How Much Does A Yard Of Dirt (Topsoil) Weigh?

Many homeowners dream of creating a beautiful yard or starting a lush food garden, but they don’t always have the best soil for the job. If your yard doesn’t have the proper nutrients available in the dirt, adding topsoil or garden soil to whip it into shape is often a must. But if you need to bring all that lush dirt home yourself – and you need a lot of it – you might wonder, “How much does a yard of topsoil weigh?”

Generally, a yard of dirt weighs between 1,500 and 3,000 pounds. The reason for such a large range is that the composition of the soil can vary. Additionally, differences in moisture levels play a role, as well as how compact the dirt is when it’s measured out.

To put it simply, a yard of topsoil is heavy, but you’re also getting a lot of volume. If you’re trying to figure out if a yard of soil is needed for your project and if you can reasonably transport the amount of soil you require, here’s what you should know.

What Is a Yard of Dirt?

When you’re talking about a yard of soil, what that refers to is a cubic yard, which denotes a specific volume. A cubic yard is represented by a square that is 1 yard high, 1 yard wide, and 1 yard deep. Since every yard is 3 feet long, that means that square also measures out to 3 feet high, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet deep, which is 27 cubic feet.

When a yard of topsoil is sold, it isn’t a packaged cube. Instead, the supplier makes sure that the right total volume is present. By adjusting the height, weight, and depth measurements, you can still get a volume of 1 cubic yard.

For example, a rectangle 1 foot high, 9 feet wide, and 3 feet deep is also 27 cubic feet in volume. That’s equal to one yard of dirt, even though the shape is different.

How Much Does a Yard of Dirt Weigh?

A yard of soil typically weighs between 1,500 and 3,000 pounds. The reason the weight isn’t exact for that volume is multiple factors may impact the weight. Moisture content can make a significant difference, as well as the composition of the topsoil and how compact it is when measured.

When converted to tons, a yard of soil weighs between .75 and 1.5 tons. Again, the exact weight depends on factors like moisture content, composition, and compactness.

What Impacts How Much a Yard of Topsoil Weighs?

If you need to estimate how much a yard of soil will weigh before arranging for transportation, it’s critical to examine the factors that can cause weight variances. Here’s a closer look at the factors that impact how much a yard of topsoil weighs.

Moisture

Moisture content is one of the most significant factors when it comes to weight variances for topsoil. When wet, a cubic yard of topsoil may weigh double what it would when dry. For instance, a cubic yard of dry soil could weigh 1,500 pounds, while a cubic yard of wet dirt could be as heavy as 3,000 pounds.

Mainly, the weight difference occurs because the water binds with the dirt, which is surprisingly heavy. Generally, a cubic foot of water weighs about 62.41 pounds. Comparatively, a cubic foot of completely dry soil may weigh approximately 55.56 pounds.

Additionally, wet soil gets compressed by the weight of the water. Since it’s more compact, you can fit more dirt into a cubic yard, leading to a higher total weight.

Composition

When people purchase topsoil, they don’t typically think about how the composition impacts weight. However, dirt isn’t made of just one thing. Instead, multiple components are involved, and the percentage of each can alter the total weight.

For example, clay topsoil weighs less than sandy topsoil. High organic content is also heavier than soils with less organic content. And as mentioned previously, wet topsoil weighs more than dry due to the weight of the water.

Compactness

Since a cubic yard is a volume measurement, compacting the soil can increase the amount of dirt in the yard. Essentially, compacting it – such as by squishing it down before the volume is measured – removes any empty spaces that are only holding air.

Essentially, more compacted topsoil contains more dirt and less air. As a result, it’s heavier than non-compacted (or loose) topsoil of the same volume.

How Much Does 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 Yards of Topsoil Weigh?

 Yards Pounds Tons 2 3,000 to 6,000 1.5 to 3 3 4,500 to 9,000 2.25 to 4.5 4 6,000 to 12,000 3 to 6 5 7,500 to 15,000 3.75 to 7.5 10 15,000 to 30,000 7.5 to 15 15 22,500 to 45,000 11.25 to 22.5

What Does a Cubic Yard of Topsoil Look Like?

As mentioned above, a cubic yard is a volume measurement equal to a cube that’s 1 yard high, 1 yard wide, and 1 yard deep. Essentially, that’s the same as a 9 x 9 room in a house with 9-foot ceilings.

How Many Wheelbarrows of Dirt Are in a Yard?

