Lawn & Garden Lawn Care

How to Hire the Best Garden Soil Delivery Service Near You

Paying to have quality garden soil delivered to your yard may seem more expensive than simply filling your cart with bags from the home store shelf, but there are good reasons to search “garden soil delivery near me.”
Meghan Wentland Avatar
A mound of topsoil sits on a green lawn.
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It’s a common sight at home improvement stores on spring weekends: dozens of flat carts lined up at checkout piled high with bags of soil, seeds, fertilizer, mulch, and gardening supplies. Spring is the time to start fresh and create new outdoor spaces or restore old ones. But each bag of soil had to be heaved onto the cart and will need to be hefted into a vehicle, hauled out at home, and dragged to the space where it’ll be emptied. The likelihood that many of the people in line have underestimated how much soil and seed they’ll need is pretty high. Many gardeners default to buying bags of garden soil because they assume that garden soil delivery services are too expensive, but when factoring in the labor involved to get bagged topsoil or garden soil home, unpacked, spread, and cleaned up, along with the not-insignificant cost of the soil itself, delivery services start to look much more affordable.

When searching for a garden soil delivery service, it’s important for the customer to know what the end goal is: Filling garden beds? Filling containers? Spreading soil to grow new grass? Filling low spots and holes in the yard? These are all valid reasons to order soil delivery, but simply searching “dirt delivery near me,” “buying dirt near me,” “soil sales near me,” or “cheap topsoil near me” isn’t going to help the customer find the right combination of products. First, garden soil isn’t dirt. Ordering dirt will result in a pile of rocky soil filled with ragged roots, pieces of bark, and all kinds of other debris—bottle caps, glass, plastic, and other trash. Searching for locations to purchase soil or topsoil (or at the very least garden dirt, rather than plain dirt) will result in an endless list of chain home improvement stores. Ideally, the best plan is for a customer to find a company that delivers garden products and is operated by someone who knows what they’re selling and can talk about the different products that may be needed for the customer’s particular situation. Searching for “garden soil delivery near me” can be a good first step for customers to take.

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The Cost to Hire a Garden Soil Delivery Service 

In all reality, garden soil purchased in bulk from a delivery service will likely seem a little more expensive per yard than buying bags, at least at first. That’s because the bags of soil actually contain a shockingly small volume of soil. Most people who have purchased bags and brought them home learn this lesson the hard way when they have to make several repeat trips to purchase more, driving up the total project cost each time. Comparing the cost per yard from a delivery service with the cost of purchasing the same volume of bagged soil is surprising—especially considering that bulk soil is generally better quality than bagged, more aerated, and hasn’t been sitting wrapped in plastic in the rain for months. According to Angi, the average cost of all types of landscaping fill works out to about $750 per project, but much of that cost depends on the type and amount of soil that’s needed. Materials can range between $5 and $150 per cubic yard (specialty materials land at the higher end of this range), and delivery costs average between $65 and $100. Some services charge per delivery, others per hour, so it’s important for customers to check each policy and compare.

Garden Soil Delivery Near Me
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Common Garden Soil Delivery Services

Not all soil is alike. In fact, choosing the wrong type of garden soil can be catastrophic for plants. When customers are considering ordering garden soil delivery, it’s important for them to ask and understand what kinds of soils are offered. Delivery rates will vary by company depending on the size of the load and the distance, and those charges will be added to the cost of the materials themselves.

Topsoil Delivery

Topsoil is a screened soil free of rocks, roots, and debris, and it’s great for dressing the existing soil before grass seed or mulch is spread. It doesn’t have enough nutrients to support larger plants or shrubs, so it should be reserved for other applications. Topsoil prices run between $12 and $55 per cubic yard, according to HomeAdvisor.

Fill Dirt Delivery

Fill dirt is also screened, but not as thoroughly. It may still have small rocks or some organic matter in the mix, and it’s primarily used for filling holes, regrading, and providing a stable base for construction or septic tank installation. Clean fill dirt costs between $8 and $15 per cubic yard, while structural fill dirt runs between $10 and $30 per cubic yard and septic fill dirt costs between $12 and $30 per ton.

Sand Delivery

Sand can be a better choice for areas around water features or septic systems. It’s sold using different units of measure than soil, as weight is a more useful measure. A 50-pound bag will run between $3 and $5, while a ton ranges between $5 and $30. A truckload will cost between $300 and $700. The cost is largely dependent on the type and use of the sand; plain sand and screened sand cost a bit less than salt sand, which can be used as ice melt.

Mulch Delivery

The average cost of mulch is between $30 and $150 per cubic yard, depending on the color and style and sometimes on the volume (larger loads are often discounted per yard). The average mulching project costs about $175, depending on the cost per yard of mulch.

Rock and Stone Delivery

Like sand, rock and stone is also often measured by ton, because the uneven shape of the rocks makes it tricky to accurately measure cubic yards. Costs will vary based on the type of rock, but it generally runs between $15 and $100 per ton including delivery. This works out to be approximately $2 to $120 per cubic yard.

