Frustrated with a Barren Lawn? How to Add Topsoil to Improve You Yard's Soil Quality

Posted on: 14 March 2017


Trying to maintain healthy lawn can seem like a fruitless task if your yard is filled with poor quality soil. Even if you dutifully fertilize and water your plants, they not thrive if the soil contains a lot of clay or is compacted. If the top layer of soil seems to be barren because your plants do not thrive, you should consider replacing the topsoil.

You can remedy many problems by adding topsoil to your lawn.The following primer on topsoil replacement can help you understand how to improve the soil in your yard so your plants can grow and receive the nutrients they need.

Problems That Adding Topsoil Can Solve

Healthy topsoil is dark loam that has an ideal ratio of sand, silt and clay. The best soil for growing plants will contain 40 percent silt, 40 percent sand and 20 percent clay. Soil that contains too much clay will not drain well and nutrients will not be able to travel from the soil into the roots of your plants.

Clay soil also becomes waterlogged, a situation that leads to root rot diseases that kill plants. Too much silt also can cause compacted soil. Soil with too much sand will not be able to hold nutrients long enough for them to be absorbed into plants. Adding topsoil to your lawn can solve these problems by correcting the ratio of sand, silt and loam.

Other issues that can be alleviated by adding topsoil include:

  • uneven areas of your lawn
  • low spots cause by the settling of underground utility lines or damaged tree roots
  • problems spots where there are patches of brown, heat-burnt grass

Adding topsoil will enable you to even out the terrain, improve plant nutrient uptake and solve drainage issues.

Purchasing Quality Topsoil

You want to make sure that you purchase quality topsoil that does not contain herbicides, rocks and old plant roots. It is better to buy topsoil from supplier that specializes in landscaping materials. The supplier can also provide you with an estimate of how much topsoil you will need based on the dimensions of your yard.

You should ask your supplier about the origins of the topsoil and if the mixture is amended. You want to make sure that the topsoil has the ideal ratio of sand, silt and clay. Some suppliers will also provide information such as the pH of the soil. The ideal pH for topsoil between 5.5 and 7.5.

The topsoil you purchase should be very dark with a fresh yet earthy smell. When you purchase high quality topsoil you will provide your lawn with better aeration and protection from erosion.

Preparing Your Yard for Topsoil Replacement

Before you add the topsoil to your lawn, you need to complete some prep steps.

  1. Remove any large debris from your yard include branches from trees, remnants of stumps and large piles of leaves.
  2. Rake the yard thoroughly to remove rocks and gravel.
  3. Use a hoe to loosen up the soil and break up any compacted areas.
  4. Discard the top few inches of the old soil.
  5. Add the topsoil and use a rake to spread it evenly over your lawn. Do not mix the new topsoil in with the old soil.
  6. Water the lawn and after a few days smooth out the topsoil with a rake.

If you are going to add sod to the lawn right after you amend the topsoil, the best time of the year to complete this task is the spring or early fall. You want to give the sod time to grow and get mowed a few times before the onset of extreme temperatures.