How many wheelbarrow loads are in a yard of soil depends largely on the size of the wheelbarrow. A full-sized wheelbarrow can carry about 3 cubic feet. In that case, there would be 9 wheelbarrow loads per yard.

However, if a wheelbarrow only carries 2 cubic feet, then there are about 14 loads in a yard. Additionally, those estimates rely on filling the wheelbarrow to its full capacity. If that doesn’t occur, it will take more trips with the wheelbarrow to relocate all of the topsoil.

How Much Does a Cubic Foot of Dirt Weigh?

How much a cubic foot of dirt weighs varies depending on the composition, moisture content, and compactness of the soil. However, it typically falls in the 55-to-111-pound range.

Usually, wet topsoil is more likely to be at the top end of the range, as the presence of water and the fact that wet soil is more compact makes the dirt significantly heavier. Dry soil with lighter elements, such as more clay or less organic matter, is typically closer to the lighter end of the range.

How Many 40lb Bags of Topsoil in a Yard?

The number of 40lb bags of topsoil in a yard also varies based on moisture content, compactness, and composition. However, most 40lb bags are meant to cover approximately 0.75 cubic feet. Based on that, it would likely take 36 bags to equal one yard of soil.

However, not all 40lb bags are designed to cover 0.75 cubic feet. As a result, it’s critical to review any packaging to see how much coverage the bag offers. Then, divide the 27 cubic feet in a yard by the number of cubic feet of coverage the bag provides, and that lets you know how many bags you’ll need.

How Many Yards Is in a Ton of Dirt?

A US ton is equal to 2,000 pounds. Based on that, a ton of dirt may equal one yard. However, for dry topsoil with lighter components – such as more clay and less organic material – a ton of soil may equal more than one yard.

There are also situations where a ton of dirt is less than one yard. For example, with wet top soil with heavier components – such as higher sand content and more organic material – a yard might weigh 3,000 pounds, which is 1.5 tons. If you only get 1 ton, you’re purchasing 2/3 of a yard in that case.

How Many Yards Is in a Ton of Dirt?

A ton of dirt is typically close to 1 yard, depending on factors like moisture content, composition, and compactness. For dry topsoil with lighter components, a ton may be closer to 1.33 yards. For wet soil with heavier elements, a ton might work out to .67 yards.

Can a Pickup Truck Bed Hold a Yard of Topsoil?

A pickup truck bed can usually hold 1 to 2 cubic yards of topsoil if you’re looking solely at the volume. For 2 yards, you’d usually need a full-size pickup truck. If you have a smaller truck, the limit may be closer to 1 yard if you’re looking solely at volume.

The issue is that you can’t look at volume alone; you also have to consider the weight limits. For example, if you’re wondering, “How many yards of dirt can a 1-ton truck carry?” the limit isn’t based on the fact that it’s labeled a “1-ton” truck. Instead, it’s determined by the maximum payload for the vehicle.

Generally, the only way to know if a pickup truck bed can handle a yard of topsoil is to look at its payload capacity. Then, make sure that the weight of the yard of dirt (along with anything else in the vehicle, including the driver, passengers, and any stored item) doesn’t cause it to exceed its maximum payload. If it doesn’t, you can carry the yard of soil safely. If it does, choosing another transportation option is usually best.

How to Calculate How Much Topsoil You Need

Generally, you can calculate the amount of topsoil you need by getting the width and length (in feet) of the space you want to cover. Then, multiply those to get the area. After that, multiply that figure by the desired depth of the new soil. Take that number and divide it by 27 to estimate the number of cubic yards of dirt you need.

How Big of an Area Will a Yard of Topsoil Cover?

How large an area a yard of topsoil will cover varies depending on your desired depth. If you need a depth of 3 inches, you’ll usually get around 108 square feet. At a 4-inch depth, it’s closer to 81 square feet. For a depth of 1 foot, you can cover 27 square feet.

Conclusion

Overall, a yard of dirt usually weighs something in the range of 1,500 to 3,000 pounds, depending on factors like composition, moisture, and compactness. Often, it’s possible to transport a yard of soil in a truck bed. However, it’s critical to calculate precisely how much dirt you need for your project before you worry about transportation, allowing you to choose an appropriate vehicle or delivery method.

Did you learn everything you wanted to know about how much a yard of soil weighs? If so, let us know in the comments. Also, if you know someone asking, “How much does a yard of topsoil weigh?” make sure to share the article.