How to Identify Types of Fill Dirt


Before you have fill dirt hauled onto your property, determine the type you need. That way, you'll know exactly what to order. Although many types of dirt are clumped under the classification of "fill dirt," they're not all the same. Some dirt is only good for filling in holes and low spots, while other dirt is suitable for landscaping. You can easily learn to identify the five types of fill dirt.

  • Order organic, clean topsoil, or "topsoil," and you'll get the best type of fill dirt. Because it contains nutrients, you can plant grass and plants in it. Topsoil works well when you need a shallow layer of dirt to fill in low spots. You can identify it because it contains few, if any, rocks or other debris. Organic, clean topsoil is easily spread and leveled with a garden rake because of its purity.

  • Choose inorganic, clean fill dirt if you need to fill in deep holes, level out low spots or build-up your yard. This dirt is classified as "clean" because it contains no large rocks or other debris. Inorganic, clean fill dirt may contain a small amount of debris like stones and roots. It isn't suitable for growing grass or plants.

  • Ask specific questions about sand, gravel and small rocks so you know what you'll be getting. This type of fill dirt is usually taken from sites that have been blasted, so it can widely vary. This fill dirt is suitable for general fill-ins around your yard. The gravel and rocks can be useful for landscaping projects. Sand, gravel and small rocks don't sustain plant life.

  • Choose rock fill dirt if you need big rocks to fill in deep openings or to landscape your yard. You can easily identify rocks, which come from blast sites or deep excavation sites, because they are usually bigger than a football. They are also suitable for building structures such as walls. To grow grass or plants, you'll need to put organic clean topsoil over this type of fill dirt.

  • Use mulch, manure, compost and other recyclables as a fill dirt if you desire heavy fertilization. The contents of this fill dirt are suitable for gardens. You can also use this type for fertilizing flower beds and other growing areas. It may contain wood chips, plant cuttings and other organic material. If the manure is too fresh, it will be quite odorous. If that will be a problem, ask how old it is.

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