The easiest way to separate gravel from dirt

Written by sharon sweeny
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
The easiest way to separate gravel from dirt
It's easy to remove unwanted soil from gravel. ( Images)

Because it doesn't deteriorate over time, gravel is common as a permanent mulch around shrubs and trees. However, if you put gravel down on the ground without soil-blocking landscaping cloth beneath it, eventually the gravel begins to sink into the soil, creating a dirt-filled gravel mulch. To remove the soil from the gravel mulch, create a sifting screen that gardeners use to remove rocks, clods of soil and other debris from garden beds -- one shovelful at a time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • 4 lengths of 2-by-2 lumber, 30 inches long
  • 2 lengths of 2-by-2 lumber, 12 to 18 inches long
  • Drywall screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Mesh hardware cloth
  • Staple gun
  • Tarp
  • Garden shovel

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Make a square frame with the 30-inch, 2-by-2 lumber. Fasten the corners together with drywall screws.

  2. 2

    Attach one of the shorter pieces of 2-by-2 lumber to each of two corners that are next to each other, using drywall screws. These will be the legs for the frame.

  3. 3

    Cover the top of the frame with mesh hardware cloth. The size of the holes in the mesh should be slightly smaller than the gravel. Staple the mesh to the frame using a staple gun.

  4. 4

    Prop the sifting screen over a tarp laid on the ground. The tarp will collect the sifted soil, making the soil easier to reuse. Put the end of the sifting screen on the ground that is opposite the end with legs, so the sifting screen sits at an angle.

  5. 5

    Put gravel onto the sifting screen, a few shovelfuls at a time. Gently shake the screen from side to side to loosen the dirt from the gravel and make it fall through the screen onto the tarp below.

  6. 6

    Remove the gravel from the sifting screen when you've sifted the soil out of it.

  7. 7

    Repeat with the remaining gravel.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to end up with fine, sifted soil, use hardware cloth with a very small mesh openings. Fine, sifted soil is ideal for placing on top of regular garden soil when you are starting very small seeds.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.