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What is Topsoil Used for?

Topsoil is widely used across the UK for both domestic and commercial use. If you’re a beginner to the gardening world, then topsoil is going to be a word and product you’ll soon be familiar with. With different types of topsoil found in different parts of the world, its use and benefits can differ from soil to soil.

With its diverse nature, topsoil can be used for a variety of problems within the garden and in this guide, we explain when you should use topsoil and what it is used for.

What is topsoil?

Topsoil is the upper layer of soil that contains most of the ground’s nutrients and fertility. Commonly confused with compost, the primary reason for the difference is that topsoil is a more well-rounded soil option because of both the structure and nutrients it offers for plants and turf. Topsoil is usually screened to a much finer size compared to compost – Alsoils+ Premium Topsoil is screened to 10mm.

The 6 types of topsoil are:

  • Chalky
  • Clay
  • Peaty
  • Loamy
  • Sandy
  • Silty

If you want to find out more about the different types of topsoil, we’ve created an in-depth guide so you know what soil you may be dealing with and how to approach it.

What is topsoil used for?

As topsoil is diverse in nature, it can be used for a variety of jobs for both domestic gardens and larger-scale trade projects. Topsoil is mainly used to cover empty patches, create new raised beds and borders, levelling and laying lawns. It’s used across the garden for different jobs thanks to its flexibility as well as being nutrient and mineral-rich. 

Another frequently asked question is ‘can I use topsoil for indoor potting plants’ and the answer to that is unfortunately not. As garden soils are different to indoor soils, this could impact how plants grow and their overall health.

Topsoil for gardens

Topsoil is commonly bought for creating new gardens beds or adding that extra bit of much-needed nutrients to existing plants. Typically you will need to spread a 2 to 4-inch layer of topsoil to flower beds and other general gardening jobs to ensure the best results.

Topsoil for lawns

If you’ve already got a lawn but it’s uneven, levelling a lawn can be an easy job to carry out if you know how to do it. Or perhaps you want to add a bit of greenery to your garden and you’re thinking of laying some new turf. High-quality topsoil for lawn turf and newly added grass seeds is a must as it provides good drainage, high amounts of nutrients and minerals – a brilliant way to keep your garden lawn healthy.

Topsoil for drainage

Another highly valuable property of topsoil is that it is known for creating effective drainage under grass. Having topsoil that is screened to approximately 10mm gives the best results for those looking on improving the quality of drainage in gardens, golf courses and sports pitches.

Topsoil for allotments

As there are different types of vegetables (root, cruciferous, allium etc), they require different levels of topsoil. Root vegetables will require between 3-4cm of topsoil, whereas other types of vegetables that grow on top of the ground will require between 1-2cm of topsoil.

If you’re unsure of how much topsoil you need for gardens, lawns, drainage and allotments, we’ve created the ultimate guide and calculator for how much topsoil you need

About the Author

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The Alsoils Team

For more than three decades, Alsoils has been a trusted name in delivering superior soil, compost products and offering landscaping services. Based in Hampshire, Alsoils caters to a diverse clientele, including both homeowners and businesses. Our team are experts in all things gardening, so you can be sure you get the very best advice for topsoil, compost, manure and so much more!

Based on 14 reviews
Mark Belshaw
Mark Belshaw
Ordered 2 bulk bags of manure on Wednesday, late afternoon and all was delivered by Friday lunch time. Great quality product and excellent delivery turnaround.
Charles Smith
Charles Smith
Excellent, from order to delivery. 10 tonnes of loose load top soil delivered within a few days. Best price and the 10mm screened soil is great quality. Thank you
Lesley Barry
Lesley Barry
Excellent product ordered 4 bags of top soil the driver was so accommodating as we have a very long driveway. The customer sevice was excellent. Thank you.
David Robberts
David Robberts
Excellent product at a sensible price from a local supplier. Staff are friendly and willing to help: I asked if just one bag of topsoil could be delivered quickly and it arrived next day! Great service.
Mark Hibberd
Mark Hibberd
Smooth execution of the transaction and delivery. Very helpful phone call and conversation. Ordered three bags of Border Blend topsoil. Paid by Paypal. They delivered, on the specified date, carefully, exactly where I wanted the bags placed. All in all, a very pleasing purchase. The topsoil was excellent and had been very carefully prepared. No lumps. Would definitely recommend and I will use again. Everyone I spoke to was nice and helpful.
David Stamp
David Stamp
Ordered topsoil on Tuesday came by Friday at the exact time quoted. Was WAY cheaper than anywhere else (by about £15 per bag) and was dropped off via a crane on back of the lorry, not by pallet which most of the other places use. Soil was fine and dry. Brilliant !