DIY Homemade Topdressing Spreader

DIY Homemade Topdressing Spreader


April 26, 2022

If you need to apply topdressing to your soil, you can make your job a lot easier by using a machine known as a topdressing spreader. This machine has a large bin to help you to apply the topdressing and it evenly distributes it over large areas, which makes it convenient.

Don’t you have to mix the topdressing first? The topdressing is put directly on your soil so you don’t have to first mix it with a trowel or shovel, which makes it further convenient to use a spreader. 

While you can purchase your own topdresser spreader, you might like the idea of making one yourself. Is this really possible? Here’s everything you need to know about making a homemade topdressing spreader for that DIY in your fertilization.

DIY Homemade Topdressing Spreader

While you might have seen top-dressing spreaders on the market and wondered how you’d be able to make one yourself, you should bear in mind that you can use the same tutorial as one that’s for making a seed spreader.

Of course, this will be smaller than a commercial topdressing spreader that you can purchase, but it will still get the job done.

Method One: Make a topdresser spreader out of a milk jug

Method One: Make a topdresser spreader out of a milk jug

What you need:

  • Milk jug
  • Nail
  • Drill (optional) 
  • Funnel 
  1. Rinse out an empty milk jug that’s about a gallon in capacity. 
  2. Let the jug dry – leave its cap off and put it outside so it can dry thoroughly. 
  3. Punch holes in the opposite side of the jug’s handle with a nail or drill. 
  4. Push this nail into the jug. 
  5. Then, make ⅛-inch holes that are spaced around ¼-inch apart in two offsetting rows. 
  6. Use a funnel so you can fill your jug with the topdressing mixture all the way up to its holes. 
  7. When you use this DIY spreader, you should use a back-and-forth motion so that you can spread the topdressing evenly across your lawn. 
  8. You can push the nail around in the hole so that you enlarge it if required.

Method Two: Make a topdresser spreader with a large plastic bin 

Method Two: Make a topdresser spreader with a large plastic bin 

This is a good choice for you if you have a larger area on which you want to apply the topdressing and you own a tractor as you will attach it to the back of the vehicle.

What you need

  • Large plastic bin with li
  • Drill 
  • Rope (or another item to secure the plastic bin to your tractor) 
  1. Clean out a large plastic bin with some water and soap. Make sure you rinse and dry it well. 
  2. Drill a few holes on the bottom, and make sure they’re one inch apart from each other. 
  3. Add your topdresser to the plastic bin (or sand or fertilizer, if you’re using those instead). 
  4. Cover the container with its lid. (The lid is essential otherwise the material will escape the container!) 
  5. Strap this plastic bin onto the back of a tractor. What makes this easy to do is that many lawn tractors have a small hitch you’ll see at their rear. Balance the plastic bin on the hitch and tie it to the tractor.

Should You Rent A Topdressing Spreader? 

Should You Rent A Topdressing Spreader? 

If you don’t want to purchase a topdressing spreader, you might wonder if it’s worth it to rent one instead. If your lawn is small, you will probably not want to waste the time and money of renting a spreader. In this case, you should just go ahead and make your own spreader because it will be easier.

If you own a larger lawn, you can consider renting a spreader, but be aware that it could cost you and you might not even be happy with the model that’s sent to you.

There might also be rules you need to follow, such as that the top spreader can’t be used on uneven lawns, so always check with the company from whom you’re renting the equipment to find out everything you need to know.

Some companies allow you to rent out their topdressing spreader for a few hours, a day, or even a whole weekend. The latter might be better for you if you’ve never used a topdressing spreader before, or if you have a large lawn, but this can cost you more money. 

Related Questions

What, exactly, is topdressing?

Topdressing is when you apply fertilizer or manure to the top layer of your soil or lawn. It can also be the term used for when you apply sand to the lawn to fill out empty spots or smooth out its surface.

How much grass should be visible when you topdress a lawn?

How much grass should be visible when you topdress a lawn?

Make sure that you keep about half the height of your grass blades visible so that you don’t kill the grass because it can’t access sunlight it needs to grow.  

How much topdressing do you need to apply to your lawn?

Generally, around a quarter to half an inch of soil amendment or compost is applied to the lawn as topdressing by being spread across its surface. 


If you need to add topdressing to your lawn, you will want to use a topdressing spreader. This is especially the case if you have a large lawn. While you can purchase and rent this piece of garden equipment, you can also make your own at home! 

In this guide, we’ve shown you how to go about the process of making a DIY homemade topdressing spreader so you can work at your own pace and in your spare time while saving money.



Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.