How to Reuse Sand and Fill Dirt in Your Yard

When I broke up a concrete patio, underneath it was a huge mound of sand mixed with fill dirt. Can I reuse it to grade my yard? -Victor

Sure you can! Unless the sand and fill dirt are contaminated with chemicals or oils, it should be just fine for reusing in your yard. Possible uses include:

  • Level Pavers: Before the pile gets too messy, shovel off the purest sand on top to reuse underneath pavers, walkways, and smaller hardscaping projects. Even small installations like edging timbers can benefit from a layer of sand to make them nice and level.
  • Clean tools: Put sand in a bucket with a little oil to make an instant garden tool cleaner.
  • Top-Dress and Grade: Sand makes a great addition to soil amendments, and fall is a great time to improve your yard through aerating, top-dressing, and leveling low spots. This is a good use for the sand in your pile that’s mixed with dirt. However, don’t use pure sand, since it can mix with clay in your soil to form a concrete-like layer! Sand needs to be accompanied by lots of organic matter in order to work. Mix the sand equally with peat, compost, or topsoil before adding it to your yard.

If you need to remove the sand right away, move it next to your compost pile where you can easily mix up soil amendments in your wheelbarrow. In winter, you can also sneak a few shovelfuls to provide traction on icy driveways.