Fill Dirt vs. Top Soil

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It’s time to fill in a low spot in your yard, contractors come out and start talking about “fill” dirt and topsoil to raise the area in concern. You may be asking yourself, “What is the difference or how do I decide what to put in my yard?” In this post we will talk about the trade-offs of using fil dirt vs. top soil.

Fill Dirt

Fill dirt is often filled with dirt, rocks, and “organics”. This is a good option if you need a substantial amount of dirt to fill in a low spot. However, the rocks and organics in the dirt may be a little more than what you expected.

Fill dirt can have rocks as large as 1 foot in diameter, depending on the contractor you select to bring in the dirt. The organics that are often referred to include tree/shrub roots or grass in the dirt that come from excavation at another location. It’s important to understand what dirt the contractor will be bringing in because there are a few tradeoffs between fill dirt vs. topsoil dirt.

Fill dirt is often used to fill in large areas that need to be brought up 6 inches and greater. If you have a significantly low and larger area in your yard, this might be the best and most cost effective way to raise your yard. Fill dirt is often cheaper than topsoil and the rock in the dirt will actually help bind the soil together giving you a more solid area when finished. The organics and rock will often be buried when bringing in dirt to a low area. Some of the rocks and organics may be seen at the top while grading, but if a perfect grassy lawn is not required, this may be the right solution for you.

Top Soil

Topsoil is a great solution to elevating low spots in your yard that are 6 inches or less and relatively smaller areas. Top soil is normally screened to remove large rocks, organics, and any other debris that might have been excavated beforehand. Don’t let the organics removal fool you, this is very rich dirt that is great for growing grass or planting flower beds on top as the roots can easily penetrate the dirt to ensure plant growth. The screening process on the top soil is often conducted after excavation of the dirt and causes the price of this material to increase. If you are looking to fill an area in your yard that you plan to have grass grow, this is the best option for dirt fill.

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