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Which Topsoil is Best? Gardener’s Purchasing Guide

Using topsoil in your garden has a long list of benefits whether that be for your lawn or flower beds and borders, but certain topsoils are best for different jobs. For example, general-purpose topsoil is best for levelling lawns, but it may not be the preferred choice to grow a luscious bed of roses.

In this guide, we help gardeners who are stuck on what topsoil to use in the garden, the different types of soil available to purchase in the UK and whether it matters what topsoil you use.

What are the different types of topsoil?

Each type of topsoil has its advantages and disadvantages, so it could be argued no type of topsoil is best for everything, however, most general-purpose sandy loam topsoils can be used across the garden and you’ll still get a good result.

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 is best for your project.

What is the best topsoil for vegetables and fruits?

The best topsoil to use when growing vegetables, fruit and other crops is a loam vegetable and fruit topsoil. Loam topsoil has a rich, dark brown appearance that feels moist and can often be clumped into a crumbly ball.

The mixture often consists of 20% clay, 40% silt and 40% sand, meaning your crops have a good soil structure to work with when establishing their roots and holding onto moisture in the summer months.

What is the best topsoil for growing plants and flowers?

Selecting a dark, fine and friable organic-rich blend of topsoil will offer you the best chance of growing healthy flowers in your raised beds and borders. Having premium loam topsoil and organic manure blended into a flower bed and border topsoil will ensure your plants bloom brightly in the spring. 

Using this type of topsoil will benefit plants that require large volumes of water and aeration.

What is the best topsoil for lawn turf and grass?

Whether you’re levelling an existing lawn or preparing the ground to lay new turf, the best topsoil to use is a silt-based mixture. Silt soils are similar to sandy soils when they’re dry, except that their particle sizes are much smaller resulting in a feel that is soft to the touch – when you roll silt-based soil between your fingers, dirt is left on your skin with a smooth texture, kind of like flour.

Lawn turf and grass topsoil is notoriously easy to move and work with as well as providing a great solution for drainage issues.

Does it matter what topsoil you use?

If you’re a gardener that has a passion and dedication for creating the best lawn, vegetable patch or flower bed then yes, it does matter what topsoil you use. Not all topsoils will give you the same result, which is why you should seek out specific blends of good quality topsoil for the project you are tackling. Unsure of what screened topsoil is? See our in-depth guide.

On the other hand, if you are a casual gardener and have a limited budget and time allocation, choosing a multi-purpose topsoil screened to 20mm will serve you well, albeit not giving you the best possible result. 

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 !