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What’s the Difference Between Topsoil and Compost?

If you’re thinking of laying new turf, creating new areas for flowers and shrubs then your two main usage options are topsoil and compost. Both are versatile in their own ways, which means they’re great for all types of gardening and landscaping.

You may be thinking what’s the difference between topsoil and compost, or is one better than the other? That’s where we step in to give you guidance on what the main differences are and how you can use them in your garden.

What is topsoil?

Topsoil is the upper layer of soil that contains most of the ground’s nutrients and fertility. 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.

What is compost?

Compost is a mixture of natural materials that decompose to become organic matter. Compost contains nutrients that act as a natural fertilizer and improves the usage of topsoils. Organic compost is often lumpier than topsoil due to the nature of how it is formed.

How is topsoil used in the garden?

Topsoil can be used for a variety of jobs in the garden whether you need effective drainage, adding extra soil to raised flower beds or levelling a garden lawn. With their highly versatile and low-maintenance nature, they are the ideal solution for a range of gardening and landscaping needs.

How is compost used in the garden?

Although compost is packed with nutrients, it’s unable to retain as much water or structure as topsoil. When planting flowers, shrubs or sowing seeds, you should look to blend compost into your soil by raking or tilling it in to support healthy plant growth.

Topsoil vs Compost

As you can see from the above, topsoil is a material that has a wider range of uses and is found in the majority of gardens. Incorporating compost into a topsoil blend will enhance the number of nutrients available to plants and turf, leaving you with a healthy garden all year round.

If you’re looking to improve your garden or thinking about starting a new project, Alsoils+ can provide the products and services you need. Working with both domestic and trade customers for the past 35 years, you can be sure we will deliver a high-quality service.

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 !