Does Blowing Soil Save Time & Money?

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true costs of blowing soil BLOG-1

With the labour shortage we're all experiencing in the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley, it's more important than ever to be as efficient as possible on landscape construction job sites.  One way to improve efficiency, get work done by project deadlines and avoid penalties - is to install landscape materials via blower truck.  While the product is blown in, the landscape contractor labour can be prepping other areas, planting into the installed soil, or even go work on the next project.  Think that blowing in soil would be too costly?  Let's explore the true costs of blowing in soil...

True Cost of Labor

When calculating the cost of labor, it's important to look at the full picture.  Consider the following to ensure the full cost is being calculated:

  • not only the actual hourly costs of staff, but also the cost of benefits, payroll administration, etc.  Typically this will be 30% above their hourly rate.
  • Especially during times when labour is hard to come by, consider where it is best to use the labour available.  Should it be used on placing soil manually, or would it be better used on other tasks that will move the project forward towards meeting deadlines? 
  • If a blower truck installs the soil (and rock) and labourers are preparing the next areas and planting into the soil as it's installed, how many housr/days of labour time could be saved?  Using a blower truck could actually increase profitability!

20171012_125448Total Cost of Soil

With having soil installed via blower truck, you will pay one total set price for the material and installation service,  including cleanup. This can cut down your overall costs considerably, and is low-risk.  To fairly compare to placing soil manually, calculate the total cost of soil:

  • the soil itself
  • delivery to the site
  • storage area
  • tools required such as shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, tarps
  • machinery to move the soil (bobcat) 
  • crane to get the soil onto rooftops on multi-level projects
  • disposal of bags/totes 
  • labour time to clean up the lay-down area once the soil is all moved

20171123_084406 editService

Blown soil can be easily installed on almost all types of terrain, even in areas that are typically hard to reach. These include spaces that are located on slopes which are steep, yards that are narrow or include stairs, or multiple storeys high.  Working on a multi-level high-rise project and need soil placed on floors 3,4, 6 & 10?  No problem, it can be done without using valuable crane time when using a blower truck for installation.


Simply put, with a blower truck the job is done better and faster, making the process highly reliable. In addition to being faster, the entire process is more efficient which minimizes overall costs. Blowing soil can reliably be done at any time of year in any weather, without worry of damage to the surrounding soft or wet terrain.

Advantages of blowing in soil

In addition to the above, other advantages and benefits include:

  • IMG_0298Clean and neat – When blowing in soil, the soil is inside a truck; no unsightly piles that create a mess.
  • Accessibility - By using hose to place soil exactly where it needs to go, it can be placed almost anywhere!  Sixteen floors up?  Done.
  • Safe - there is no damage from equipment to surrounding hardscape or softscape.
  • Environmentally friendly – You will also help the environment when blowing soils as you eliminate sediment running into storm drains from piles. 
  • One process - Need to seed the soil? Add Terraseeding to inject seed directly into the soil as it's blown in.
  • Final look – Blowing soil results in a look that is more even and professional; no need for raking.

In a nutshell, blowing soil is less expensive and more efficient than traditional alternatives. Furthermore, there is also the benefit of lower stress levels and less worry. Choosing this option can completely transform your project success.

This article has been updated from originally appearing on the Denbow blog July 2017.