How to Choose the Best Soil for Your Landscape Project

Last Updated on October 21, 2020 by Kimberly Crawford

Most people who want to landscape their yards just start digging holes and putting in the necessary items for their landscaping project and end up with a patch of dirt.

This is not the way to do things and if you don’t learn to do things properly you will find that you must work very hard to keep your yard looking good.

Landscaping is an activity that requires the right soil, so you will need to learn how to choose the best. The more you know about how to pick the right type of soil for your landscape project the easier it will be.

Why Choose the Right Soil?

The success of your landscape gardening project relies a lot on your chosen soil. The soil you have is where your vegetables, trees, or shrubs cling to. It also provides plants with the proper support and nutrients needed to survive and thrive in the coming years. Thus, it’s important to choose the right soil for your landscape gardening project. 

The general rule of thumb when it comes to gardening soils is that it should be well draining. Garden experts recommend choosing soil that is a blend of clay, sand, silt, and organic matter. Healthy soil that’s great for growing plants contains a significant amount of organic matter. This kind of soil has a dark color and earthy, moist smell. 

Soils that need amendments are lightly colored and either very loose or sticky. Henry Parker discusses one option to amend soil aside from traditional peat moss or coco peat in his article. Although sandy and clay soil have their own benefits, they’re not recommended for use as an all-round soil. 

Choosing Soil for Your Project

Choosing Soil for Your Project

There are several different types of soil you can choose from. They come in a variety of textures, colors, and forms. Some of the common forms are clay, silt loam, sand, loamy, peat moss, and decomposed organic matter. Each of these has different properties that you will need to consider when choosing your soil. 

Here are some pointers to think about.

Working with Clay Soil

Clay is very heavy, so that you need to make sure that your landscaping project is built on flat ground and not sloped. It also requires that the ground is at least six feet above the grade.

Using Silt Loam

Silt loam is usually created by sifting together a combination of clay and sandy soil. It is very water-absorbing but also very porous, so it will hold water well. Sand or loam can be mixed with soil to create a loose mulch.

It holds water well, but it will crack under pressure. If your soil is composed primarily of loam, then you will want to avoid using this material because it will not hold much moisture and will deteriorate quickly.

Soft Clay Characteristics

Soft clay soil is made by mixing silt and clay and mixing it with some water. It is very moist and will hold much water. It will also need to be watered more than sandy soils because it will break down easily and will not hold water very long.

However, it is very porous, which means that you can use it in any area in your yard and you do not need to worry about cracking as it does not absorb moisture very well.

Decomposed Organic Matter

Decomposed organic matter, such as peat moss, is very moist. However, it does not hold water very long. When you put this in your garden you need to keep in mind that you will have to water it regularly or it will become too wet. You should only use this type of soil in your yard is not very rocky because the rocks will affect how well it holds water, and it will crack.

Decomposed organic matter, such as worm castings, are used to fill in areas that are too rocky or compacted for the type of soil you are using. For example, you would use peat moss in an area that has been compacted to such a degree that it cannot hold water.

Know Your Plants

Another good idea when you are choosing your soil is to know what kind of plants you will be planting. You might want to select your landscape project based on the kind of grasses that grow in the area.

They can be planted next to one another or different kinds can be grown together depending on what you like better. If you have hardier plants, you may want to plant them close to each other and allow them to compete for the same amount of sunlight so that you can enjoy all the shade that they offer.

As mentioned earlier, there are several different types of plants that can thrive in different types of soil. For example, some plants will flourish in sandy soil while others will grow in clay. So, you can choose the type of soil based on the kind of plants you wish to grow and the space you have available for growing them.

Benefits of Landscape Gardening

landscape project

The advantages of landscape gardening are numerous. For example, the aesthetics of a well-managed landscape are something that most people are happy to share with others.

Another benefit of landscape gardening is that it allows us to be more self-sufficient. This will allow you to make money at the same time as helping the environment. Most buyers today look for an attractive landscaped yard. Thus, a well-managed garden is one of the best things you can do for the property.

Another benefit of having landscape gardening is the fact that you can make use of the lawn or gardens as a recreational area. You don’t even have to be a gardener to maintain a well-maintained garden. You don’t have to have an extra budget for maintenance fees because you only have to maintain the yard and plants you’ve purchased.

Another benefit of a well-managed garden is that you can get creative and enhance the beauty of the yard. Landscape gardens are a great place to play and make friends with the neighborhood. These gardens also provide shade for the property, so you can relax on a cool day without worrying about overheating.

Final Thoughts

how to choose best soil for landscape project

Whether you’re hiring a professional or doing the landscape project yourself, the benefits of having a garden are endless. If you plan to include some plants into your landscape project, choosing the appropriate soil is crucial. If you haven’t thought of any benefits for your property, you need to consider them now. Aside from the physical benefits mentioned above, there are also environmental benefits. Plus, your lawn and garden will add curb appeal and attract a great deal of attention from passersby.