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Do I Need a Garden Soil Delivery Service?

There are quite a few reasons delivery services will improve the experience and the quality of the work involved in adding soil to the yard.

  • First, garden soil delivery is nearly always less expensive than buying pre-bagged soil. Volume discounts and reducing repeat trips to buy more bags is the most obvious reason for this, but consider the fact that garden delivery services usually have a wide variety of custom soil mixes suited to the needs of their local customers. Whether a customer is selecting garden soil, topsoil, clean fill, or a mixture for a particularly damp area in the yard, these services can help choose the correct formulation for the yard and the climate. This saves money in the long run because the plants will grow more bountifully and fully, and gardeners will spend less on additional treatments, fertilizers, and replacement plants when the originals don’t flourish.
  • Hiring one of the best gardening services makes it easier on the body as well. Those who would find it a struggle to lift and load heavy bags of garden material in and out of the car, or those who might not realize it was a struggle until they try to get out of bed the next morning, would benefit from having the materials delivered and placed.
  • Purchasing bulk garden soil reduces the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfill at the end of the project: While there may be a few more truck runs to deliver the materials, bulk soil delivery is a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Finally, purchasing in bulk can reduce the stress of the project. Soil delivery services can deliver the correct amount of soil in one or two trips, while a gardener may need to limit purchases to how much their vehicle can carry or they think they can manage, resulting in repeated trips to the store, interrupting (or halting) progress.
Garden Soil Delivery Near Me
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Garden Soil Delivery Near Me’: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Many people are perfectly capable of picking up bags of soil at the home improvement store or garden center, hauling it home, and spreading it. A garden soil delivery service isn’t absolutely necessary to improve the look and bounty of gardens and yards. For people who aren’t used to the physical labor of gardening, carrying heavy bags can be an actual physical danger, so it’s important to consider the potential injuries. In addition, the professionals who work at garden soil delivery services can help the customer accurately determine how much material is needed for the project, rather than the customer guessing, running out before the project is complete, and then having to decide whether they can stretch what they have or whether it’s worth returning to the store to buy more bags.

Purchased soil, whether in bags or in bulk, comes from a supplier to the companies who bag it or amend and sell it. The origin of the soil supply is unknown to customers when they’re purchasing bagged soil, but delivery services will be able to tell them where the soil came from and stand behind its quality. Also, it’s simply easier to have someone else do this kind of work. Customers will save money on the purchase of the soil itself, so spending a little more for delivery and spreading will help get the job done faster and more professionally than a DIY effort.

How to Find a Reputable Garden Soil Delivery Service

Choosing a reputable company to deliver garden soil is similar to hiring any other contractor. It’s important for a customer to clearly understand the details of the contract and make sure it’s apparent how the contractor itemizes the cost. Because delivery involves machinery and some heavy physical labor, making sure the company is insured and carries workers’ compensation is also a key detail customers will want to ask about.

  • Ask for recommendations. Ask neighbors and local lawn-care or landscaping companies for recommendations, and check online reference sites and social media for well-reviewed companies.
  • Understand the costs. Make sure you know the breakdown of the costs. Does the company charge by cubic yard, by weight, or by truckload? Is delivery included or separate, and how is that calculated?
  • Ask for referrals. Ask about other jobs the company has completed, and ask for and check references.
  • Look into suppliers. Make sure you know who the company’s dirt supplier is and that it’s also reputable.
  • Consider reputation. Check the Better Business Bureau’s website for complaints and their resolutions. How the company resolved the problems is just as important as the kinds of complaints made about them.
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How to Save Money on Hiring a Garden Soil Delivery Service

Customers are already saving money over bagged materials when they choose to hire a soil delivery service, but it never hurts to look for other ways to save.

  • Measure well. Measure the space that needs to be filled so the delivery includes enough soil to complete the job but doesn’t leave a pile of leftovers in the driveway. That’s money spent on product that can’t be used.
  • Split an order. Consider getting a few neighbors together to order a large delivery and share the cost. This way, the group will pay only one shared delivery charge.
  • Settle for lower quality. Does the garden really need that top-of-the-line custom soil blend, or will a standard blend suffice, bearing in mind that it’s already a higher-quality product than most that come in bags? A less expensive soil blend will reduce the per-unit cost. Gardeners who make their own compost soil can amend cheaper soils to enrich them.
  • Use cheaper dirt as a base. Filling up raised beds? Consider adding cheaper or free fill dirt to the bottom before adding the more expensive soil. Old twigs and branches can take up some of the space and will slowly decompose. Some people choose to add empty aluminum cans or plastic bottles to the bottom of their planters to reduce the amount of soil needed and keep the planters lighter.

Questions to Ask Your Local Garden Soil Delivery Service

Garden soil delivery companies are a great resource; their employees know a lot about their product and the landscaping costs and needs in the area. Customers will want to ask questions about the delivery itself, of course, but they can glean a lot of other useful information as well.

