A beautiful yard with a well-tended garden can provide lots of enjoyment, whether you are growing vegetables for your family to enjoy, planting an eye-catching flower garden to attract butterflies, or simply wish to have a lush, green lawn. No matter what type of yard or garden you have, the quality of your topsoil is one of the top determinants of your yard’s visual appeal and your project’s overall success. Here is a look at what topsoil is and why it is so vital for having a beautiful yard.
What Is Topsoil?
Topsoil is the upper and outermost layer of soil. It typically runs around 6 to 8 inches deep, although this can vary depending on the area. What sets topsoil apart from other types of dirt is its high concentration of organic matter and microorganisms, which enables it to serve as the perfect environment for the biological soil activity that allows plants to grow and thrive.
Based on this definition, you may be forgiven for believing that the top layer of dirt in your yard will have all of the qualities associated with topsoil. If you have recently moved to a house whose previous owner was a skilled gardener, that could well be the case. However, most of the time, the quality of soil surrounding homes is not ideal for plants, particularly if the home was recently constructed.
It takes time for high-quality soil to develop, and a generous amount of decomposed plants, or organic matter, are needed to enhance the soil’s properties over time. Organic matter gives topsoil the excellent drainage capabilities it is known for as well as its water retention abilities and its ability to support a healthy soil ecosystem.
Therefore, many people purchase topsoil so that they can layer it on top of their existing soil prior to planting. It is also possible to amend topsoil with a few inches of compost in order to make it more productive.
Why Is Good Topsoil Important for Your Yard’s Appearance and Health?
Here is a look at how topsoil contributes to the beauty of your yard and garden.
It Can Protect Your Plants
Topsoil provides protection for whatever you plant in the yard, such as vegetables, grass and plants, by surrounding their roots. It also helps to lock in moisture so that it does not evaporate before the plants have been able to get the water they need. The water-retention abilities of topsoil also mean that you will not need to water your lawn or garden as often to keep it looking nice.
It Promotes Healthy Plant Growth
The organic matter found in topsoil is filled with healthy nutrients that can help support your plant’s growth. As organic animal and plant matters decay, the microorganisms in soil, such as nematodes, promote the development of rich soil aggregates known as humus, which is incredibly fertile. Some types of topsoil are more nutrient-rich than others, so many people have their topsoil tested to find out whether additional nutrients need to be added for optimum growth.
It Can Prevent Erosion from Wind and Rain
Erosion is a common problem in yards, particularly in gardens. When plants are left exposed because their soil has been washed away in a storm, they can become weak and eventually perish. However, proper planting techniques in adequate topsoil will give plants a strong foundation, with well-established roots that will hold them in place during inclement weather instead of being washed away.
It Provides Better Drainage
Topsoil tends to drain quite well, and adding more topsoil to your yard can help to improve its drainage further. Consider mixing topsoil into areas where you intend to plant and then top it with another layer of topsoil across the surface for optimal drainage.
It Reduces the Need for Chemicals and Pesticides
The high amount of nutrients found in topsoil provides protection from diseases and pests, which means that toxic pesticides and other chemicals can often be avoided. This is not only important for keeping your grass looking its best; it is vital when you are growing food.
It Can Correct Uneven Lawns
Topsoil can also be used to level out uneven lawns, whether they have slowly started to slope in some areas or they have developed holes due to settling or digging animals. A topdressing of topsoil or a leveling mix that contains topsoil, compost and sand can address widespread evenness for a more visually pleasing, flatter yard.
How to Obtain Topsoil for a Beautiful Yard
Topsoil is widely available and can be obtained from a number of sources, including home improvement stores, nurseries and garden centers. For small amounts, topsoil can be purchased by the bag, but those who have bigger projects in mind can save money and hassle by ordering topsoil in bulk. This type of soil can be delivered directly to your home from a soil supplier and often boasts significantly higher quality than the type found in home improvement stores.
There are several types of topsoil available. For example, sandy soil, clay soil and silt soil are all very common, but the best choice of soil for yard work is loam soil. This is a mixture of sand, silt and clay that has been combined to provide the soil with all of the best properties offered by each type of dirt. Easy to work with and offering excellent drainage, loam soil is considered the ideal soil for gardening.
Although topsoil can be applied throughout the year, many gardeners choose to add it in the springtime ahead of their planting efforts. It is also useful as a top dressing in the fall to allow nutrients to break down in the soil. A layer of topsoil can also be spread across a garden before or after planting.
If you will be mixing in any amendments, such as compost or other organic matter, do this in a wheelbarrow or over a tarp prior to spreading it on the garden.
Talk to the Topsoil Specialists at Dirt Connections
If you are looking for high-quality topsoil to improve your yard’s appearance, get in touch with the professionals at Dirt Connections for advice or to arrange a topsoil delivery directly to your home.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!