How Much Topsoil Do I Need? | What You Need to Know for Excellent Garden Growth

Topsoil contains a lot of microorganisms and organic matter, which makes it the best soil to use when growing a garden. We want this top layer of nutrient-rich soil on our lawns and gardens so we can grow healthy plants, easily. But how much topsoil do you need?


Getting the right amount is essential to the quality and health of your garden—you need enough so your plants can extract the right amount of nutrients from the soil, but not too much to overfill your garden bed.

For a simple vegetable garden patch, such as the one I own, I need about 1-2 bags of topsoil. The kind of topsoil I get is the loamy type, which is very easy to water and provides a lot of nutrition for my plants.

However, not all aspiring gardeners know how to choose the right type and amount of soil, and that is why I’m going to tell you all you need to know to achieve your dream garden:

How Much Topsoil is Recommended?

If you’re going to fill a new garden bed, 8 inches of topsoil is considered enough. On the other hand, a new lawn would need about 4-6 inches of topsoil. This depth would ensure that your garden or lawn will provide enough nutrients for your plants.

When you’ve decided on the depth of your new garden/lawn, move on to the next step:

How Much Topsoil Do I Need?


To determine how much topsoil you need for your new lawn or garden, follow these steps below:

1. Determine the area of your new plot.

To do this, take a metal tape measure and determine the width and length of your plot. Multiply the length and width of your plot in order to get the value for the area, which should be in square feet.

2. Find out the amount of topsoil you need.

In the previous section, we’ve discussed the recommended depths of topsoil for a new garden or lawn. If you want, say, 5 inches of topsoil for your garden, divide this number by 12 to get your factor. 5 divided by 12 is 0.42. You will then multiply this factor to the area of your new plot.

For a 50 square feet area, the amount of topsoil you would need is 21 cubic meters. That’s 50 x .42 = 21 cubic meters. Then, divide this answer by 27 to get your amount in cubic yards. The answer will then be 0.8 cubic yards. It’s as simple as that!

If you don’t want to go through these calculations, simply use this calculator.

What Kind of Topsoil Do I Get?

Now that you’ve determined how much topsoil you need for your new garden or lawn, it’s time to decide what kind of topsoil you can buy. Yes, there are different types of soil and have their own pros and cons. In this section, you will need to decide which type of soil you need to buy:

1. Sandy loam

This type of topsoil is a mix of 40% silt, 40% sand, and 20% clay. The combination of these substances will produce a fertile soil that can provide your plants with ample nutrients to grow healthily.

In addition, sandy loam will not cause water logging or rapid draining of water, which can cause loss of nutrients that can affect plant growth. 



Buy a high-quality soil that comprises of a good ratio of silt, clay, and sand to help your plants reach their full potential.

2. Clay soil

Clay soil comes from decomposed organic materials such as dried plants or mineral-rich sources, which makes it rich in nutrients and beneficial to plant growth.

However, one downside of clay soil is that it is impermeable to water, which makes it prone to water logging.


If you’re going to use this type of soil, be mindful of the amount of water you use when watering.

3. Sandy soil

This type of soil is composed of fine mineral particles such as rocks that have weathered over the years. If you’re going to use this type of soil, be weary of leaching since sand is prone to rapid draining of water, which is not very good for nutrient absorption of plants.


In summary, a combination of silt, sand, and clay to form a topsoil mixture is the best way to go, because each of these components have their advantages and disadvantages (that are counteracted by other components). Selecting a topsoil with just the right ratio of each ingredient is the key to a healthy garden/lawn.

Buying Topsoil

Now that you know how much topsoil you need, and what kind of topsoil you want, purchase your topsoil from a garden center, plant nursery, or home improvement store.

When buying topsoil by the bag, make sure that you’re getting your soil from a high-quality seller. Doing this will ensure that your topsoil is free from debris, rocks, trash, and twigs—things that you don’t need in your soil.



  • Make sure you compute how much topsoil you need. By doing this, you’re making sure that you’re getting the right amount. Also, a great surplus can be a money-waster.
  • Loam soil is the best soil because you’re getting a mixture of all the advantages of silt, clay, and sand. Select a combination of 40% silt, 40% sand, and 20% clay, or anything near that number.
  • Till and fertilize your soil for optimum plant growth. Just because topsoil is rich in nutrients and is fairly loose doesn’t mean it doesn’t need tilling or fertilizing.
  • Finally, i highly recommend you should wear a comfortable pair of gardening shoes to keep your feet clean and dry.


Topsoil is dirt that’s composed of rich organic matter which makes it nutritious for your plants. Determining the right amount of topsoil you need is essential for proper plant growth, and the same goes with selecting the right type of soil. Having said this, reaching your ideal garden or lawn rests in your own decisions, so choose well.

I hope this article aided you to solve your gardening problems. Did you find this article helpful? If so, a comment or suggestion is always appreciated. Don’t forget to share this with your friends, too! Thanks for reading.


  • Emma Clark

    Hi there! My name is Emma Clark, a part-time interior designer, house flipper, and full-time mom. This blog is the fruit of my extensive experiences as an interior designer and home improvement enthusiast. More so, I'm here to share with you a lot of great ideas on what you can do to make your home into a masterpiece: all cost-effective and amazingly creative.

2 thoughts on “How Much Topsoil Do I Need? | What You Need to Know for Excellent Garden Growth”

  1. I knew nothing about topsoil before reading this article. It was interesting to learn that topsoil can help to fertilize and to support your plants and garden. I hope this article can help us to know how to make our new sunflowers stay healthy during the upcoming summer season.

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