness. Gardeners who use compost will need something that is dryer to balance it. Gardeners love peat or organic Peat moss as it is great for gardening.
  • Sand – Sand is well-known and widely used as a key ingredient for topsoil. However, it can be a complicated one. Some types of topsoil may already be dry and sand can dry them out even more. The sand’s job is to make small air pockets which increase soil airflow. This allows oxygen to reach the roots of the garden and allow them to grow from within.

Tips To Help You Choose The Best Topsoil Brands

  • A healthy garden requires airflow. However, too much sand and the wrong combination of clay can lead to concrete-like soil.
  • Sand also has fewer nutrients than other options so it should be used sparingly. It is a good idea to look for sand that is moist and suitable for topsoil.
  • To avoid the spread of toxic pesticides and herbicides in your yard, find an organic farm or company.

2. Find the Right Tools for The Job

It doesn’t have to be difficult to lay topsoil. These are the items you can use in spreading topsoil:

  • Small Area (Home Garden) – Hand Tiller/Fork, Rake, Planting Hoe, Shovel, Hands
  • Medium Area (Large Yard) – Rolling Aerator, Larger Topsoil-Specific Rake, Wheelbarrow, Mini Push Spreader
  • Large Area (Golf Course) – Pull Behind Spreader, Special Golf Course Machine, 5ft wide Landscape Rock Rake

3. Spreading the Topsoil

You now have all the necessary tools and materials for the job. It’s time to start spreading the topsoil.

These are the steps:

  • Small Areas – It is easier to spread the topsoil mixture in an even manner around the garden using your hands. To spread or deepen the layering of topsoil, use smaller tools such as a till or a rake.
  • Medium Areas – A mini push spreader, or a rolling air aerator are the best tools for a larger area such as a 1-acre yard. These will help in quickly spreading the topsoil. Then fill it with topsoil; move the spreader at a normal walking pace and let the topsoil fall to the ground. These can be used to spread grass seedlings and simplify the spreading of compost.
  • Large Areas – If you own a property with dozens of acres, you will need machinery that can handle the task. You can either purchase the large push spreader or the landscape rock rake.

4. Add Aeration to the Soil

Spread the topsoil evenly and make sure it’s aerated after you have finished. Don’t let the lawn become too dry and hard. This will hinder future growth.

No matter what the terrain is like, or what materials are used, there are steps to follow for any approach.

  1. Air pockets are a must for topsoil – A rolling aerator is recommended or something with spikes. Although it is possible to make holes in your yard manually, this can be time-consuming and less consistent than using a tool.
  2. Topsoil should not exceed 1-2 inches thick – Some people recommend 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This is based on the climate in the area and the moisture. Two inches is the minimum depth you should go. This is to ensure that airflow does not stop at any point. You will still need air holes.
  3. Verify that topsoil has reached 6-8 inches deep into the soil – The topsoil should fall into the air pockets, not be thickly covered. To puncture further, you can add more air holes to make it fall into the air pockets.

These air holes allow for proper drainage which will help to keep the soil moist and prevent flooding. You can balance the extremes with tools and aeration.

5. Plant and Let it Grow!

Let nature do the rest! You should water your lawn regularly and adhere to the instructions for each particular flower, fruit, or vegetable that you will plant. Each one will be different. Cactus plants may only require watering three to five times per month, while cucumber plants may require eight watering sessions each month.

Understanding what your plant needs and understanding what it is growing will help you to grow plants that require similar watering and nutrients. Once you have a good understanding of the entire process, the next sections will provide guidance on how to choose the best materials and avoid pesticides.

Why Avoid Pesticides in Topsoil

Pesticides may seem like a good idea to keep your garden pest-free but it is at a high cost. Pesticides are not good for your garden and ecosystem. Worms and other insects provide nutrients for the soil and are part of the natural cycle of life.

It’s tempting to use a topsoil product with pesticides or non-organic ingredients, but it’s not worth it. Most cases are small scale and gardeners do not need to put their health at risk. These are the health effects of pesticides:

  • In 1977, it was estimated that pesticides were responsible for 20,000 deaths each year.
  • The World Health Organization defines pesticides as “intrinsically poisonous.”
  • Pesticides cause organ damage, learning disabilities, autism, mental illness, and death. Although there is much criticism of the EPA for allowing these pesticides to continue to be used, Global Healing Center states that “The EPA is aware, but turns a blind eye.”
  • Parkinson’s Disease is linked to pesticides
  • According to the United Nations, 2017 saw an estimated 200,000 deaths each year from pesticide poisoning.
  • Even a Chemical Pesticide and Human Health Study on current agricultural practices says that “current agriculture must implement more environmentally friendly practices that pose less public health risk to the public.

Numerous studies have been conducted, and all of them agree that pesticides can be harmful to the human body.

Choose Organic Topsoil

Topsoil (sand and peat and other nitrogen-rich material) will be the dry part of your garden. Compost and fertilizer (carbon-rich materials and soil elements) will be the more moist parts of your soil. You need to choose topsoil products as there are risks of mixing clay-filled soil with sand.

When choosing topsoil, consider the following:

  • Is it possible for any other ingredients in the garden to react negatively with too much sand?
  • Is compost already present in the garden?
  • Do you grow food?

How to Help the Garden Grow Faster

You can use a few methods to strengthen the soil if the garden has a slow growth rate or falls behind. Use these tips if you wish to experiment and see if they can grow fruits and vegetables at a higher rate or enhance their flower garden.

These are some tips to make your garden grow faster:

  • Mulching – a great resource for weed control and soil moisture retention. This moisture results in heat retention which helps in the growth process as well as nutrient production in soil.
  • Add Nutrients -The primary nutrients that gardens require are phosphorus and potassium. No matter what type of fertilizer, topsoil or compost you use, ensure that your garden has the essential nutrients it needs to thrive. The 6-12-6 rule on ingredients states that gardeners should aim for a balance between 6% nitrogen, 12% phosphorous, as well as 6% potassium.
  • Use Rainwater – Keep buckets on the ground to collect rainwater and conserve water. This will reduce gardener’s energy consumption and bills while making the best use of all the available resources. Rainwater is often the best option for watering plants. BBG.org states that it is the most cost-effective and cleanest.
Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.