Plain Fill Dirt 101

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  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-50
What You'll Need
Fill dirt
Work gloves

Do big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot sell plain fill dirt? Where can I purchase plain fill dirt? What is the difference between topsoil and fill dirt? If you've got a dog-dug hole in your yard from a four-legged friend, or potholes in your dirt driveway, or you just need to fill in areas of a yard after landscaping, you've probably asked these questions.

Fill dirt is a great way to add stability to your yard and permanently fill holes, and it's usually relatively easy to find.

Fill Dirt at Lowes and Home Depot

Though it does vary from location to location, most Lowes and Home Depot locations do not sell bags of fill dirt. When you only need to fill a small area, you don't want to pay for a whole truckload of dirt, so finding a bag of fill dirt at a home improvement store is tempting.

Give your local store a call and ask if they have bags of fill dirt. Make sure to specify that you are not looking for topsoil. Because bagging the dirt often costs more than the dirt inside the bag, many companies don't sell bags of fill soil.

Some Home Depot and Lowes locations have been reported to sell bags of dirt without the small rocks and gravel that come in fill dirt. In a pinch, you could certainly take one of these bags and add your own small rocks and gravel to make a true fill dirt mixture. Bags of rocks and gravel can also be purchased at a home improvement store.

If you are looking for more than a bag of fill dirt though, you can buy in bulk. Expect to pay around seven to twelve dollars a cubic yard for your dirt—which can add up fast. Truckloads of fill dirt can be purchased through local companies or larger national retailers depending on the area.

a pile of plain dirt

Fill Dirt vs Topsoil

Fill dirt is meant to go in the ground and last a long, long time. Fill dirt is like the normal dirt you would find if you dug up your yard (which may be why you need more fill dirt in the first place). Fill dirt may change in make and consistency based on your area of the country, especially if it is locally packaged. For example, if you live near the rocky mountains, your fill dirt may have more clay in the soil while if you live in the south, your fill dirt may have a more acidic PH balance because of all of the pines.

Topsoil is used in gardening and is a more soft, nutritious soil. It's sometimes used to fill a whole garden box, or is used only in the top half of garden boxes because it is more expensive. Topsoil is light; it washes away easily and packs down when wet. This is why topsoil is not interchangeable with fill dirt. For fill dirt to be effective, it needs to have staying power.

worker shoveling dirt from a wheelbarrow

Other Place to Look for Fill Dirt

Check online. Search craigslist or a local online listing site for dirt listings. You can also call around to local farms or locally-owned hardware stores to see if they carry small bags of fill dirt. If you need larger quantities of fill dirt, call a garden center or a local yard that may be able to put you in though with the right people.

You can also take a cruise around town and stop by construction sites with your own shovel and bucket and ask if they have any extra dirt you can have. This is a great, free way to get the fill dirt that you need — though it will take a little time and effort on your part.

Once you have your fill dirt home and ready to go, make sure you pack it in tight and water it down. Accounting for rain and other natural occurrences with the water will help you fill the holes accurately and save you from having to go out and refill the hole later.