How Do I Figure Out How Much Topsoil I Need?


Gardeners and farmers refer to the top layer of soil as topsoil. They amend and improve this layer of soil to be rich in nutrients and of the right composition for the plants they grow.

Determine Depth

  • Determine how much depth your plants need. Carrots can grow more than a foot deep while grass roots only penetrate an inch or so. To account for settling and compacting, add 25 percent to 50 percent to the depth your plants need to determine topsoil depth.

Determine Area

  • Measure the area to be covered with topsoil. The area could be a rectangle, square or circle or a rough approximation of one or more of these shapes. Use this area formula for squares and rectangles: Area = length x width. Use this formula for circles: Area = 3.14 x radius x radius. The radius is one half of the diameter.

Determine Volume

  • Multiply the depth of the topsoil needed by the total area to be covered for the total volume needed. A garden bed that is 10 feet long, 5 feet wide and 1 foot deep needs: 10 feet x 5 feet x 1 foot = 50 cubic feet. Divide cubic feet by 27 to find cubic yards: 50 cubic feet divided by 27 = 1.9 cubic yards of topsoil.

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  • "The Vegetable Gardeners Bible"; Edward C, Smith; 2000
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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