How To Spread Topsoil


Gardening can be very spiritual and therapeutic. It’s really satisfying to dig into the soft earth with your own hands and grow veggies, flowers, and all sorts of plants. However, when you’re getting started as a gardener, things can be very complex. Buying topsoil is as easy as searching “topsoil near me” on the internet. However, spreading the topsoil to make a garden bed can be very difficult for novice gardeners, Let’s clear the confusion and check out how to spread topsoil:

The Process

  • Get the right topsoil – Unlike other outdoor hobbies, gardening is very easygoing and doesn’t intimidate people away. Sometimes the best topsoil may be available to you already without you knowing about it. Topsoil reacts well with soil of similar types and hence you shouldn’t add a bag of topsoil that has a completely different composition than the one in your garden. When you mix topsoil which is similar to your garden or lawn, it helps to facilitate drainage and aeration with relative ease. Topsoil has three major components – peat, compost, and sand.

Sand is a cheap ingredient that adds volume and also helps to create small pockets in the soil for airflow. Without adequate aeration, roots would be starved of oxygen and the plant wouldn’t be able to grow properly. Compost is used to add rich organic matter and nutrition that will be used by the lawn grass or the plants in your garden. Peat or organic peat moss is a dry ingredient that helps to balance the moisture from the compost. You don’t want the soil to be too moist. Otherwise, air pockets would sink, and it would deteriorate airflow.  When you buy topsoil make sure that it doesn’t have too much sand or clay. Balance is key. You can also create your own topsoil with a limited amount of sand. Make sure to source the compost or fertilizer from organic sources. Avoid pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical compounds. 

  • Get the right tools – When you spread topsoil, you need the right tools to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Some of the common tools used to spread topsoil include a rake, planting hoe, shovel, or even your own hands. For large yards and golf courses, people use specialized tools like pull behind spreader, wheelbarrow, rolling aerator, landscape rock rake, and more. Let’s check out some of the best tools you can use to spread topsoil:
  • Landscape rake – Buy a rake that is made from a strong and light metal. While iron and steel rakes exist, anodized aluminum rakes are the best since they are also highly resistant to corrosion. While they are more expensive than their iron cousins, they need less maintenance and would last you for a very long time. It will also be lighter and easier to use. Buy a rake that has long and flexible tooth combs so that you can drag along twigs, leaves, and other organic matter as you spread the topsoil. This helps to preserve nutrition in the soil.
  • Yard Drag Mop – You may have seen large metal mesh-like structures dragged on the ground during construction or landscaping projects. This is a similar product that is meant to be used manually on a smaller scale. When you drag it on the ground, it levels out topsoil and its design allows you to spread it evenly. However, the pressure exerted by the tool may compress and eliminate air pockets from the soil. That’s why you need to poke holes in the soil after using it.
  • Spread topsoil – When you have sourced the right topsoil and bought the perfect tool, it’s time to spread it. If you have a small garden or yard, spread the topsoil with your hands. Don’t worry about the uneven shape of the bed while tossing. The tool exists to fix that. Use a rake, till, or shovel to spread the soil evenly. If you have an average-sized garden or yard, you can use a wide rake or a rolling aerator to evenly spread the soil. For large properties, you need special industrial machinery that can match the scale of the job. Something like a landscape rock rake or a full-size push spreader. Manual labor is useless here.
  • Aerate the soil – Once you check the evenness and level of the topsoil, it’s time to aerate it. Suffocated roots won’t be able to grow healthy plants and, in some cases, can lead to the death of the plant even before it matures to its full size. If you don’t have a rolling aerator, use a tool with plenty of spikes on it. Poke holes on the soil manually till you cover the whole landscape. However, that’s only possible for small and average-sized properties. For large properties, you need to buy proper aeration machinery, or it can be a very tedious process.

Make sure that the topsoil is spread around 1 or two inches over the original soil layer. Anything beyond that won’t allow air to penetrate and reach the roots. The optimum depth varies depending on the moisture in the soil and the local climate. The air holes you poke into the soil don’t just provide airflow, but also allow proper drainage so that the roots aren’t dehydrated.

  • Plant – Once you have aerated the soil, allow nature to do its thing. Make sure that you follow the guidelines for growing the flowers, veggies, or fruits in your garden and water the plants as required. Overwatering may cake the soil and ruin aeration while less than adequate water would starve the plant of necessary nutrients, especially during the growth phase. Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep the soil healthy.


Now that you know about all the steps of spreading topsoil, you should be able to do it on your own. Follow the steps in order and you can raise healthy plants that bloom beautifully and produce nutritious food. To buy topsoil you can search for “topsoil near me” on your favorite search engine.