Grains Of Truth: Why Sand Is So Important To Successful Landscaping Projects

Posted on: 20 October 2017


When you look at a simple pile of sand, it seems like a fairly innocuous material, more of a curiosity than a practical material. However, sand is an integral component in landscaping projects, building projects and other construction works the world over, and it is particularly useful for a variety of residential landscaping projects. The following landscaping tasks all require (or can be improved by) the judicious use of sand, making purchasing your sand supplies from a reputable, accredited supplier all the more important:

Paver driveways and paths

If you are planning on installing a path or driveway made of paving slabs, you might assume that the gaps between your pavers should be filled with cement or other solid, robust materials in order to keep the pavers steady and level. However, filling in the gaps in your new drive or path with cement can dramatically undermine the drainage properties of the land beneath and surrounding the pavers, leading to hazardous flash flooding during heavy rains.

Traditionally, this problem would be dealt with by installing French drains or other expensive artifices to carry the excess water away. However, simply packing the spaces between your pavers with fill sand is a far more elegant and inexpensive solution. When properly installed, the compressed sand does an excellent job at providing a firm, stable base for your pavers, while allowing water to flow freely through the granular sand to the soil below.

Water features

Installing water features on your land can add a reach touch of class and luxury to your property, but installing them without dramatically affecting the surrounding terrain can be difficult. Whether you want to install a small fish pond or a towering marble fountain, your feature will need a solid, stable base to prevent water from leaking into the soil beneath or the water feature collapsing under the substantial weight of the water it contains.

Fill sand is an ideal material for these purposes, and it can be packed tightly beneath and around your water features to make sure they stay level and secure. Sand is particularly valuable for these purposes when compared to other bedding materials (such as concrete or aggregate), as its excellent drainage characteristics allow leaks and overflows to drain away quickly; this will prevent localised flooding and waterlogged soil if your new feature does spring a leak or two.

Sand play areas

Probably the most obvious use for sand in a landscaping project, sand pits and other recreation areas can be installed easily, and they provide hours of fun for both children and adults alike. You aren't limited to creating simple children's sandpits with this material; you can also create beach volleyball courts, artificial beaches or even a Japanese Zen garden. Fine sands will create a more refined finished product, while coarser sands are easier to clean up and are less likely to get tracked and blown across your lawn.

However, not just any sand can be used to create these features, as most types of building and landscaping sand are unwashed and therefore unsanitary. For surface applications, play sand (sometimes sold as tiling sand) should always be used. These sands are extensively filtered and sterilised before sale, eliminating the risks of sand contamination. Consequently, you should always purchase your landscaping sand from a reputable dealer, where play sand is kept properly packaged in sanitary conditions.