Cheap Topsoil/Fill??

Anyone know of any companies that sell GOOD and cheap bagged topsoil/fill?? Almost everyone near me has the "Scotts Premium Topsoil" for around $2 bucks a bag, but the stuff is crap!! I bought some last year, and when I opened the bag, it wasn't even dirt/soil, or was more like all mulch and peat!!! TONS of sticks and mulch in there, even though the bag says "contains no sticks", the stuff is junk!!
Home Depot sells some generic topsoil for about $1.50 a bag, but that stuff sucks as well. The dirt is always wet, and smelly, and loaded with debris like ieces of plastic, rocks, etc, etc. Same with the "Ace Hardware" topsoil which is about $3 bucks a bag, the stuff is wet, smelly, and loaded with debris.
The "Garden Centers" near me have good brands like organic "Fosters", "Fafard", "Moo Moo Dirt" and "Lobster Compost", the problem is they are like $5 - $8 bucks per bag!!
In my yard, the former owners, many years ago had a very long flower bed on the side of the house. When we moved in, there were no flowers there. It is all grass now. The problem is, there is a big long deep rut there now where the flower bed was. The ditch/rut is about 30 feet LONG, 2-3 feet WIDE, and about 1-2 feet DEEP.
We want to fill this in, because when it rains the rut fills with water. When you mow the lawn there, the mower scalps the grass on the sides of the rut/ditch. I know the best way to fill this in, would be to just call a landscaping company and have a truck full of topsoil/loam dumped.
The problem is, I have a small driveway with 3 cars parked in it, and a small front yard with a busy public sidewalk with people and kids walking by all day because of an elementary school down the street. I don't think the city would be happy with a big pile of dirt dumped on the public City sidewalk. So unfortunately, looks like the only way to ever fix this myself ( without paying landscapers to use a wheelbarrow to move the soil from their truck parked in the street to the ditch/rut, is to buy bagged topsoil.
I don't want to use the crappy $2 dollar a bag "Scotts" which is like 85% mulch and peat moss, but also don't want to spend like $7 bucks a bag for the organic stuff at the Garden Center. Should I just use the cheap $1.50 stuff at Home Depot to fill the ditch/rut, and then just spread a few bags of the good organic stuff on the top??
Because this thing being 30 feet long, 2-3 feet wide, and 1-2 feet deep, I probably need like 50 bags of topsoil!?
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On Tue, 9 Apr 2013 11:20:24 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

You'll need a whole lot more than 50 bags to fill that thing... you'd do best to have a truckload of bulk topsoil delivered... you'll need 4-5 cubic yards. Have the soil dumped in your driveway up near the garage door and then park one car on your lawn until you move all the soil with a wheelbarrow. Sometimes the delivery can be made with a small dump truck so perhaps it can be dumped directly. Another consideration is that you don't need good topsoil two feet deep, fill the trench most of the way with ordinay bank run and then after it settles lay on 6-8 inches of good topsoil, will cost less that way, and actually be a better job. But there is no good cheap way, you get what you pay for, and the cheap turns out expensive.
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Thanks for all the great answers. Yeah, this looks to be a BIG job. The old guy who lived in the house before us had hardly any grass at all. From what I understand from neighbors, is that he had a HUGE vegetable garden in the backyard, and flowers all on the side of the house, and in the front yard. Neighbors said that the whole front yard was ALL entirely flowers, no grass!! He hardly had any grass at all. When he passed away, no one cared for the flowers, and grass and weeds grew everywhere.
One of the neighbors said that on the property line with the next door neighbor, instead of putting up a fence like most people, he had a flower bed that ran down about 50 - 60 feet on the side of the house that seperated the 2 yards.
So this is the reason why there is now a long rut there. I guess he filled in about 30 feet of the rut though, because he planted "Rose Of Sharon" bushes on the property line when he was getting older and couldn't take care of so many flowers. The neighbors said he had about 2 or 3 truckloads of "loam" delivered to the yard.
I'm just wondering, why did he make the flower bed so deep!? It's not just 30 feet long, and 1-2 feet wide, but deep as well, about 1-2 feet!! I assume he must have dug out all the soil, and probably used it for his garden in the backyard??
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On Tue, 9 Apr 2013 22:18:41 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

I have no way of knowing of course, but that sounds more like a trench left from a sewer pipe repair or something similar.
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Just to get an accurate measurement, I went out there today with a tape measure, and measured the entire rut in the lawn, and boy was I WAY OFF!!!!!!! The rut is about 40 feet long, not 30 feet long. It is 3 feet wide, not 2 feet wide. And it is roughly about 4 inches deep, not 1-2 feet deep. The depth varies in differnt spots. In one spot it was about 3 inches deeper than the rest of the lawn. In another spot it was 3 and 1/2 inches deeper. In another spot it was 4 inches deeper than the rest of the lawn. So the entire rut is about 3-4 inches deep.
The reason I originally said it was 1-2 feet deep is because that's how deep it feels when your standing in it!!!!
But using a tape measure, the more accurate measurement is actually 40 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3-4 inches deep.
Is this still impossible and too expensive to fill with bags of topsoil bought at retail?
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

