The topsoil in your yard contains all the organic matter, or important nutrients and minerals, that your grass and landscape plants need to grow. Unfortunately, construction often destroys this layer and leaves you with sandy or rocky soil that is not suitable for plants. The following tips can help you preserve your topsoil during your new construction project or at least replenish it after you finish.
Tip #1: Save What You Have
For smaller projects, such as the construction of a small addition, it can be simplest to save the topsoil you already have. Generally, a 3- to 6-inch layer of topsoil is needed for lawn grass, while at least 8 inches is needed in gardens and landscape planting areas. For a small area, you can use a shovel or a small bulldozer to scrape the topsoil from the site and deposit it in another area. Cover the mound with a tarp to protect it from drying out and blowing away. Then, once your construction is done you can use the removed topsoil to replace what was lost around the work site.
Tip #2: Buy More
For larger projects where it is not possible or practical to save the topsoil, or if there was not much topsoil to begin with, you may need to buy replacement topsoil. To do this, you will need to contact a soil retailer and tell them the square footage of the area that needs topsoil, along with the depth that you need. Although it is possible to pick it up yourself, it makes more sense to have it delivered to you. If the delivery site is easily accessible by vehicle, clear it and have it ready for the load to be dumped. If not, cover a driveway or other large area with a tarp and have the topsoil deposited there.
Tip #3: Spread It Yourself
You can save a lot of money if you spread the topsoil yourself. You can do this with rakes and shovels if it is dumped onsite. If it is dumped on a driveway, you will need to use wheelbarrows to get the topsoil to the necessary location. Once the soil is in place and reasonably level, roll a lawn roller over it to compact it so it is ready for planting. You can rent lawn rollers, which are little more than water filled rolling drums, from most rental or hardware stores.