When Should You Use A Raised Bed Soil Calculator?

By Ann Sanders | Soil Care

Raised Bed Soil Calculator

How much dirt should you use on your raised bed? Making a bed is something simple for most experienced gardeners, but for the beginners, things are not always easy. Raised beds will require some extra effort and enough knowledge on different things, but the soil is always the most important one.

Apart from getting the right topsoil type for the bed, it is also important to make sure that you have enough for the plants. Although what you intend to plant will dictate the right soil amount there is always the minimum amount that you should use for any raised bed. And to determine what this is it is always a good idea to use a raised bed soil calculator.

​So When Should You Use A Soil Calculator?

In many cases, gardeners does not need a calculator to determine the amount of needed soil since most can estimate it just by looking at the size of the bed. Additionally, others prefer to add more soil until they get to the desired level. However, there are some situations which using a calculator is necessary.

​When Starting New Beds

raised bed soil calculator

​Regardless of making a raised bed the first time or not, when starting a new bed, you should use a calculator to determine how much soil you need. The first reason is that getting the right topsoil amount ensures the best start possible for your seeds or seedlings.

The second reason is that the productivity will be increased. With the exact amount of soil, you will not need to stop in the middle of the task to look for more dirt and hence, speed up the job effectively.

​When Buying Topsoil

How Much Does A Yard Of Topsoil Weigh

​Whether you are beginning a new bed or transplanting your seedlings, the chances are that you will need to buy or make your own topsoil. Like any other garden input, topsoil can be quite pricey. With the limited budget, you need to make sure that you buy enough to avoid wastage.

Furthermore, purchasing the soil in bulk is cheaper than buying in small quantities. This is mainly because having everything delivered at once will save on delivery expenses. Apart from saving cash, the soil bed calculator will also save you your precious time since you get everything you need for the bed at once.

​Alternative Method Of Calculating Raised Soil

​Most topsoil retailers will have a raised bed soil calculator on their website to help you determine how much you need for your garden. But, sometimes it is not always possible to use them, or you might not have the time to do it. Luckily, there is still another simple method of calculating the amount of soil that you need, and you only have to follow these straightforward steps.

Raised Bed Soil Calculator

​Step 1: Measure The Bed/Planter Box

Similar to using the raised bed calculator, the first step in determining the required amount of soil will entail measuring it. For this, you will need to determine the width, length, and depth of the planter box. For beds that have irregular shapes, you might need to divide them into sections so that you can get some regular shapes to calculate more easily.

When you intend to make a raised bed on a planter box, it is important to ensure enough space for plants to grow. It is best to deduct about 2 inches from the total depth, and this space might be expanded if you plan to add some rocks at the bottom of the planter for drainage.

​Step 2: Determine The Volume

​Once you have all the measurements in feet, the next step is to calculate the bed volume. For this, you should multiply the length by width by the depth and whatever you get is the volume. For example, if the length is 5 feet, width is 5 feet, and depth is also 5 feet the total volume is 125 cubic feet (5 x 5 x 5). This is the required amount of soil for your raised bed. 125 cubic feet means you will need 12.5 bags of 10 cubic feet each.

Step 3: Determine the Cubic Yards

Since most topsoil retailers will sell their dirt in cubic yards, you still need to make the conversion to determine how much you need before ordering. However, this is just a simple calculation. Divide the volume by 27 (125/27) and you will get the result: about 4.63 cubic yards for your raised bed.

When using the raised bed soil calculator, you will only need to type the dimensions of your bed, and you will get instant results in cubic yards.


A raised bed soil calculator saves you considerable time since it is needless to do any complicated calculations to determine how much soil you need. Although you can always make estimations based on your previous raised beds, it is a good idea to use the calculator.

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Although what you intend to plant will dictate the right soil amount there is always the minimum amount that you should use for any raised bed. And to determine what this is it is always a good idea to use a raised bed soil calculator.

About the Author

With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...