best tool to remove topsoil

Best Tool to Remove Topsoil

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If you are planning on removing some topsoil from your garden then you will want to be using the best tools possible, but what is the best too to remove topsoil?

best tool to remove topsoil
best tool to remove topsoil

Hard Graft

The simplest, and best, way to remove topsoil is the good old fashioned spade. You don’t need to get fancy here and a spade and some hard work will get your topsoil shifted in no time.

You will also probably want a wheelbarrow to move the topsoil to wherever it is going.

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03/01/2024 03:39 pm GMT


If the soil is really hard or full of clay then you may find it useful to break it up before you begin by using a rotavator. You can hire a rotavator from most tool hire shops, alternatively, you will find cheaper electric models online for under £100.

The rotavator will break up all of the soil and make it easier to dig, you will still need to dig though.

One thing to bear in mind if you are planning on using a rotavator is that it will churn up the ground below your dig level unless you miraculously get the depth spot on.

If you are planning on using this new area for planting then this won’t be a problem and will actually help the soil out by reducing the compaction.

If though you are digging out to do some hardscaping like putting a patio down then this is not ideal. The soil will sink and move unpredictably over time so you will need to compact it back down before laying anything on top of it.

Mini Digger

If you have a large area to dig out then a mini digger will be your best bet. I would recommend looking for a local groundworker to hire for this, these are serious tools and not something you should just hop on and start using.

You will also need to be aware of any sewers, pipes and cables that may run under your soil. The last thing you want to do is hit any of the three!

Removing Lawn

If you need to take the lawn up before you even get to the topsoil then here is my tried and tested method. I like to use a garden spade and slice it down to make a cut, I do this twice, to mark out a strip down the lawn the width of the spade.

You can then come in from the side with the spade just a couple of inches under the grass. You should start slicing the turf away from the topsoil this way.

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