How to Use Topsoil


Topsoil, or the top 2 to 5 inches of your garden's soil, contains the most nutrients for the growth of plants. Topsoil ordinarily contains the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms. Using topsoil is simplistic and doesn't require much time. The use of high-quality topsoil improves your plants and creates a lush environment for your garden or home landscape.

Step 1

Choose an area in your yard or garden bed in which you will be maintaining plants.

Step 2

Obtain an adequate amount of commercial topsoil for the dimensions of the area in your garden. For an 8-foot by 5-foot plot of land, 40 lbs. of topsoil is adequate.

Step 3

Turn the surface of your garden with a power or manual garden tiller.

Step 4

Scatter equal amounts of peat moss, kitchen compost and live earthworms with castings over the freshly tilled garden earth. Five pounds each of the materials make for adequate enrichments for an 8-foot by 5-foot garden area.

Step 5

Scatter the commercial topsoil on top of the enriched garden soil.

Step 6

Drag the rake over the topsoil, throughout the entire garden, slightly mixing the compost, peat moss and worms with it.

Step 7

Spray the surface of the garden area with a garden hose, thoroughly soaking the soil until it turns black. Puddles of water may form, but that is OK. About 20 gallons of water will flood and mix the topsoil of an 8-foot by 5-foot area.

Step 8

Wait about three days before sowing seeds into the ground, allowing the excess moisture to evaporate.

Things You'll Need

  • Commercial topsoil
  • Kitchen compost
  • Peat moss
  • Earthworms (live packed in castings/soil)
  • Garden tiller (hand powered or mechanical)
  • Rake


  • USDA: Soil Survey Manual
Keywords: topsoil, using topsoil, garden soil preparation

About this Author

Chelsea Hoffman is a professional freelance writer with works published both on the Web and in print. She currently resides in Las Vegas. The author of the new series of horror novellas, titled "Fear Chronicles," Hoffman's work can also be found on environmental websites like, where she helps spread environmental awareness with her mighty pen.