What Is Fill Dirt And How Can You Find It For Free?

Using the right type of dirt is important for any outdoor project, but you may not be sure what the correct kind is. While topsoil is perfect for growing plants because of its abundance of nutrients, fill dirt is what you'll want if you're dealing with construction, landscaping, filling in a hole, or leveling your yard or garden. Fill dirt is composed of sand, clay, and other materials, such as rock, that have broken down or weathered over time. Because fill dirt is lacking in nutrients, it doesn't shift as easily as topsoil, and can provide a sturdy, level area for buildings or other structures.

Fill dirt can be purchased from companies that sell mulch, sand, or gravel, though it can be expensive, especially if you need a lot of it. Thankfully, you might not need to buy it. There are several places you can look if you need a large amount of dirt for free.

Where to find free fill dirt

One easy way to acquire free dirt is through websites that match people trying to get rid of fill dirt with people who need it. Sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace have sections where you can find fill dirt locally for completely free. This is your best bet if you want to make sure you won't have to travel far. While other websites, like DirtMatch.com and FillDirt.org, may help you find cheap dirt, they're not as user-friendly and typically sell the dirt rather than give it away. It's also a good idea to check with your local government. It may be able to help point you in the direction of nearby dumps that have specific sections for fill dirt.

Sometimes, construction sites will have an abundance of dirt from digging out basements or in-ground pools. While the construction company may have plans to use it for something else or sell it, there's a chance they'll be looking to get rid of it. If you ask if you can have it, you may find yourself with some free dirt, and there's a possibility that the construction workers will help you transport it as well.

While finding free fill dirt is exciting, it's important to ensure the dirt is right for your project. Fill dirt that's mostly clay can be better for areas with more moisture, while sand-based dirt is more useful for draining.

How to make sure your fill dirt is safe

Once you find someone that can give you fill dirt for free, it's crucial to ask questions about what it's been used for and where it's from. Fill dirt can become contaminated with harmful bacteria and chemicals, like E. coli or radiation, so be sure to ask about the site where it came from and if the dirt has ever been tested.

It's not usually a good idea to seek dirt from places like sewer treatment plants, industrial complexes, or unknown areas, since they may contain lead or other hazardous materials. Make sure to inspect your dirt for any strange smells, colors, or debris. If you have any reservations about the dirt, it's probably best to look for another source.

Whether you're revamping your garden, working on your yard, or leveling an area to build something, there are ways to find quality fill dirt for free and save your money for the rest of your project.