Fill Dirt 101

Fill dirt 101

If you think dirt is just a humdrum resource, think again! Fill dirt is a valuable tool in many landscaping and construction projects. If you’re just getting started on a new endeavor, or are interested in doing some upkeep around your house, here’s a helpful guide on a vastly underrated material.


As many gardeners can attest, dirt is a dynamic material. And fill dirt is no exception. Fill dirt is harvested from beneath the top layer of earth, six inches below the nutrient-rich topsoil. From this depth, the dirt does not contain any organic matter, rather small rocks, clay, and sand.

The organic matter found in topsoil is prone to moving, eroding, and decomposing. The material that composes fill allows for stability, keeping structures from shifting.


Identifying quality fill does not require an expert, just a keen eye and a reputable source. The first step in acquiring fill material is making sure you purchase from a licensed vendor. Compromising on a random manufacturer means there is no guarantee it was sourced correctly.

It is also important that you purchase dry fill as wet material could affect the integrity, possibly ruining future projects. Particle size is also an important factor. Rocks, clumps, or other larger fragments can leave pockets that will cause shifting over time.


Construction companies are probably the number one consumer of fill dirt, using it as backfill material for the foundation of new buildings, underground pipes and cables. Additionally, fill is often used as a base material for roads, and proves the most popular material used to even out commercial lots.

Similarly, if a homeowner is looking to level out their residential yard, fill dirt is often used. Fill is also a great landscaping option for folks wanting to build into their yard, creating a raised bed or hill.

Septic systems rely heavily on fill dirt as well. For stability, fill is packed in areas around the tank to keep it safe and reliable.


At a fraction of the cost of other construction and landscaping materials, the amount you’ll pay for fill is its greatest benefit. It is easy to amass any amount of fill for projects big and small while remaining well within budget.

It’s time to get started! If you have any questions, or are curious about how much fill dirt you may need for a current project, give us a call at Tigard Sand and Gravel. We’re here to help!