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How to Add Topsoil

By Hollan Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Adding topsoil can be a time-consuming venture, but it is well worth it if you live in an area with poor soil. Topsoil is the soil from which plants derive most of their nutrients, and it is made up of more organic material (such as broken-down plants) than the subsoil underneath. In order for plants to grow well they need a nice thick layer of topsoil to feed on and, for many gardeners, adding topsoil is the only way to get it.

Rake all large to medium sized rocks out of your soil and remove them from the area.

Break up the soil with the hoe. Loosen it all over the area you intend to add topsoil to at a depth between five inches and one foot. Make sure none of the soil is patted down. You should be able to run your fingers through the soil.

Add the manure or compost. Add one bag of manure or compost for every 3 square feet of land. Work the manure into the soil with the hoe until they are well mixed. Manure and compost help create topsoil.

Add the topsoil. Add one bag of top soil for every 3 square feet. Work it into the manure and soil mixture with the hoe.

Rake over the mixture. Add a 1-inch layer of top soil over the whole area. Do not mix it in.


Things You Will Need

  • High quality topsoil
  • Manure or compost
  • Rake
  • Hoe


  • To maintain the topsoil, add compost and manure to the top of your soil regularly.


  • Avoid adding topsoil on a windy day as much of it might blow away.

About the Author


Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.