What Kind Of Fill Dirt Is Best For Your Project?

When the time comes to do a little landscaping and yard remodeling, you may find that you need some fill dirt to raise the soil levels in certain areas. It's essential that you choose the proper type of fill for the project and area you're amending. Doing so will ensure your landscaping turns out looking its best -- and stays that way for years to come. Use this overview of the common types of fill dirt to guide you.


Clay-based soil is great it you are building up the ground where you'll later place a structure like a garage or gazebo. It is not easily displaced and it packs down well, so it makes for sturdy surfaces. Clay does not, however, drain very easily. It can become water logged, which drowns out the roots of grasses and small plants. For this reason, if you plan on planting in an area that you support with added clay soil, you need to top it with a foot or two of topsoil.


Top soil is a balanced soil that is intended to be used for the top foot or two of any space you're filling. Regardless of your project, you most likely need some topsoil. It contains some clay, sand, and compost. There's enough clay that it's able to compact decently, enough sand to permit drainage, and some compost to ensure plants are able to take root and grow in it. To tell whether a particular topsoil is a good buy, pick up a handful. It should drop easily between your fingers as you wiggle them. If it compacts into a tight ball or falls through your fingers without you moving them, it is too clay-based or too sand-based, respectively.


If you're filling in an area that needs to drain very well, such as to the side of your driveway or a low-lying area that tends to collect water, then sand is a great choice. It lets water pass through it easily and it is easy for roots to take hold in. Good sand, when dry, will pass though your fingers easily when you pick up a handful.

Screened Fill Dirt

If you need to fill in a big, flat area and need a balance between decent drainage and good compaction, then you may wish to use screened fill dirt. This is a mixture similar to topsoil, but it may not be as nutrient-dense since it is intended to be used deeper down in the ground. It has been sifted to remove any large rocks or clumps of clay.

For more information, contact Southern Landscape Materials or a similar company.