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Some Terminology to Remember When Buying Dirt for Your Property

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Whether it's filling in a trench left over after removing some plumbing pipes or a pit where a swimming pool used to be, or having to add some soil for gardening and planting, you may need to actually shop for dirt for your property. When you do, you might be surprised at the many different types of dirt available. While all that dirt may look alike to you and you may be surprised to find out that there are so many different types available, knowing a few terms and phrases can help you choose the right type for the project at hand. Note a few of those terms here.


This is a general term used to describe any type of dirt that is sold in bulk and which is used to fill in open spaces on your property, or to be used on top of existing soil. Don't assume that this word alone means the dirt is good for your application, but consider what type of dirt it is before you buy.


This type of clean fill dirt is meant to support life and may be rich in nutrients specifically designed for gardens and farms. Because these nutrients may be added to the dirt, topsoil is often very expensive and not meant for simply filling in trenches and pits. Also, it may be very soft so that plants can easily grow through it, which then also makes it a poor choice for construction. That soft composition means it's not strong enough to hold up the weight of any type of building.

Cubic meters

Fill dirt typically isn't measured in terms of weight; truckloads are measured by volume or the space of the dirt, typically in cubic meters. Rather than guessing how much fill dirt you might need, it's good to actually measure the width and length of a pit or trench, multiply these two numbers, and then multiply this by the depth to be filled. This will tell you the cubic meters you'll need to purchase. 


This is fill dirt that is able to be compacted, usually used for construction projects. Its overall moisture and composition allows it to stick together which, in turn, gives it more strength and density. Note, however, that compactable fill dirt is not always actually compacted; you still typically need to compact it with a machine or roller of some sort before pouring concrete or otherwise building over it.