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:
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.