  • What kind of soil do you recommend for the project I’m working on?
  • How much should I order?
  • Can you deliver more than one material in the same load, or do I have to pay for delivery twice if I want both sand and topsoil?
  • How do you assess the quality of the soil?
  • What if I am unhappy with the quality once the soil is in place?
  • Does your soil have additives, amendments, or chemicals? Do you offer organic soil?

FAQs

Whether a customer is standing in the aisle at the garden center or home improvement store, or browsing the “menu” at a garden soil delivery service, the options can be overwhelming—there are so many choices to make, and the terminology is often unclear. To make it more difficult, some companies use descriptors interchangeably, so it’s hard to know which selection is best. These are some of the most commonly asked questions about garden soils to help customers make the best decision about what they need to order.

Q. What is the difference between topsoil and garden soil?

Topsoil is literally the topmost layer of soil—as far as scientists are concerned—and sometimes people will advertise “topsoil” on local sale sites in reference to soil they’ve scraped, cut, or dug off the top of their yard. From a gardener’s perspective (and also from the perspective of retailers), topsoil is a rich layer of soil that has been filtered to remove rocks, stones, chunks of bark, and other material that is easily absorbed into that top layer. Because it’s already done so much absorption, topsoil has organic matter throughout from leaves, grasses, and other plant life that has decomposed into the soil. It can sustain plant life, but because it is simply screened soil and not amended with additional nutrients, it won’t be particularly effective in a garden. Garden soil begins as topsoil but is then mixed with compost, peat moss, or other organic material to build the nutrient profile and ensure that plants will have the best chance for success. Some bagged or treated soil has been enriched with fertilizer, weed killer, or other chemicals; in general, it’s best to stay clear of those. Customers can search “topsoil delivery near me” to see which companies offer this service in their area.

Q. What materials can garden soil delivery services transport to my home?

It’s possible that a soil delivery service in your area delivers only soil, but most companies that deliver soil will also transport other materials to the home. Once a company has purchased the correct equipment, it really just makes sense for the dump trucks and loaders to be as busy as they can be to maximize productivity. Most garden centers, home improvement centers, and soil delivery companies can also deliver mulch, fertilizer, sand, rocks, and stone, and sometimes pavers, planters, and tools.

Q.What is the best soil to use for a garden?

There are six descriptors commonly used to describe the composition of garden soil: loamy, silty, sandy, peaty, chalky, and clay. Chances are one of these sounds like what’s already in the garden, because composition varies regionally and most gardens need some amendment before they create an ideal bed for cultivation. The best soil in each garden is based on the composition of the existing yard, as the gardener will want to create balance (so a gardener with a thick clay soil might want to add some sandy soil to loosen it up). As a garden topper, loamy soil is a great option for most gardens, as it is really a combination of sand, silt, and clay, creating a balanced soil with good drainage and nutrient retention. Gardeners can research the best fall gardening tips to protect their soil through the winter in order to start spring with a healthy garden that’s ready for a fresh layer of soil.

Q. How many bags of soil do I need for 1 yard?

First, the customer will need to check how many cubic feet are in the bag. Once they’ve done that, the math is pretty straightforward, unless they’re standing in the aisle at the home improvement store with a cart, at which point it all becomes muddled. Here’s a refresher: (1 yard x 27)/number of cubic feet per bag = number of bags needed. For a quicker reference, for 1 yard of dirt a customer will need:

  • 36 bags, each containing .75 cubic feet
  • 27 bags, each containing 1 cubic foot
  • 22 bags, each containing 1.25 cubic feet
  • 14 bags, each containing 2 cubic feet

Q. Are garden soil delivery services necessary for improving my landscape?

Garden soil delivery isn’t necessary to improve a landscape, and for young, healthy people with appropriate vehicles, picking up bags of soil at the home improvement store and hauling them home, then carrying them to their designated locations and spreading them, is a long but not terribly difficult job. Those who would spend several days after this kind of work popping painkillers and applying muscle pain–relief gel and heating pads will want to consider having someone else do at least part of the heavy lifting—hiring one of the best landscaping companies or soil delivery services to deliver but not spread the soil takes the edge off, and paying someone to deliver and spread the products can make the day a lot easier. For large quantities, delivery may make more sense financially and timewise, as a dump truck can drop yards of soil in the driveway to be spread over time, saving mileage and wear and tear on the car.

Q.Is there a difference between garden soil and potting soil?

While some people use the terms interchangeably, there actually is a difference between these two types of soil. The best potting soil mixes contain nutrients and enrichment suitable for container gardens, and include mulch and vermiculite or some other type of drainage enhancement to reduce the chances that the potted plants will become waterlogged and rot. Garden soil is denser and may be enriched with nutrients, but it isn’t lightened—its primary job is to keep the plants in the ground with the roots firmly in place, so it’s heavier and more likely to clump than other types of soil. There are specialty mixes designed for growing flowers or vegetables that are enhanced with nutrients specific to the type of plants that the soil will support. The best soil for growing vegetables and flowers will depend on where the garden is planted, and the best soil for raised beds won’t necessarily be the best soil for planting directly in the ground.