Beautiful gardens start with good soil

12th April 2023
Beautiful gardens start with good soil

Just like any construction project, your garden needs a strong foundation to thrive. That’s why the best way to guarantee the health, beauty, and growth of your plants is to invest in high-quality topsoil. 

M B Wilkes are the leading suppliers of soil and landscaping supplies in Dorset, Hampshire. and Wiltshire. Read on for our complete guide to topsoil, including its benefits, how to calculate the amount you’ll need, and the steps you should follow when laying it. 


5 benefits to having topsoil in your garden 

Adding topsoil to your garden is a fantastic way to improve the health and beauty of your plants. Here’s why: 

  1. Topsoil is the most nutrient-rich layer of soil, which makes it an excellent choice for growing plants. It contains a high concentration of organic matter, such as decomposed leaves and twigs, and minerals that plants need to thrive. 

  1. Topsoil helps to improve the soil structure of your garden by adding texture and making it easier for plant roots to penetrate the soil. This can also help to prevent soil erosion and improve water retention. 

  1. Topsoil can help to improve drainage in your garden, which is essential for healthy plant growth. It can help to prevent waterlogging and ensure that plants receive the right amount of water. 

  1. Soil compaction can prevent air and water from reaching plant roots, leading to poor plant growth. Topsoil can help to reduce soil compaction, making it easier for plants to access the nutrients and water they need. 

  1. Adding topsoil to your garden can help to increase biodiversity by providing a habitat for beneficial microorganisms, insects, and worms. These organisms can help to break down organic matter in the soil and provide essential nutrients to plants. 


How much topsoil you’ll need 

The amount of topsoil needed can vary depending on several factors, including the location, type of existing soil, and how the area will be used.  

New properties often have shallow or poor-quality soil, so you may need to lay extra topsoil to achieve the recommended depth. If the soil structure is poor, a soil improver can be added for the best results. You may only need to add a thinner layer of new topsoil if the existing soil is of a high enough quality. 


Recommended depth of topsoil 

  • Lawns: 100-150mm 

  • General gardening: 150-200mm 

  • Vegetable growing: 
    Root vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots): 300-400mm 
    Vegetables like lettuce, beans, courgettes: 150-200mm 


How to calculate the amount of topsoil for your working area 

Calculating the amount of topsoil you’llneed, is fairly straightforward. Begin by measuring the dimensions of the area you wish to cover and multiplying this by the necessary depth. It's easiest to use metres for measuring, as this will give you the volume of topsoil needed in cubic metres. 

Once you’vedetermined the volume you’ll need, all you need to do is calculate the number of bulk bags required. Simply divide the volume by the quantity of soil each bag holds. At M B Wilkes, each bag typically carries approximately 850 kg of soil. 

How to lay topsoil on your garden

What you’ll need 

  • Rake 

  • Gloves 

  • Shovel 

  • Ruler 

  • Tiller 

  • Wheelbarrow or sack truck 

Steps to follow 

Once you’ve calculated and ordered the amount of topsoil you need, you can move onto laying it in your garden. Follow these steps to create a smooth, even base to plant your flowers and vegetables: 

  1. Clear any debris, weeds, or rocks from the garden bed while wearing your garden gloves. Level the ground and make sure there are no large dips or bumps. This will make the process of laying the soil much quicker and easier. 

  1. Consider mounting small piles of topsoil around your working area. For larger areas, several strategically placed piles can help speed up the process. If your working area is small, two or three piles will suffice. This simple technique can save you time and effort, making your project more manageable. 

  1. Once you have your topsoil piles in place, you can start spreading them over the garden bed. Use a shovel to distribute the soil and create an even layer. After that, take a rake and smooth out the surface, making sure it's level across your entire working area. For best results, aim for layers that are around 4-6 inches thick. Keep repeating this process until you have achieved the desired thickness and evenness throughout the garden bed. 

  1. Position the tiller at the edge of the topsoil and adjust the blade depth to its maximum setting. Start the tiller and run it over the topsoil multiple times, ensuring that it mixes with any underlying soil. Repeat the process until you have tilled the entire area. 

  1. For an extra boost of nutrients, mix compost into the topsoil. Compost will also help improve the soil's texture and water retention. 

  1. Once you’ve finished mixing your soil, use your rake to smooth the fresh topsoil again. It should be as flat and even as possible. 

  1. Finally, let the topsoil sit for a while so it settles firmly in place. You can then water it with a sprinkler. 

And you’re all done! Your topsoil will now provide the nutrients, structure, and moisture that plants need to thrive, leading to better yields and a more beautiful garden. 



Premium soils at non-premium prices 

At M B Wilkes, we pride ourselves on the five-star quality of our soils. Nutrient-rich, moisture-retentive, and workable, they provide the ideal conditions for plants to set root. 

Unlike the majority of our competitors, we keep our soil products under cover, so they’ll stay as dry as possible. We also offer a range of composts and mulches to aid in fertilising your garden, all at highly competitive prices. 

If you’re looking to create a healthy and flourishing garden without breaking the bank, look no further than M B Wilkes. Shop our range of soils and landscaping products today! 

If you have any questions about our products, don’t hesitate to get in touch online or by calling us on 01258 857465 - we’re always happy to help. 


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