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Question DetailsAsked on 10/24/2017

how much is 150 yards of screened top soil

We have removed 23,000 sq feet of asphalt parking lot to become a green zone. The existing soil is primarily sand.
We want to make the area plantable.

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1 Answer


You will have to get some quotes from Mulch and Topsoil vendors (your Search the List category for this product) - but for probably 10-15 truckloads of topsoil you need to consider how you are spreading this - that is a LOT of wheelbarrow loads, and even if tailgate spread (assuming the truck can even drive on the sand without sinking in or leaving enormous ruts) you will have a LOT of handwork needed to level it - and if keeping the "flat" parking lot surface is VERY hard to make it look good by hand on that large a flat surface.
Ballpark number - probably around $25-40/CY in most areas for screened lawn topsoil delivered but not spread. And you have not addressed the issue of growing the grass - seeding, sodding, or hydromulching - and any preliminary grading if desired (so it is not just a flat greensward, if you want some visual variety). Plus if this will ever be more than just walked on, topsoil over sand is not likely to cut it unless the sand is naturally quite dense (and silty so it stays that way), but in that case drainage is likely to be an issue. Normally, for grass over sand, unless very compact, a layer of common fill (typically 1" minus or 3/4" minus material) would be put down as a base about 2-4 inches thick over the sand - both to support the grass and to prevent rutting, but possibly also to just be able to work on the surface spreading the topsoil without tearing up and rutting the sand. While it can be done with a tracked vehicle direct on sand, if that area is ever driven on (including by people picnicking, tailgating, joyriding, etc) it is likely to rut pretty badly. Also - unless in a pretty constantly damp area, 2 inches of growth medium (unless the sand is "dirty" and will support root growth) is on the marginal side to keep the grass from winter dieoff, and is too thin for dry or hot summer areas - or areas where watering will be needed and water is not cheap or free, because too thin a topsoil lets the water percolate down and drain away (wasted) in the sand unless you control the apoplication very carefully. BTW - you also said nothing about putting in a sprinkler system to water this half acre - might be an idea. Also - protection against people driving on it, doing burnouts on it, etc - fencing or perimeter rocks or wall or high curb or such would commonly be done for this sort of area, especially if immediately adjacent to a parking area or puyblic road. Sounds to me like, since this sounds like a commercial project, you might need some advice and planning from a Landscape Architect or at least a Landscaper. A Landscaping company could also prep the surface, do any fill/compaction that is needed and any recontouring and landscaping (hills/hummocks/decorative features like rock piles, shrubs/ trees etc) as well as doing the topsoiling and seeding - or depending on your area it might turn out some topsoil and root growth medium then sodding would be more effective. Certainly sodding gets you a grassy area quicker, and also is more resistant to immediate foot traffic - otherwise you are probably going to have to fence the area off to keep dogs and people off it for 3 months or more so they do not tear up the new grass - more like 8-9 months in areas with serious winters if you do it now, as opposed to in the spring. You should get some advice on the vegetation type too - if you want lawn conditions and intend to routinely mow it the grass mix (say a bluegrass or zoysia or augustine grass for instance depending on locale) would be different than if you intend to let it go more wild or only mow intermittently, where rye and fescues for instance might be more commonly used. Winter and drought resistance is also a concern in choosing the right grass. BTW - here are links to a couple of other topsoil and seeding questions with answers, FYI - you can find more in the Lawn & Garden - Landscaping Materials link, under Browse Projects, at lower left:

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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