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.



  1. Great info! I have excess sand from a paver patio installation, and would like to use it as fill for another paver install under the CR6. I would therefore be ok with the “concrete like layer”. Is my thinking correct? I am on the midAtlantic and our soil is clay based


  2. I’ve just completed a small desert-scape garden. I am thinking about decomposed granite or gravel for ground cover. But, I was wondering if paver sand would be a good choice since it would form a harder surface and prevent weed growth and erosion?

  3. I took down my 8 year old above-the-ground pool last October. I want to plant an herb garden in its place, but I have 2 inches of sand to deal with. Is it better to go ahead and place my brick walks on the solid base of sand that is currently there – then dig out the excess sand in the areas I will be planting. I could then put in newly amended soil and go from there. OR, should I remove all the sand and replace a smaller amount of sand to sit beneath the brick walks. I just don’t know where to start in the spring. There is a tarp over the 20 ft. diameter space right now to protect it from our Midwest winter and keep it packed in. I’ve never seen this situation addressed anywhere. I can’t afford to put in a full stone or brick patio.

  4. I live on almost 2 acres of sand [top 18 inches of soil], a lot of recipes for organic potting mix, organic fertilizer and organic rooting compound call for the use of sand. Is there a way to wash this sand so that it will stop growing the weeds and sand-burs that can be usefully in these recipes. I can’t bake it, I do not have an oven. I do have a stove-top and a grill, both propane powered and God’s heat, the sun.

  5. I have a pagoda tree next to my deck. Some plants and mulch. I noticed this yellowish/tan color in one spot near the tree. I started digging about 4 inches and realized it was sand. It’s only in a 3 ft x 2 ft area. Since I purchased the house 2 yrs ago, what gives? Why is that the only place with sand? My Gardner said sand is used above pips, but this is only 4 inches before I see black dirt again. I live in Northern IL.


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