Topsoil Calculator

By HomeAdvisor

Updated January 20, 2021



Area (in ft.)
Depth (in in.)
*Includes standard 10% waste.

To estimate the amount of soil needed for a landscape bed, you need to measure the length, width, and depth of the garden space that you are looking to fill. No need to guess when you can use a cubic yard calculator for soil to confidently complete your landscaping project. With a simple formula, you can calculate your topsoil needs in yards or tons to save time and money in the process.

On This Page:

  1. How to Estimate Topsoil
    1. Basic Formula
    2. What to Measure
    3. How to Measure Odd-Shaped Areas
  2. Different Types of Topsoil
  3. FAQs

How to Estimate Topsoil

Having enough topsoil in your garden is essential because this vital element has the highest concentration of organic matter and all the nutrients that plants need to survive. The first step to estimate your topsoil needs is to decide on a garden style or planter. With a cubic yard calculator for soil, you can get the right amount of materials needed to keep costs down and complete your project more efficiently.

Basic Formula

Before using our topsoil yard calculator, you need to gather the following measurements from your garden or lawn:

  • Length in feet
  • Width in feet
  • Depth in feet

And this is how we are going to use those numbers. We are going to use this formula :

Length in feet x width in feet x depth in feet.

Once we have the volume, we divide that number by 27, the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard. If you are looking to convert the total into tons, the you have to divide the total volume by 21.6, the number of cubic feet that fits in a ton.

Enter this information into our calculator to compute the volume of topsoil needed for your garden and guide your budgeting and planning.

Get an estimated and get your landscaping ready for planting season.

What to Measure

Start your process by determining the preferred depth of your topsoil layer. Next, measure the length and width of your working area. Enter these values to figure out your square footage and the soil fill calculator will automatically supply the volume of topsoil needed. For your convenience, our topsoil amount calculator makes this information available in cubic yards, cubic feet, and tons.

How to Measure Odd-Shaped Areas

Don’t let your irregularly shaped workspace discourage you from gardening. Get a correct estimate easily by breaking up the area into smaller squares and rectangles. Measure the remaining space at its widest point and add the totals to the topsoil bag calculator, for an effortless estimate of your landscaping needs.

Hire a lawn care professional to help with your home gardening needs.

Different Types of Topsoil

Topsoil consists of decaying organic matter and broken-down rock materials. They type of topsoil needed depends on your geographical location and weather.

Type of Topsoil Characteristics
Sandy Soil Dries fast in sunny weather
Does not hold water very well
Use with mulch to avoid washing away of minerals
Clay Soil Feels sticky and elastic
Impermeable to water
Requires drainage
Rich in ingredients
Loamy Soil Richest in nutrients
Holds water
Great for farming

Find the best topsoil delivery and have it delivered straight to your home.


How deep should topsoil be?

Topsoil can range from very shallow to very deep. Very shallow topsoil measures less than 10 inches in depth, while very deep topsoil is more than 60 inches deep. Plants grow best in deep topsoil, which is 36 inches.

How much does a yard of topsoil cover?

One yard of topsoil covers 324 square feet of soil with a depth of 1 inch, or 100 square feet with a depth of 3 inches.

What is the difference between topsoil and garden soil?

Garden soil is topsoil enriched with compost and organic matter. It is best for sod, seed, gardens and raised beds.

When should I use topsoil in my garden?

Topsoil is ideal for larger projects that require greater soil volume, while garden soil is perfect for planting in flower or vegetable beds.

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