Summary: How much does soil cost, factors to consider when buying soil and average soil prices.
When considering laying a new garden or revitalising the existing plot, it is always a good idea to know the correct soil to use for the plants that will be included in the garden or to be able to analyse the soil you already have. The correct soil will ensure your garden is enriched with healthy flora and vegetation throughout the year.
|Top soil||£45 – £65 (Per tonne)||2019||n/a|
|Organic matter||£55 – £75 (Per tonne)||2019||n/a|
Factors to consider
There are six different types of soil to consider. These are chalky, clay, sandy, peaty, silty and loamy. Chalky soil is an alkaline soil with a pH factor of usually 7.5. It is a free draining soil and consists of a stony texture. Clay soil is a very hard soil when it is dry and it has a lumpy feel and sticky texture to it when it becomes wet. It is a slow draining soil and is quite difficult to tend due to few air pockets and a heavy consistency. Sandy soil is gritty in its texture and it easy to dig over. It is a free draining soil and can become dry quickly. Peaty soil has a high percentage of peat in it and due to its acidity it tends to decompose matter easily; however it does have a smaller quantity of nutrients. Peaty soil does not drain easily. Silty soil drains very well, is smooth in texture, retains its moisture and is high in nutrients. It is easy to tend to but can become quite dense, but not as compact as clay soil. Loamy soil is a good soil to have in the garden as it is by far the easiest to cultivate as it drains well whilst retaining a good amount of moisture; it is packed with nutrients and does not dry out during the hotter weather.
There is a simple test in order to establish the soil type in the garden. Place a handful of the soil in a glass container and fill it with water, stir the mixture and leave it to rest for a couple of hours. When the mixture has settled the results are revealed. If the mixture has settled at the bottom of the container to form a layer and the rest of the water seems clear, then the soil will be of a sandy consistency. If the water is hazy and cloudy with a very thin layer formed at the bottom of the container, then the soil will be of clay consistency. If your results show that there are very few particles settled on the bottom and the water is murky with particles floating and resting on the surface area, then the soil is peaty. If there is a grey colouration to the water with a white layer of grit on the bottom of the container then the soil will be of a chalky consistency. If the water is relatively clear with a layer formed on the bottom of the container and thin elements floating on the top then the results point to a loamy soil.
Costs to consider
The cost of soil is dependent on what type and quality of soil you buy. Top soil usually costs around £50 per tonne. It can be used for laying a lawn and flower beds. For improving the quality of your existing soil in your garden you can choose to buy a high quality blend of topsoil with organic matter to enrich your current soil – this type of soil costs around £60 per tonne. One tonne of soil will generally cover 0.7 cubic meters of ground. It is always wise to take measurements of the area that needs to be covered so as to order the correct quantity. Delivery of soil will usually incur a charge and it is not cost effective to order too little and have to pay again for the delivery of the additional soil.
There are certain factors to consider when buying soil. If possible and to avoid any long-term problems it is wise to check the top soil before you buy it. Check to make sure that the soil is free from weeds, roots and stones. The soil should be consistent with the specifications laid out for British Standard Topsoil (BS3882: 2007), which has stipulations and guidelines for the premium grade, the general purpose grade and the economy grade of soil.
Finally, if considering hiring a gardener to do the job then guidelines on the cost would be from £80 to £130 a day for a skilled gardener – as always, it is wise to hire on recommendation.