How to Fix Clay Soil in a Yard


The very nature of clay soil--sticky, heavy and compact--makes it very difficult for anything to grow. Roots can't penetrate clay soil and air can't flow through it. There are different ways of fixing clay soil in a yard and all of them require adding large amounts of organic material. Wait until the clay soil is dry before working it and use 2 to 3 cubic yards of organic material or other amendments for every 100 square feet of gardening area. Begin this process in the fall.

Step 1

Till the soil to a depth of 12 inches, turning over the soil as you go and crushing any large clumps of dirt. Remove any rocks, roots or other debris.

Step 2

Add a 6-inch layer of coarse builder's sand and a 2-inch layer of compost over soil. Use your garden fork to mix the materials together.

Step 3

Rake the area until it is level.

Step 4

Spread a 6-inch layer of wood chips or shredded pine bark over the top of the soil and water deeply.

Step 5

Wait until spring and then mix the wood mulch into the soil and you are ready to plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller or spade
  • Coarse builder's sand
  • Compost
  • Garden Fork
  • Rake
  • Wood chips or shredded bark


  • North Carolina State University: Amending Clay Soils
  • Colorado State University: Choosing a Soil Amendment
Keywords: how to fix clay soil, amending clay soil, adding soil amendments to clay soil

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.