Updated May 26, 2022
Written by HomeAdvisor.
Topsoil, Dirt and Sand Costs
If you’re getting your landscaping ready for the planting season, you may want to install soil, mulch, rocks, or another decorative stone or paving. The average cost of topsoil, dirt, sand, mulch, or rock delivered to your home is $766, and costs range between $324 and $1,209. Topsoil costs $12 to $55 per cubic yard; fill dirt ranges from $7 to $12 per cubic yard; and sand typically falls between $15 and $40 per cubic yard.
Since most homeowners don’t own the size or type of vehicle that can haul such heavy and large loads, you’ll most likely need to have these materials delivered to your home. Providers often include delivery rates with the price of the product when buying in bulk.
In this article
- Mulch, Sand, and Soil Delivery Cost Calculator
- How to Calculate Your Coverage Needs
- Topsoil Prices
- Fill Dirt Costs
- Cost of Sand
Mulch, Sand & Soil Delivery Cost Calculator
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|Typical Range||$324 - $1,209|
|Low End - High End||$125 - $2,700|
Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 3,384 HomeAdvisor members.
How to Calculate Your Coverage Needs
You have a big project on your hands and want to estimate the costs to prepare a budget, especially if you have a big yard. For example, you may be wondering: how much is a yard of soil? To figure out the answer, you can use the topsoil calculator or follow these steps:
Measure the length and width of the area in feet.
Multiply length and width to obtain square footage.
Multiply the square footage by the depth of topsoil you need in feet. For example, if you need 3 inches of topsoil, multiply your square footage by 1/4 foot to get cubic feet.
Divide the total cubic feet by 27 to get cubic yards.
Example: An area 20-feet long by 10-feet wide with 3 inches of soil: 20 feet x 10 feet = 200 square feet x 0.25 feet of soil = 50 cubic feet / 27 = 1.85 cubic yards
How Much Does a Yard Cover?
With a depth of 1 inch, 1 cubic yard of soil covers 324 square feet. Say you need a deeper layer of soil. You can cover 100 square feet with a depth of 3 inches of topsoil.
How Do You Convert Yards to Tons?
A cubic yard is a measurement by volume. On the other hand, a ton is a measurement by weight. To convert yards to tons, you need to know the density of the topsoil in tons per cubic yard.
Usually, density is measured by pound per cubic foot. You can ask your supplier for the exact density of the type of topsoil you’d like to purchase, or you can use the average figures in the table below. Make sure to check your specific material or product label before purchasing so you’re getting the correct amount. Also, consider that the topsoil will shift and compact naturally, so you may want to purchase 10% more to compensate.
|Topsoil or Material||Average Density (Pound per Cubic Foot)|
|Dirt (loose and dry)||75|
For example, let’s say we have 2 cubic yards of dirt. The density of dirt is an average of 75 pounds per cubic feet.1. Convert the density from pounds per cubic feet to tons per cubic yard by multiplying by 0.0135. If the density is 75 pounds per cubic feet, then:
75 pounds per cubic feet x 0.0135 = 1.10125 tons per cubic yard
2. Multiply the amount of dirt (2 cubic yards in this example) by the density in tons per cubic yard:
2 x 1.10125 = 2.2025 tons.As you can see, 2 cubic yards of dirt is 2.2025 tons if the density is 75 pounds per cubic feet.If you need to convert from tons to cubic yards, do the following:
1. Divide the tons by the density per cubic feet.2.2025/1.10125 = 2.2.2025 tons is 2 cubic yards of dirt if the density is 75 pounds per cubic feet.
Hire a Soil Delivery Pro Today
The cost of dirt and topsoil varies according to the quality of the material and the quantity that you buy. The best prices are for black dirt when purchased by the cubic yard ($15), while the most expensive option is buying soil by the bag ($100 per cubic yard). You may decide to install new topsoil after testing your soil. Expect to pay about $1425 for the cost of soil testing.
Per Cubic Yard
Bulk topsoil costs $12 to $55 per cubic yard, including delivery. Exact rates can depend on the moisture content, type of organic materials, and geographic location.
As with most purchases, you get what you pay for. The quality of dirt you need will depend on your intended use. Some providers may sell fill dirt scraped from construction sites as "bargain topsoil," but it may contain too much debris and not enough organic matter.
Topsoil is one of the major factors in thecost of seeding a lawn,cost of installing sod, andother landscape projects. For these projects, you will need a material with ample organic content to provide nutrients for the plants.
Topsoil by Scoop
Some mulch yards sell topsoil for $6 to $20 per scoop, depending on the amount and quality of the material. A scoop is equal to half a cubic yard, but this may vary by supplier. Homeowners choose to purchase materials by the scoop when they need smaller amounts and have access to a truck or trailer because it's less expensive than buying topsoil by the bag. If you do not have access to a vehicle, you can rent a truck or trailer for an additional cost.
