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How to Separate Sand & Gravel Mixtures

Gravel Path image by Allen Stoner from

Separating sand and gravel allows you to sort through the components in order to supply sand to a sandbox and gravel to a driveway or stone walk way. Sifting through the mix requires a lot of time and patience, but the end result is extremely gratifying.

Place the window screen on top of one wheelbarrow. The screen should hang over all four sides to prevent screen from sinking or tipping.

Empty one bucket of mixed sand and gravel on to the screen. Shake the screen from side to side rapidly to allow any loose sand to drop through the screen mesh.

Rub your hands in the mix on top of the screen in a circular motion. Run your fingers through the mix, and pull any large gravel pieces off the screen; throw them into the other wheelbarrow.

Shake the screen one more time to sift the remaining sand through. Dump any gravel left on the screen into the second wheelbarrow.

Replace screen and repeat this process as many times as needed until all mix is separated.

Separate Sand & Gravel

Gravel is more coarse than sand and depending on the size of the sand and gravel you want to separate, you need to find a strainer to do the job. For the average person, you do not need elaborate equipment to separate the gravel from the sand. You can make your own screening device in a matter of minutes. Lay a piece of plastic or tarp on the ground. On top of this, place several five-gallon buckets or a wooden box frame. Find a heavy-duty wire mesh screen. Place this over the heavy-duty screen so it will not bend or come apart. A colander used for the kitchen also works. Pour the gravel and sand mixture on top of the screen. Shake the screen to filter the smaller particles. The smaller particles will fall through, leaving the bigger rocks on top. Wear gloves to protect your hands form sharp rocks.

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