Topsoil vs. Fill Dirt vs. Compost

 In Florida, Landscaping, Plants, Products, Uncategorized

Topsoil vs. Fill Dirt Vs. Compost

It’s the age old question of which type of soil is the right type of soil?  Choosing between topsoil, fill dirt, and compost can be confusing.  Compost isn’t even technically soil!  Sure, there are similarities, but what makes them different can literally be a matter of life and death for you plants.  The following infographic explores the differences between topsoil vs. fill dirt vs. compost.  Which one will work best for your project?

When choosing topsoil vs. fill dirt vs. compost…topsoil vs. fill dirt vs. compost infographic, information about topsoi, fill dirt, compost

it’s important to consider a few things.  For example, are you planning to plant in the material?  Do you need to recondition existing soil or topdress a lawn?  Finally, are you going to use the material to fill in a hole or level terrain?  Each of these projects requires a different type of material.  It is essential that you know the difference before making a selection.


Topsoil comes from the top five or so inches of soil.  It is the part of the soil that has the most organic material.  Its organic material and structure make it an ideal growing environment.  Some topsoil is manufactured.  This topsoil is often a combination of compost and other materials that help with drainage and root support.  Still, regardless of whether or not the topsoil is naturally sourced or manufactured, it is an ideal growing environment for a variety of plants.

Fill Dirt

As its name suggest, fill dirt is often used to fill holes, level terrain, and more.  It is not considered a growing medium because it lacks the organic material and structure that plants need to grow strong and healthy.  Most fill dirt has a high amount of clay and sand, which is what makes it ideal for certain projects.


Compost is not soil.  In fact, it lacks the structure needed for plants to build a strong root system.  Instead, compost is considered a soil amendment.  It is decomposed organic matter that is rich in microorganisms and nutrients.  When added to soil, it improves drainage and increases the likelihood that plants will grow a strong root system.  Compost also helps plants naturally resist disease and pests.

Where to Buy

Now that you know more about topsoil vs. fill dirt vs. compost, you need to know where to buy it!  At 1 stop landscape, we carry several types of soil and soil amendments.  However, before you purchase, we always suggest talking to a professional landscaper about your project (unless you are an expert yourself).  For example, you may want to topdress your lawn. COMAND® soil amendment is a good example of a compost that works as a topdress.  So, even though these general guidelines are helpful, your specific needs may vary.

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