How to lay topsoil over gravel

Written by marguerite lance
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How to lay topsoil over gravel
Topsoil is the key to a beautiful garden. (garden image by Krzysztof Gebarowski from

Topsoil is the necessary top 2 to 10 inches of soil in any lawn or garden. Without a good layer of topsoil, plants will not grow well, if at all. When you encounter a large area covered with gravel that you want for agricultural use, it is possible to lay topsoil over the gravel and plant a productive garden or healthy lawn. Though the process is labour intensive, you only need basic tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Topsoil
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Sprinkler or hose and hose sprayer
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Determine how much topsoil is necessary for the project. Measure with a tape measure the length and width of the gravel area on which you want to place the topsoil. Decide the desired depth of the garden area--a depth of 4 to 6 inches for a lawn and eight to 10 inches for a vegetable garden is ideal. Multiply the length by the width by the depth--this is the volume of topsoil necessary for the project. For a garden 12 feet long and 12 feet wise, as well as 10 inches deep (approximately .8 of a foot), you would multiply 12 by 12 by .8 to determine that you need 115 cubic feet of topsoil.

  2. 2

    Level and smooth the gravelled area with the rake.

  3. 3

    Shovel the required amount of topsoil onto the gravel.

  4. 4

    Smooth and level the topsoil with the rake.

  5. 5

    Apply water to the new topsoil with the sprinkler or hose and hose sprayer.

Tips and warnings

  • Some experts say it is preferable to remove as much gravel as possible before laying topsoil.
  • It may be desirable to use wood, rocks or cement boundaries around the area to ensure retention of the topsoil.
  • There are a variety of topsoil calculators available online to assist with the necessary calculations.

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