What cost is "too expensive"?
Your ditch is about (40 x 3 x 1/3) 40 cubic ft. What is the volume of a bag? I don't know what size bags are offered (the label will probably tell you if you look ) if you don't have one phone the supplier and ask.
Do the sums, that is divide 40 by the number of cubic ft per bag. What will this number of bags cost you? Hint: take the number of bags and multipliy by the cost per bag. How will you get them home? Take the total number of bags and divide by the number that will fit in your car to work out how many trips.
After this you will have some facts. Then ask yourself is it too expensive for you.
D
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Well I know that the generic, debris-filled cheap $1.50 topsoil bag at Home Depot is 40 pounds. The "Scotts: Premium" topsoil is $1.98 and comes in a 30 pound bag. All the bags of "Organic" topsoil run anywhere from $5 dollars to $7 dollars a bag at my local garden center, and they all come in 40 pound bags as well.
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

The weight of soil per cubic foot varies with its content, moisture and compactness. Picking a typical figure say 80lbs per cuft. So your bags are about half a cuft each. So you need about 80 bags which will cost about $150-500 (depending on which one you buy) and weigh about 3200lbs, which is looking like quite a lot of trips in the family car. Perhaps try asking a local landscape supplier what the price of 2 cubic yards (a little more than you need) delivered would be. It may not be cheaper for a small quantity like that but it may be more practical. Consider how close the delivery truck (or your car ) can get to the site as you will have to carry or barrow it the rest of the way.
D
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I see what your saying. Because yeah, the $1.49 stuff at Home Depot is usually all wet, heavy, and smelly, loaded with debris and rocks. The "Scotts: Premium" is mostly all peat moss and mulch, and the organic topsoil at the garden center is usually light and fluffy even though it's in a "40 pound" bag.
I can probably only get 5 bags at a time in the car, so yes, that is ALOT of trips to the store in the family car!!! I will have to call around some landscapers and get some prices of having a truck load of soil delivered.
Thanks!
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

A landscaper will charge you double... there are people who sell just bulk soil, sand, stone, mulch, etc... check your yellow pages.
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Me, I'd till it up, including about a 10 ft strip on either side, rake it flat, and call it good, after verifying what's in trench... because it sounds very much like a utility trench.
http://www.call811.com /
You've got about 15 cu yards if you want to fill it. Most bags of topsoil are in the vicinity of 0.75 cu ft, so you'd need about 535 bags. Is the dump truck option sounding any better?
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How does one confuse a few inch depth with a few feet???

I see no point in tilling that trench... all that will accomplish is to fluff the soil giving a false impression of how much fill is needed, then when it all settles there'll still be a trench albiet a bit shallower... the top soil delivered will be fluffy enough, be sure to mound it a couple inches higher than the surrounding level as it will settle and compact.

Fifteen cu yds is a huge truckful... it's rare a top soil seller will have a truck that size, typically a 10 cu yd dump truck is as large as they go, typically they use 5 cu yd dump trucks... larger excavating companys may have 20 cu yd dump trucks.
I think your math is way off.
Assuming 1' deep: 40' X 3' = 120 cu ft... divided by 27 cuft = 4.4 cu yds. Assuming a 6" depth you'd need 2.2 cu yds of soil to generously fill that trench. Still way too much soil to fill with bags... this is definitely a bulk delivery project. I'd order 3-4 cu yds just to be sure and to allow for settling and over spreading... top soil is delivered fluffy, not compacted... and a home owner can always find use for extra topsoil... it's cheaper to order more than to need another small delivery. And typically bulk delivery gives a discount for more cu yds because it's the same trip... running the truck and the time is more valuable than the soil. This is a 20 cu yd dump truck, monsterous:
http://i49.tinypic.com/2qjvl1e.jpg
Repairing my creek with rip rap due to erosion from hurricane flooding:
http://i45.tinypic.com/2nuhph1.jpg
Was an expensive project but well worth doing, was 2007, and has held well through several floods:
http://i50.tinypic.com/15rjyiv.jpg
Plants grew back and can barely see any rock (2010):
http://i47.tinypic.com/28i243b.jpg
Creek is in there (2011):
http://i50.tinypic.com/2s6r1w0.jpg
http://i47.tinypic.com/ksv2d.jpg
Still the creek overflows its banks during heavy down pours but the rip rap holds well:
http://i48.tinypic.com/wk5n4h.jpg
I've had lots of excavating projects that required loads of topsoil, bank run, shale, gravel, etc.
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

According to your dimensions the bed needs between 2 and 7 cubic yards of soil. Firstly measure it accurately so you know which it is and then abandon the idea of bags. How were you going to transport these 50 (or more) bags, 5 at a time in the boot of the car?
Save yourself a lot of wasted effort (and possibly money too) and get it delivered in bulk. Depending on access you may be able to get it dumped straight into the bed. Any good bulk landscaping supply will give you a quote including delivery and be happy for you to choose which heap it comes from. For good quality soil it is likely to be cheaper this way.
David
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Call a landscaping business. Tell them how much top soil you need. They will deliver it in a truck, and dump it in the trench, or where it is accessible for them. Topsoil in bulk, will be cheaper than topsoil in a bag.
--
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On 4/9/13 8:20 AM, MICHELLE H. wrote:

Try a building supply yard. This would be a business that sells sand, gravel, etc in bulk, by the skipload. Many of them have topsoil of varying quality. You can often go to the large outdoor bin where it is stored and examine it.
Bulk materials like this are sold in the U.S. by cubic yards. You will need 6-7 yards. Have it delivered. They will dump it in your driveway in front. You will need a wheelbarrow to move it.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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Make that a landscaping supply yard, and your chances will improve dramatically.
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<http://www.rachelcorrie.org/
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