Screened Topsoil Prices
Expect to pay about $20 per cubic yard, depending on consistency. Manufacturers filter screened topsoil through mesh to ensure consistent particle size, which encourages plant growth by evenly dispersing nutrients and water. Homeowners can choose a particle size of 5/8 or 3/4 inches.
Screened black dirt costs about $15 per cubic yard. Delivery charges for orders between 1 and 15 cubic yards run between $75 to $140 per load, not including the material itself.
Screened commercial loam costs about $17 per cubic yard. Super loam, a 50/50 loam and compost blend, costs about $25 per cubic yard. Loam is composed of sand, silt, and clay and contains more nutrients, moisture, and organic matter than other soils. Better drainage, increased water and air retention, and easy tilling make loam the perfect garden soil.
Topsoil Prices by Bag
Bagged topsoil costs $2 to $5 per bag or about $35 to $180 per cubic yard.
Bulk Topsoil vs. Buying by the Bag
If you buy topsoil by the bag instead of in bulk, expect to pay about $100 per cubic yard. Bagged material from local home and garden or big box stores ranges from $2 to $5 per 40-pound bag or $35 to $180 per cubic yard.
|Topsoil (Quantity or Type)||Price|
|By scoop||$6 – $20|
|By bag||$2 – $5|
|Per cubic yard||$12 – $55|
|Screened topsoil||$20 per cubic yard|
|Black dirt||$15 per cubic yard|
|Screened loam||$17 per cubic yard|
Fill Dirt Costs
You may be wondering—how much does dirt cost? First of all, the cost of the fill dirt you need will depend largely on the type of project you’re working on. There are different types of fill dirt, like clean, septic, and structural, so it’s best to figure out the scope of the work first.
Fill dirt runs about $5 to $15 per cubic yard, depending on the type. Fill dirt serves as a base for driveways as well as trench and septic backfill. It’s also a major part of the cost of filling in a pool.
Choose fine, medium, or coarse bank-run fill, also known as gravel, depending on your project. If you’re unsure of which type to choose, consult a local landscaping pro.
Expect to pay between $150 and $450 for a truckload of fill dirt, including delivery. One truck will typically hold 10 to 13 cubic yards of material.
Clean Fill Dirt
Clean fill dirt sells for $8 to $15 per cubic yard. Homeowners should budget $40 to $75 for a typical project requiring 5 cubic yards of fill over 500 square feet (and 3-plus inches deep). This type of dirt costs more because manufacturers screen it to remove contaminants, debris, and organic matter, making it more even-textured.
It's important to note the difference between clean and certified dirt. Certified fill is clean fill that meets certain quality-control standards, ensuring it’s free of foreign organic materials. It comes in a variety of classifications and is best for construction, leveling, or drainage projects. For example, fill dirt is typically a part of the cost to regrade or reslope a lawn; prices vary by classification and supplier but expect it to be more expensive than clean fill.
Structural Fill Dirt
Structural fill dirt is used as a stable base for construction projects and costs $10 to $30 per cubic yard. It’s screened and consists of broken-down rocks, clay, and sand. You can lay down structural fill before building a shed, cabin, or roadway.
Septic Fill Dirt
Septic fill, another type of clean fill, runs from $12 to $30 per ton. Contractors use septic fill, also called manufactured sand or concrete sand, around septic tank installations. Septic fill doesn’t retain moisture, so it won't settle or clump.
|Fill Dirt (Quantity or Type)||Price|
|Per yard||$5 – $15 per cubic yard|
|Per truckload||$150 – $450 (including delivery)|
|Clean fill dirt||$8 – $15 per cubic yard|
|Septic fill dirt||$12 – $30 per ton|
|Structural fill dirt||$10 – $30 per cubic yard|
Cost of Sand
Sand is a better option than fill dirt in damp areas like around septic tanks and ponds because it does a better job of absorbing moisture. Otherwise, fill dirt is a better option for laying down solid foundations.
The price for sand ranges between $5 to $30 per ton, depending on the type. Natural sand will typically cost less than specialty sand. Screened sand costs about $15 to $20 per cubic yard and is suitable as a base for paving projects like driveways. You can also use sand for sandboxes and hardscaping. Salt sand is priced at $40 per cubic yard and works on driveways as ice melt.
A 50-pound bag of all-purpose sand costs $3 to $5 a bag, while a 50-pound bag of commercial-grade sand will cost you $7 to $9. The same size bag of play sand costs $5 to $7.
