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How to Calculate Topsoil in Cubic Yards
Measure the length and width of the area in which you wish to lay a volume of topsoil. Multiply the length by the width to find the area. Convert that square foot area into square yards. Divide the square footage by 9. Determine in inches what soil depth you want on your property. Divide that number by 36, the length of one yard in inches. For example, if you want the soil depth to be 18 inches, divide 18 into 36 to get the result 0.5. Or, if you want the soil to only be 2 inches deep, divide 2 into 36, which yields the quotient .056. Multiply the quotient by the square yardage on your property you want topsoil spread over. This will produce the amount of topsoil that you need in cubic yards.
Topsoil weight can vary greatly due to moisture content. In the dryness of the summer, the weight of a cubic yard of topsoil can drop down to around 1,600 pounds, while in the fall & winter, one cubic yard may weigh well over one ton.
Topsoil Estimating Tips
- Be sure to account for settling, 1/3 of topsoil will settle
- To top dress your existing lawn area, calculate 1″ depth.
- To fill a vegetable garden, calculate 8-12″ depth.
- For new home seed lawn, calculate 4-6″ depth.
- For new home sodded lawn, calculate 3-5″ depth.
- For raised planting, calculate 12-18″ depth.
To calculate odd or complex shapes, split the area into combinations of rectangles, triangles and/or circles. Drawing the site on graph paper is recommended.