Many of southeast Queensland’s developers are realising that recycling topsoil for their subdivision jobs is a good opportunity to save money on their projects.

While some landscape architects specify use of recycled topsoil to reduce environmental impact, other savvy landscapers and developers stockpile stripped site soil and ask us to make AS4419 or better quality topsoil onsite instead of importing topsoil.

The rotating action of our trommel screen allows us to screen and ameliorate (add mix-ins) at the same time, avoiding double handling. We also deal with clay soils, wet and bulky materials.

Our expert soil scientists (or your own, if preferred) can recommend ameliorants and ratios to improve site soil to AS4419 standard, or create superior custom blends suitable for the plantings on your site.

Reusing existing soil means fewer trucks on local roads carting away waste and bringing back imported topsoils, less change to the eco-system on your site and significant savings. This video has more information on amelioration using a trommel screen:

Soil Testing

The first step in this process is soil testing in which a sample of your soil is sent away for evaluation. Our soil scientists will ask you about your budget and what you are trying to achieve with the soil.

For example, planting native grasses on a batter beside a highway requires different soil than growing grass on a sports field or a vertical garden on a highrise building.

You can achieve almost anything with ameliorated topsoil, but if you want to turn a hessian bag into a silk purse you need to be prepared to pay for ameliorants.

Soil testing and amelioration recommendations usually cost less than $500, giving you the option to pursue or think it over.

The soil scientist provides you with test results and amelioration recommendations around 7-10 days after testing. There is no obligation to proceed past this point. If we can’t achieve your vision within your budget, we won’t proceed with the job.


After reviewing the soil report, we decide if screening and ameliorating existing site soil is a viable option for your job. If it is, we prepare a proposal including our screening recommendations and the cost of ameliorants.

Screening generally costs between $4 and $8 per m3 depending on the materials being screened, the complexity of the custom blend, the screen size and the quantity required.

We are cost effective for quantities anywhere between 300m3 and 300,000m3 and supply ameliorants for an additional cost if desired.

Final Steps

When it comes to being environmentally friendly and cost-effective, amelioration of existing site soils is your best option. Our advice is free, so give us a call on 1300 748 388 for more information.

Our lead-time could be as little as two days or two months depending on the time of year, so the more notice you give us, the better.


Alison and her team are an absolute pleasure to work with. Her attention to detail is extremely impressive, keeping both site and office staff informed of their every move. Continue Reading

Jack Bath General Manager, Penfold Projects

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We were thrilled to be awarded Best Green Site at Civenex-Q, Queensland's premier civil construction expo held on 8 & 9 October 2014. A big thank you to all our team.