Where to buy good garden soil in and around Edinburgh
Just about every landscaping or gardening project depends on topsoil. Soil to sculpt and shape, soil to level the surface; soil to fill planters, beds and borders; soil to nurture and grow plants.
But where to find the right quality of soil, this is the question.
In a city like Edinburgh, much of the soil has been buried beneath pavements, roads and buildings. But you are lucky. The parks, gardens and green spaces that make Edinburgh so beautiful were founded on beautiful soil that has been improved over the decades by dedicated horticulturists. In most of the city, the natural soil is a well-drained brown soil formed from carboniferous sandstones, shales and limestones. With a bit of added organic matter, this can grow almost anything, including lawns, vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Beautiful soil like this wll grow almost anything - and it's worth doing your research to make sure you're buying the best. After all, the soil in your garden will be there for a long time, and once it's there - it's there. It can take decades to change or improve it. Choose wisely!
Of course, if you want some good quality soil for a gardening project, the one thing you can’t do is dig it up from somewhere. That could upset the environment – not to mention the landowner. You need to find a reputable supplier of good quality topsoil. Not builders’ rubble, not subsoil, not anything that has been sourced unethically. Those just won’t do. This soil will be in your garden for a long long time and it won’t be easy to change it. Invest wisely.
How to tell good topsoil from bad
Don’t judge by the price – that’s no indication at all. A big proportion of the price will be down to delivery, so the more local the supplier, the more cost effective the soil should be.
Ask for screened topsoil. Screened means it’s been passed through a giant sieve. Screened topsoil doesn’t contain rocks, bricks, twigs or any big bits of debris. You won’t be paying for heavy items that are no use to you.
What colour is it? If you can, try to see a sample first. That’s the beauty of buying locally, you should be able to visit the yard and depot and see the soil with your own eyes. If it looks grey and dull, chances are it’s not going to be very useful for growing plants in. As a rule of thumb, the darker the colour, the more organic matter it contains. Organic matter adds substance to soil. It helps it to retain moisture, it usually has lots of natural plant food in it and it will encourage beneficial beasties (like worms and beetles) into your garden.
What sort of texture does it have? Personally I like a nice friable soil to work with in my garden. It’s not too soggy but not too dry either. Plus, the digging is easier (clay soil is awful to work with when it’s heavy and sandy soil isn’t great at holding water so needs good irrigation)
Bagged or bulk? This makes no difference to quality but bagged topsoil is far easier to manage, you don’t need to buy more than you want and there’s less mess on the driveway. Plus you get to keep the bag to fill with whatever you want. (I use mine to store firewood)
How does it smell? Good topsoil has a faint, earthy smell. It’s not at all unpleasant – at least I don’t think it is. It shouldn’t smell of rotting anything and it definitely should not smell of chemicals. If there’s a nasty pong – don’t buy it. Even well-rotted manure (marvellous stuff!) doesn’t smell nasty.
Where to find a reputable supplier in Edinburgh
These days, the internet is your best friend when it comes to sourcing – well – anything. You can read reviews to find out how other people get on with suppliers and products. You may even be able to order online.
Stewarts Turf in Edinburgh have a ready supply of bagged topsoil and can help you to find bulk soil if you prefer it. Eleanor and David understand soil. Tell them what you need and they’ll find the best prices and the best quality for you. They’ll also arrange delivery.
You can read about some of the topsoil on offer from Stewarts Turf here
Order bagged topsoil online: grades, prices and availability on bagged soils and mulches
Contact Stewarts Turf: Contact details plus a map of where to find us