Soil Cost

Last Updated on November 23, 2021 | Written by CPA Alec Pow
First Published on November 23, 2021 | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popivker

Well-cultivated soil is the foundation of any gardening project. Any garden, flower or vegetable, requires rich and well-drained soil, ready to support the healthy growth of plants. The soil ensures stable living conditions, being the most populated living environment.

If you need to cover a large area with soil, it is important to know the correct amount you have to purchase. Usually, the soil is sold by the cubic yard and one cubic yard that is spread out 1 inch thick will cover around 324 square feet, while a surface of 500 square feet will require 4.52 cubic yards if the soil is 3 inches thick.

How Much Does Soil Cost?

If you need dirt for your project, there are a number of places that may have it. Construction or excavation companies will often offer free soil if you can haul it yourself, or they will charge a nominal fee if you need it delivered. Though, it is recommended to make sure you examine any offered soil before accepting it, as many times it contains debris as well.

You can buy a cubic yard of screened fill or “clean” soil from some companies for $10 to $17, while five yards, which will be enough to cover a 500 square foot area (20×25 feet), three inches thick, will cost $45 to $80.

The price you will pay for topsoil greatly depends on the location. For example, in some parts of the United States, you will pay anywhere between $15 and $20 for a cubic yard, plus a delivery fee of $17 to $65, depending on the distance and the amount (for quantities larger than 10 yards delivery might be free), resulting in a total cost of $80 to $160 for five yards of delivered soil. Though, in other locations from the United States one yard of topsoil costs anywhere between $25 and $35, plus a delivery fee that is anywhere between $160 and more than $210 (depending on distance traveled and amount), resulting in a total cost of $160 to $360 for five yards of delivered soil. Usually, low-quality soil is cheaper, and the price per yard will decrease if the bought quantity increases.

You might also like our articles about the cost of sandbags, sand, or class 5 gravel.

If you need a little amount of soil for a very small area you can find it packed in bags and each bag will usually cost anywhere between $5 and $8. One cubic yard of soil will usually mean 18 to 20 bags, which cost $40 to $110.  This also means that five yards will cost $190 to $520.

Soil details

Soil is a mixture of materials with different functions.

  • The lawn is responsible for water storage, better soil structure, and ventilation.
  • Compost has a high content of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, magnesium, and sulfur or potassium oxide.
  • Volcanic rock, sand, perlite, or clay help aerate the soil. Also, the water retention capacity in the soil is important.
  • Expanded clay is a derivative of clay. It retains water and nutrients very well in the soil.

Soil For GardenA very good quality soil must smell like the forest. The soil should crumble when held in the hand and feel cold and moist. It should not contain large fibers and branches. Also, take a look at the quality of the packaging. It must not be discolored. If you notice discoloration on the package, most of the time the soil is old and important nutrients have been lost.

Cultivated soil must meet the special needs of plants. This is reflected in the content of nutrients. It can guarantee the healthy growth of the plant. But it is not necessary to buy the right soil for each plant.

You should always use quality soil. This type of soil contains all the substances and nutrients that plants need. Cheap soil often does not contain any material to store water and this can lead to the death of the plant.

The thickness of the soil for a vegetable garden is 8 to 12 inches, 12 to 18 inches for raised panting beds, and 3 to 5 inches for laying new lawn sod or turf.

What are the extra costs?

It is recommended to test the soil before buying it if you need a large amount. You can purchase a soil test kit from a home improvement center for $15 to $25. Also, for a small fee or even for free, you can verify the soil at your local agricultural cooperative extension office.

How can I save money?

If you’re looking for free or low-cost dirt in your area, try searching on You can also post an advertisement with information about what kind of fill you need and where it will go on the website as well.

Another way you can find free or low-cost soil is by visiting the construction sites and asking about it. However, check the quality before using this soil.

Alec Pow
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