Amelia Gomes  /   12/21/2022

The Importance Of Soil And Terrain When Buying Land

Purchasing land involves making sure of certain elements. Depending on what you plan to use the land for, knowing its soil and terrain types goes a long way in facilitating your plans for the land. For instance, if you buy land for building purposes, it is crucial to look for coarse soil. The terrain must also be far from swampy since it costs more to dredge and fill them with sand before constructing the foundation.

All these and more are what this post will illuminate and help you understand. You should be able to answer questions like, “What soil types and terrain should I look out for?” and “What other uses do non-building lands have?”

Here at Community Lands, we provide you with the best land choices for different purposes and help you decide the suitable soil types and terrain for your plans. This simple and comprehensive article is here to educate you on various soil types and land terrains. It’ll also help you understand the best ways to use your land.

Why you should know the soil and terrain types of the land you’re buying

Purchasing a piece of land can be similar to purchasing a new house. You must make sure you’re buying the right property for your plans and avoid any expensive surprises down the road.

One of the best ways to do this is by backing up your selection with solid research. Below are a few reasons you should know the type of soil and terrain of the land you’re buying:

Avoidance of cost Implications

It is good practice to conduct a soil test when buying a parcel of land. A soil test will guarantee you are not purchasing a dud with hidden problems. A soil test will also reduce the expense of constructing a solid foundation by ensuring good soil composition.

Knowing the terrain of the property also aids in planning for any additional costs you might incur when building. For example, the cost of leveling or construction may increase if the block is steep. You can also compare this to how you would need to include the cost of clearing bushes or moving rocks as an additional part of your budget.

Means of Land Assessment

Knowing your land’s soil type also means examining the soil’s physical and chemical properties. This step, in turn, determines its safety and will aid in your estimation of the block’s stability and land retention. With this, you know what crops to cultivate, where you can grow them, and how much yield they can produce. You can also depend on the soil to support our agricultural demands, control rainwater flows, and serve as a filter for drinking water.

Understanding your land’s terrain helps you recognize watershed boundaries, drainage features, groundwater systems, water movement, and effects on water quality.

Different Types

Soil Types

You can categorize soil into various kinds, each with unique properties and advantages and disadvantages for different purposes. Finding suitable land for a project is essential to promoting the healthy development of any of your plans.

Based on the predominant size of the soil’s constituent particles, you can divide them into sand, clay, silt, peat, chalk, and other forms.

1. Sandy soil 

Light, warm, and dry sand tend to be acidic and deficient in nutrients. Because of their significant sand content and low clay content, sandy soils are frequently called “light soils.”

These soils are simple to work with and have quick water drainage. They also warm up more quickly in the spring but tend to dry up in the summer and have low nutrient levels that are washed away by rain.

By enhancing the soil’s ability to store nutrients and water, the addition of organic matter can assist in providing plants with an extra boost of nutrients.

2. Clay Soil 

A heavy soil type that benefits from high nutrients are clay soil. They stay chilly and wet in the winter and become dry in the summer. They also include more than 25% clay, and clay soils hold much water because of the gaps between the clay particles. 

These soils can frequently be challenging for constructors and gardeners since they drain slowly, take longer to warm up in the summer, and dry up and crack.

3. Silt Soil 

Silt soil has a high fertility rating and is a thin, moisture-retentive soil type. They are well-drained and retain moisture because they contain medium-sized particles.

The fineness of the particles makes them susceptible to compacting and being washed away by rain. However, the silt particles can be bonded into more durable clumps with the addition of organic materials.

4. Loam Soil 

Sand, silt, and clay are combined to create loam soil to counteract each type’s drawbacks. These soils have high drainage, are rich, and are easy to work with. Depending on what makes up the majority of their composition, they can be sandy or clay loam.

While some call them gardener’s best friend because of their ideal particle balance, these soils still benefit from being supplemented with extra organic matter.

Terrain Types 

A land’s terrain influences many land elements, from weather patterns to water flow and distribution. Knowing the land’s terrain is also helpful for activities like farming, construction, and soil protection, to name a few.

The four most prevalent types of terrain are plateau, mountain, plain, and valley.

1. Valley 

Valleys are low-lying areas of land between hills or mountains known geologically as depressions. Because the canal cuts out the valley, a river or stream typically runs through it.

A valley could extend for kilometers or be found at the base of two mountains. While some valleys have a V shape, others have a U shape.

2. Canyon

A canyon is a depressed area, usually between mountains. It is typically carved out by the water, just like a valley. Although they appear as valleys at first glance, they are various types of terrain.

A canyon has steeper sides, is more narrow, and is more profound. It’s noteworthy to note that you can occasionally find canyons around valleys.

3. Plain

Plain terrain refers to flat land masses that have little to no height change and can extend quite a ways. You can find plains in lowland regions, such as valleys, and coastal plains, like uplands or plateaus.

4. Open

Areas of land that are open and flat, like meadows, are known as open terrains. By definition, an open area must be devoid of any impediments, such as structures or trees.

Open country and open ground are other terms for an open landscape. An open area doesn’t need to exist organically. In truth, open terrain is a region of land freed of obstructions, such as an airport’s runway or building.

The wind is one crucial aspect of open terrain. Since there are no obstructions, the wind loads the land heavily.

Non-Farmable Land Uses Based on Soil and Terrain Types

Construction and Building 

Sandy properties exist as one of the worst types of land for growing plants. Their granular structure makes it difficult for the roots of the plants to absorb water. They also have relatively few nutrients and a low water-holding capacity. All of these make them a bad choice of land for farming. 

But despite this, these properties support sound drainage systems. Less water retention reduces the possibility that the building will move and develop structural and non-structural flaws.

Production Of Building Materials  

Properties with clay soil are not suited for use in agriculture because they are practically hard to work with using typical farming tools and do not adequately receive or drain water. The cation connections that connect the various soil granules are unusually strong.

However, clay is a common building material. Terracotta tiles, adobe bricks, and roofing shingles are all made from clay soils. You can use the clay on your land to make these resources 

Understanding a property’s soil types and terrain zones helps you plan how it works for your purposes and intentions. It also opens you up to various use cases for the bought property. You should understand that you can discover several uses for your property even if the soil type or terrain doesn’t match your intentions. In the end, you should seek the services of professionals like surveyors to help you identify the soil type and terrain of your land. This way, you know how best to utilize, protect, and value your property if the need arises.

To learn more about how to be the most efficient and environmentally-friendly land owner you can be, visit the Community Lands’ Learn Center.

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