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Construction for Landscape Architecture by Jamie Liversedge, Robert Holden

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Topsoil

Topsoil is a valuable resource, and should not be damaged unnecessarily. Different professions and trades have differing views on topsoil. Stereotypically, engineers view it as a substrate on which a structure must be placed, and their main interest is in its bearing capacity. If topsoil is insufficiently strong, for most engineers it must be cleared and replaced, rafted over or penetrated in order to reach a more solid ground layer.

The mining engineer views topsoil as the covering layer—a barrier to exploitation of the parent material—and therefore as something to be removed and placed to one side. The farmer views it as the basis of the farm’s productive capacity. The gardener views topsoil as a habitat, and not at all as something ...

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