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Typical Landscape Architect's Topsoil Specification

It is important to know how a good quality soil is made.

Manufactured topsoil must be friable. Friable means that the soil will break apart easily in your hand if it is wet or dried out from summer's heat. To achieve the organic content, compost and manure generally has to be 20-25% by volume or the soil mix.

Manures, because they typically have less organic content than compost, would generally require a higher percentage by volume.

The soil mix must be free of roots and stones over ¾ inch.

Total amount of stones shall not exceed .1% in volume of the soil mixture.

Textural qualities of a typical landscape architect's specification

Sand
(0.05 - 2mm)
60-70% in various gradations
Silt
0.002 - 0.05mm)
15-35%
Clay
< 0.002mm)
5-20%
Clay and Silt combined
30-40% (some specifications call for a maximum of 20%)

Sand is what makes the soil friable.

The addition of compost, which holds the moisture, creates a healthy productive soil mix. Organic content is very important and the soil should be made with the volumes of compost or manure noted above.

Less desirable soil mixes

Dirt dug from a bank (the sub soil) tends to be very silty and does not produce good quality topsoil. It also does not meet the specifications of the typical landscape architects specifications for manufactured topsoil if the quantity of silt exceeds the values noted above. To meet specification a significant portion of the soil mix must contain sand particles.

Soil made from a high content of silt and little or no sand will become very mucky when subject to heavy rains prior to the installation. Once installed it tends to dry out and becomes very hard in the summer. Such conditions result in shallow root development and an unhealthy lawn.

Conversely, soil manufactured to specification will provide the conditions for a healthy lawn and one less susceptible to weeds. Manufactured organic soil mixes will darken over time.

A Personalized Approach
Processing Facilities in:
Sackville, N.S.
Rawdon, N.S.
Oxford, N.S.