A truckload of all-purpose sand costs $300 to $700, including delivery. A truckload is usually 10 to 14 cubic yards of sand.
|Sand (Quantity or Type)||Price|
|Sand||$5 – $30 per ton|
|Screened sand||$15 – $20 per cubic yard|
|Salt sand||$40 per cubic yard|
|Per bag||$3 – $9|
|Per truckload||$300 – $700|
Hire a Pro for Your Backyard Material Delivery and Landscaping
Mulch, Rock, & Other Material Delivery Pricing
No matter the material, loads consisting of 1 to 15 cubic yards of fill materials typically cost between $50 and $150 to deliver. Large loads, remote destinations, and difficult-to-access areas will increase delivery charges. In some cases, suppliers include these costs in per-ton or per-cubic-yard price quotes, but you should always double-check with your supplier to be sure.
Nationwide, the cost of mulch ranges from $100 to $300, averaging $175. Mulch helps keep plants moist in dry weather and protects plant roots from pests.
Delivering Rocks, Stones, Gravel, & Riprap
Rocks, stones, riprap, and gravel (including crusher run, crushed limestone, pebbles, rock base, and caliche) range from $15 to $100 per ton or more with delivery included. That's about $20 to $120 per cubic yard.
If delivery fees are separate, estimate double the price per cubic yard. However, some suppliers charge a flat rate or a reduced per-yard fee for large orders.
Clay ranges in price from about $35 to $40 per cubic yard, including delivery. Clay is not suitable for planting, but you can use it for decorative purposes, animal stalls, or tracks and ball fields.
Average Rates for Hauling & Delivery
Dump truck hauling and delivery rates will vary depending on the size of the truck, usually defined by the number of axles. Be aware that some vehicles cannot operate on residential streets.
Some companies that offer soil, mulch, and rock delivery will have a set fee for all items being delivered. If this is the case, figure out how many materials you will need, so you don't have to pay double delivery costs.
Other companies may not have a set delivery fee but will charge by the hour at a rate of $65 to $100. In this case, you will want to be sure your site is ready for quick offloading of materials to save on time and that it’s easily accessible.
Distance to House
If you live far away from the supplier, you may be charged extra for distance. Alternatively, the service provider may charge a gas fee on top of their normal delivery prices. Check before you have your items delivered to see if your location falls within their normal delivery area.
Do you live down a narrow, curving gravel road? Across a wobbly bridge? At the end of a driveway, where a truck can’t turn around?
Limited or difficult accessibility can add to your budget or even make delivery impossible for some companies. If you think your home may fall into the category of difficult accessibility, tell your driver ahead of time. If they arrive at your home and cannot deliver your materials, you may get charged for the trip!
If you want to haul your own materials, you can rent a truck or trailer from a local hardware store or a rental service. You may need a special license to operate certain vehicles.
|Vehicle Type||Rental Cost (Half-Day)||Rental Cost (Full-Day)|
How do I get the best prices on landscaping materials near me?
The challenge with purchasing large amounts of landscaping materials for DIY backyard landscaping projects is minimizing the cost associated with delivery.
If you have a truck and live close to a mulch yard or quarry, you may be able to save time and expense by delivering and unloading the material yourself. However, a landscaping professional will likely be able to save you money by purchasing the materials at their cost and delivering it with their own dump truck.
How deep should topsoil be for a lawn or garden?
For new lawns, you should use 3 to 6 inches of topsoil, depending on the condition of your soil. If your soil has been left alone and somewhat neglected, opt for 6 inches. Additionally, garden beds require 8 inches of topsoil. The best way to incorporate topsoil is to till 2 to 3 inches of topsoil into the existing soil and then place the rest on top.
How should I prepare for a dirt, sand, or mulch delivery?
Prepare for delivery by choosing a location. Typically, delivery companies will bring your bulk bags of topsoil to you using a tail-lift, dump truck, or crane offload. The delivery area should be a flat, hard surface that is easy to access. Make sure that the route from the main roads to the delivery area is all hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt, pavers, or gravel.
Some delivery companies will require a proper delivery area before doing the job. Some will not drive over or deliver onto grass, dirt, or other soft areas. You should also make sure there are no landscaping issues or power lines that could obstruct the delivery.
Make sure that you or someone you trust is available when the delivery truck arrives so you can help troubleshoot any potential issues that may arise.
What’s the difference between fill dirt and topsoil?
There are many differences to consider when comparing fill dirt versus topsoil. Fill dirt is a mix of sand, clay, and rock fragments and is usually the layer found under topsoil. It doesn’t contain any organic matter or fertilizer. It’s more stable than topsoil and is great for filling holes, leveling land, and securing the area around retaining walls.You can buy filtered fill dirt or regular fill dirt—the former can cost more but it won’t contain any debris.
In comparison, topsoil contains organic matter and minerals. It’s nutrient-rich and works well in garden beds, lawns, and other forms of landscaping. It’s usually darker in color than fill dirt and costs more. It’s also less stable than fill dirt as it will settle or erode over time.