Lawn Soil Vs. Topsoil: Is There Any Difference?

Updated/Fact-Chacked on April 23, 2022 by John

What Is Lawn Soil?

Just like topsoil, lawn soil is that which has been enriched to make it better suited for plant growth. The enrichment can be in the form of compost or other organic matter mixture that is meant for specific types of plants.

Healthy lawn soil means a healthy lawn. This implies that any conversation on how to improve your lawn will always start with how to improve the nutrients level of the garden soil. It is important to note that improved plant health can only be achieved through healthy garden soil.

Even though topsoil and lawn soil may look the same to some people there is a difference between lawn soil or garden soil and topsoil.

Lawn Soil Vs. Topsoil: How to Choose

As we have seen, there is a difference between garden soil and topsoil. Generally, topsoil is general-purpose landscape material. It is used for various purposes, including the following;

  • Levelling of low spots in lawns when preparing for the installation of sods
  • Filling the lower layers of raised bed planters
  • To add organic matter to an existing lawn to reduce thatch and increase pest and weed resistance

Lawn soil on the other hand is used by gardeners for the following;

  • To hang flower baskets and window boxes
  • To raise bed planters and container gardens
  • To plant vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and flower gardens

From the foregoing, it is clear that whether you choose to go for lawn soil or topsoil will depend on a number of factors. This is primarily because the two soil types have different uses, even though some uses are common to both.

How to Choose the Right Type of Soil

To settle on the best type of soil for your garden, you need to consider a number of factors;

Conduct Soil Test

Before you settle on either topsoil or garden soil, it is advisable that you first understand the nutrients that your soil is lacking. To know this, you need to perform a soil test that will reveal the deficient nutrients and the level of deficiency as well as the PH of your soil. Given that the apparatus to test soil are expensive, gardeners are advised to use local laboratories that have been established to boost farming for local farmers.

Consider Price Range

The price range can be another guiding factor when choosing between garden soil and topsoil. Typically, high-quality lawn soils are pretty expensive, making it a little hard for gardeners who might have limited resources. Topsoils, on the other hand, are generally cheaper, making them affordable even to an average gardener. To cut the cost, it is always prudent to buy both lawn soil and topsoil and mix them to achieve the desired goal.

The Size of the Garden

The size of your garden is another factor that you have to consider before buying any type of soil. It will significantly dictate the amount of soil you will need to buy. If, after carrying out soil tests, you establish that your soil is lacking some form of ingredients, which you can only get through lawn soil, and yet your garden is too big, then mixing with topsoil is always a better option. This will cut the total costs.

Purpose of the Soil

What do you want to use the soil for? Is it to level your garden or to plant? Your response here will be critical on the type of soil to go for. Note that topsoil is more of a general-purpose soil, while garden soil is meant for the particular needs of your garden.

How to Use Lawn Soil and Topsoil

Whichever type of soil you have settled for, it is generally accepted that you should never replace the entire existing soil in your garden. This can have negative effects on your garden and bring about results opposite of what you expected. If you want to extend your garden or create raised beds, all you need to do is to add a few inches of the soil to the existing soil as opposed to replacing it entirely.

Once you have bought the new soil, till the garden well before adding the soil to the existing soil. Then till it again to mix the new soil with the existing soil before planting.


Deciding the type of soil to add to your garden is a crucial step for every gardener. This requires some form of understanding of the basic principles of gardening, such as knowing the PH value of your garden soil, the kind of nutrients needed, and the budget. It is not always about choosing lawn soil vs. topsoil, as more needs to be understood before deciding which one is needed. This article has provided a comprehensive guide that will help you improve the productivity of your garden.