Having nutrient-rich soil is the key to a healthy lawn or garden.
Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil. It contains the highest levels of organic matter, like dead leaves or tree branches.
The organic matter within the soil makes it the ideal growing medium for anything you want to plant. But this means it’s also not cheap. How much does top soil cost?
In general, you pay for topsoil by the cubic yard. On average, the price for topsoil is between $16 and $100 per cubic yard, including delivery.
Expect to pay more if you’re in an urban location, want to buy organic soil, or only need a small amount.
1 Cubic Yard of Topsoil Cost
For simplicity, this guide will break down the costs of 1 cubic yard of topsoil. If you buy smaller amounts, which usually means less than a cubic yard, the price may be higher. We’ll get into prices for a cubic foot later.
When people buy topsoil, they’re often doing so because they either just finished building their home or they’re redoing their yard.
In either case, they’ll need a lot of soil to make their yard a suitable place for grass and other plants. A cubic yard of topsoil weighs 1080 pounds, and it’s enough soil to cover 100 square feet in a 3-inch depth.
Top Soil Cost
Topsoil cost varies wildly depending on the company you’re buying it from. While you can get soil from landscaping supply companies and big-box hardware stores, we like Lowe’s and Home Depot best.
- Home Depot has a wide selection of topsoils from different manufacturers. For their bulk topsoil, the price is $46 per cubic yard. That price doesn’t include delivery.
- Lowe’s is another home improvement store that sells topsoil. The average price for a cubic yard of topsoil from Lowe’s is $54 without delivery.
Big Yellow Bag isn’t a chain store with thousands of items. Instead, its goal is to provide topsoil and delivery with as little hassle as possible.
Topsoil at Big Yellow Bag costs $199 per cubic yard, but that price includes delivery and bag pick up.
In general, expect to pay between $15 and $150 for bulk topsoil delivered to your driveway. Home improvement stores like Home Depot need to load their truck and drive it to your location.
If they have to drive long distances or through busy city traffic, the delivery price is often higher.
Always remember to get a quote so you can verify their price is within your budget. For online soil delivery companies like Big Yellow Bag, delivery costs are already part of the purchase price.
Although their prices are higher, you won’t have to worry about hidden delivery costs or fees at the checkout.
Smaller Loads of Topsoil
If you plan on filling in some holes in your yard or just feel like laying down a new layer of seed in a few spots, you’ll need a few bags of topsoil.
The problem is you don’t need a whole cubic yard. In this case, you only need a cubic foot. A cubic foot of topsoil is 27 times smaller than a cubic yard.
So, since a cubic yard of topsoil weighs 1080 pounds, a cubic foot weighs 40 pounds. This is typically enough to cover approximately 6 square feet in 3 inches of soil.
At Home Depot, there are many options for topsoil in cubic foot bags. The cheapest is around $2 per cubic foot, while the most expensive is $4.
Remember, there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. If you were to buy 1080 pounds, which is a cubic yard, of topsoil in cubic feet, you’d spend more than $60 per yard on average.
This goes to show how much cheaper buying in bulk is. Lowe’s also offers smaller sizes for topsoil. Their cheapest variety is just over $2 per cubic foot. Their most expensive type of topsoil is also $4.
If you plan on buying a cubic foot of topsoil, always make sure you pick it up yourself or understand the delivery fee before ordering.
With smaller amounts like this, home improvement stores often charge an excessive delivery fee. It’s always a better deal to pick these items up.
Factors to Consider
Sometimes you don’t know how much topsoil you’ll need, or you don’t know what to look for in topsoil. If that’s the case, here are some helpful reminders of what to look for when choosing topsoil:
- Measure twice. Measure twice, purchase once! Always double-check measurements before heading to the store to avoid ending up with a useless pile of topsoil.
- Test topsoil. Topsoil should be dark, moist, and slightly sweet-smelling. These are signs your topsoil is healthy and ready to receive your plants.
- Remove debris. Your topsoil should be free of large fragments, like rocks or stones. If you see topsoil with these elements present, avoid it.
- Plant early or late. The best time of year to lay down topsoil is either fall or spring. These times of year are best because your plants will thrive with abundant rain and less intense heat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although topsoil is a generally well-understood part of gardening, it doesn’t hurt to expand your knowledge base. Here are some questions we’re frequently asked:
What Nutrients Are in Topsoil?
Since topsoil is a mixture of dirt, dead organic matter, sand, and clay, it’s packed with nutrients.
Some of the most prominent nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and calcium. Other nutrients, including zinc and iron, are also found in topsoil.
How Is Topsoil Made?
The earth forms topsoil naturally, but that process takes hundreds of years. As the dead leaves and other organic matter on the ground break down, it forms a layer of soil on the surface rich in nutrients.
But it takes hundreds of years for all that organic matter to turn into healthy soil.
Now we have factories that can make topsoil within days, sometimes even within hours.
The process begins with dirt, and then they add minerals and organic material. Manufacturers also keep the pH levels stable and keep the mixture moist.
Aside from Healthy Plants, What Else is Topsoil Good For?
One of the best benefits of topsoil, aside from healthier plants, is the increased drainage it provides to your yard.
Since clay soil causes most drainage issues, you can replace the top layer with topsoil.
Topsoil drains better than clay soils, so your yard will clear water faster. The result is a lawn with fewer pools of water during high-intensity rain.
So, How Much Does Top Soil Cost?
Topsoil is an absolute must if you want a healthy yard and garden. It makes the perfect growing medium for almost all plants and grass in particular.
On average, the price for a cubic yard of topsoil is between $16 and $100, including delivery.
If you don’t need that much, you can always purchase a cubic foot for under $5. In any case, there’s topsoil out there waiting to help you improve your garden.