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How to Use Top Soil

By Damon Hildebrand ; Updated September 21, 2017
Enhance the topsoil in your garden by adding compost.

Topsoil is the most fundamental requirement for healthy gardens and thick lawns. Naturally found in most areas as the outermost crust of the earth, it is found at depths from just an inch or two, up to 8 inches. The amount of nutrient and moisture holding capacity varies depending on the quality of the soil. However, it is amendable by adding supplements, such as fertilizers, composts, humus and other soil enriching components.

Use Topsoil in the Lawn

Spread a thin layer of topsoil--1/4 inch to 1 inch--over newly planted lawns or bare spots in an existing lawn to help enrich the existing soil.

Rake the topsoil evenly into place with a leaf rake. A leaf rake is easier to handle and provides more control when skimming the top of soil.

Water the topsoil into the ground with a long healthy drink of water. Turn on the sprinklers long enough for 2 or 3 inches of water to help carry the fresh elements into the soil.

Use Topsoil for Gardens

Add topsoil to garden beds in the spring before planting. Manually mix in about 3 to 4 inches of new topsoil throughout the garden with a shovel or hoe.

Till the added topsoil and garden dirt together with a garden tiller. Mix the two well enough so they appear as the same soil.

Lightly water the amended garden soil to help dissolve the new minerals in preparation for planting. The added nutrients contained in the topsoil will give garden plants and flowers a boost. Plants will be healthier and produce more blooms as a result.


Things You Will Need

  • Leaf rake
  • Shovel or spade
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Bucket
  • Garden tiller


  • Maintaining a composting area will provide a nutrient-rich cocktail for improving topsoil.


  • Use care not to over-fertilize plants or lawns while improving topsoil quality. Too much fertilizer will burn the roots and ultimately kill the affected plants.

About the Author


Damon Hildebrand is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. He has more than 15 years within the oil and gas industry in both technical and managerial positions. Hildebrand has been a technical writer and communicator for the last four years. He is a certified specialists in lubrication and tribology, as well as a certified maintenance and reliability professional.