What To Do When You Have Too Much Dirt


I bought too much dirt!

Well, spring has arrived. And as you can tell by the above picture, I may have bought a bit too much top soil (there were some raised beds not pictured, but it was still too much!). I know I can’t be the only person to have made this mistake.

I knew one thing for sure, though. The dirt had to get off my driveway before the next rainfall.

As the storm clouds gathered in the sky, I had to think quickly. And now it’s time for me to pass on my wisdom and let you fine people know what to do when you buy too much dirt.

Ideas To Get Rid of Excess Dirt

Let’s dive in and explore the list of things to do to get rid of your excess dirt:

Post on Craigslist / Facebook

You’ve probably already thought about this one.

However, you might try to unload your excess dirt on Craigslist, LetGo, or Facebook Marketplace. There are many folks in your city that would probably appreciate some free top-soil. So if you have literally no other use for it, why not give it to someone who can use it?

Contact the city

Speaking of people in your own city, you can try contacting the city itself!

Parks and Recreation departments often have projects in the pipe that require additional top soil. If you’re like me and love your city (Lexington, represent!), consider making a call to see if they can use your excess earth.

Sift it on your lawn

The trick is to not add too much soil, especially not enough to bury your grass!

You can quickly and easily add the top-soil to your existing lawn using a drop-spreader. These simple push machines are adept at evenly spreading layers of dirt around your grass. As long as you don’t spread it too thick, no one will even notice!

Your grass may thank you, especially if you purchased quality top-soil.

Not sure what a drop-spreader is? Here’s an example.

Add to compost

If you have a compost bin, you can add your additional dirt to it! However, a word of warning: make sure that the soil is dry before you mix it in. Wet soil can ruin your compost and invite unwanted pests.

You don’t have to add it in all at once, either! I keep a fairly large pile of soil next to my compost heap and add some in anytime my compost mixture becomes unbalanced.

Add a berm

If you want to add a physical barrier between two parts of your lawn, try constructing the excess top-soil into a berm. A word of caution: this takes a lot of excess soil. It’s probable that you don’t have enough for such a task!

Fill in your pots and plant containers

Take a walk around your patio and garden to see if any pots or plant containers could use a refresh. The quality of soil in containers can be reduced over time, so brand new top-soil is often a welcome addition!

However, be sure not to overfill or bury your existing plants. You don’t want to kill your vegetation in the process of using soil.

Level out the low spots in your lawn

If you’re like me, you have plenty of low spots or divots around your lawn. Excess top-soil is a great way to level these spots out. Specifically, look around where pets are known to dig.

Take a walk around your house and look at your fence line and the area next to your foundation. I guarantee you’ll find at least a spot or two that could use some refilling.

Add around trees

Unless your trees are fully mature, the base of their trunks is a great place to offload excess top soil. Not only does this take the dirt off your hands, but the nutrients will mix back into the earth and provide food for your vegetation. It’s a win-win situation for people and plants alike.

I’ll give the same warning here as I did for sifting on your lawn / adding into your plant containers. Be sure not to add enough that could damage the tree. Fresh saplings are especially sensitive to having too much of their trunk covered.

Tarp it

If you still don’t know what to do with the soil, you can always cover it with a tarp and decide later. While tarps aren’t typically weatherproof, they can keep the pile from becoming a complete muddy mess, buying you additional time.

Be sure to weigh down the tarp with rocks, concrete blocks, or other heavy material — place them at each corner at a minimum.

Final Thoughts

Whichever approach you take to eliminate the excess soil you bought, be sure not to get it wet. Not only does it create a complete mucky mess, but it makes the soil drastically heavier. This creates a major problem later on when it comes time to move it.

You might be wondering what I ended up doing. Well, we have a friendly neighbor that loves to garden. I simply walked next door and asked her if she’d like the extra!

Captain

I'm Chuck (the Captain). I'm passionate about my outdoor space and love sharing my experiences with the world at large. I want Captain Patio to become the best place on the internet to find, share, and learn about all things patio-related. When I'm not keeping up my content schedule, I'm spending time with my wife and two kids (usually on my patio!).

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