When to Use Topsoil vs Garden Mix



If you’re new to gardening, you’d be surprised by the different types of soil available in the market. All have different compositions and are used for different purposes. If you want to buy topsoil for your backyard or garden, you can search for “topsoil near me” and check out nearby gardening supply stores. For now, let’s check out topsoil and garden mix and when you should use them:

The Details

1. Topsoil – As its name suggests topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil. Topsoil can be the top five inches of soil or may go a foot deep depending on the terrain and the geographic location. The composition of topsoil also varies according to the location. It is composed of clay, silt, and sand and the ratio of these key ingredients varies depending on where the topsoil came from. 

For landscaping projects, you’ll usually find two types of topsoil, screened and unscreened topsoil. Since topsoil is obtained from all kinds of sources including construction sites it has large pieces of gravel and other debris. That’s the unscreened topsoil. You can use it to fill up holes in your yard, but it isn’t suitable for growing plants. That’s where screened topsoil comes in. Screened topsoil is filtered topsoil that doesn’t have large chunks and debris and can be used for plants. 

As mentioned above topsoil varies drastically. The texture of the soil affects the type of plant you can grow on it. Most people opt for the loamy texture topsoil that has low water retention capability and is easy to work with. Compared to garden mix, topsoil is sold in large quantities since it’s mostly used for lawns and large landscaping projects. You can also change the texture and properties of the topsoil according to your needs.

2. Garden mix – Garden mix is screened topsoil that has been mixed with certain ingredients to offer you an enriched and nutrient-rich soil best suited for growing plants. The ingredients or amendments may include organic matter, compost, and a certain ratio of silt, sand, and clay to grow certain kinds of plants. 

Garden mixes are also known as premixed soils and are created to target a certain type of plant or garden. For instance, garden mixes that are best suited for flowers may not be great for your veggie garden. Since they are usually used for garden beds, they are sold in small quantities in a bag or sack. If you want to buy garden mix in bulk, you may need to place a special inquiry and wait for a long time.

3. When to use topsoil – Topsoil can be used for all kinds of purposes. For instance, it can be used for new landscaping projects. It can be used for the base of garden beds, for your lawns, or for replacing a paved area with plants. You can also use topsoil to repair the areas of your property that have been damaged by soil erosion. You can also repair other severely damaged areas of your garden. 

4. When to use garden mix – As mentioned above garden soil is usually reserved for garden beds since it is rich in nutrients and caters to certain types of plants. While most garden soil has certain ingredients mixed with topsoil, some are cultivated. Cultivated garden soil has compost and plenty of organic matter. Cultivated garden soil is a premium product that is usually used to spread over the garden bed. It’s also fortified with kelp meal and worm castings that enrich the soil and feed and nurture your plants. Let’s check out a few different types of garden soil.    

5. Garden soil for native plants – Different plants have different requirements and that’s why there are different sorts of garden mixes. If your native plant garden has plants that are harmed by phosphorus you need to buy garden mixes that have a low amount of phosphorus. You can often find low phosphorus garden mixes labeled as “low P”. These types of mixes also boast excellent drainage to promote native plant growth. 

If the native plants don’t have any special requirements and aren’t sensitive to phosphorus or nitrogen you may use regular garden mixes. You also need to complement the right garden mix with the right mulch. Natives thrive with mulches that mimic their natural environment.   

6. Garden soil for exotic plants – General purpose garden mixes are usually used for most exotic plants. These mixes are blended with compost and different kinds of soil so that most plants can grow on them without any hiccups. If your exotic plants have certain requirements for soil composition, water retention, or nutrient content, you may get your soil tested and change it to fit your requirements.   

7. Garden soil for camellias and azaleas – Azaleas, camellias, and a bunch of other such plants thrive in slightly acidic soil. Get your soil tested at a soil lab and check its pH level. If the pH is within 5.5 to 6.5, you don’t need to make any major alterations. On the other hand, if your soil is neutral or has a pH value higher than 7, you may need to get garden soil with higher concentrations of iron sulfate, aluminum sulfate, and sulfur. This type of garden mix contains coco peat and graded ash to amp up the acidity of the soil. 

8. Garden soil for veggie garden – Anyone with a vegetable garden wants to grow healthy, organic, and nutritious crops that are resilient to diseases and insects. That’s why most brands and gardening stores sell a garden mix specifically for veggie gardens. This kind of mix often has cow manure, dolomite, and coarse sand mixed into it for nourishing the plant and for providing the perfect soil structure.   


Now that you know the differences between topsoil and garden mix you know which one is right for you. If you want topsoil for your lawn or for your garden, you may search for “topsoil near me” and reach out to the nearest gardening supply stores.


You may also like


Comments are closed.

More in Featured