Maybe you think sand is just for the beach. But actually, homeowners often use sand as part of their lawn care routines. It serves a variety of purposes, so sand is something that you’ll probably want to purchase for your lawn at some point. So let’s find out: how much does a yard of sand weigh?
When we talk about a yard of sand, we usually mean a cubic yard. One cubic yard of sand is 27 cubic feet (3 feet high x 3 feet wide x 3 feet deep).
If you apply the sand 2 inches deep, a cubic yard should cover approximately 162 square feet of your outdoor space.
A cubic yard of sand weighs between 2,400 and 2,700 pounds on average. 2,700 pounds is equivalent to 1.35 tons. If the sand is wet, it will be significantly heavier. A cubic yard of wet sand may weigh between 3,240 and 3,510 pounds.
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How Many Bags of Sand Equal a Yard of Sand?
Many homeowners buy their horticultural or landscaping sand in bags rather than ordering a bulk delivery. That’s why I’ll first share how many bags of sand equal a cubic yard of sand.
Many bags of sand measure 14” by 26” and weigh 30 pounds. With bags of that size, you can expect about 100 bags of sand to equal one cubic yard of sand.
Why Do We Use Sand On Our Lawns?
There are certain reasons why you may want to use sand on your lawn. Keep scrolling to find out about them below.
Improves Aeration and Drainage
Some soils can be thick and heavy, and aerating your lawn is the process of making it easier for water, sunlight, and nutrition to penetrate the soil.
When your lawn is well-aerated, more nutrition will get down to the roots of your grass.
Mixing sand into your soil isn’t the same as aerating your lawn, but it can help improve its drainage, which can make your lawn healthier if your yard doesn’t drain well now.
Applying some small grain sand to your lawn will help with your soil’s drainage. If you can’t get that, medium grain sand should do the job.
Sand is good for promoting drainage because it allows excess moisture to quickly drain through your topsoil, while still holding some extra moisture to keep enough present for grass. It’s great for helping to prevent root rot.
Helps Prevent Thatch
Adding sand to your lawn can help to prevent thatch build-up.
This is because the sand particles take up space between the dead organic matter particles that accumulate on your lawn.
As a result, sand can help protect your lawn from building up a thick layer of thatch.
Useful for Leveling
You can mix sand with dry topsoil and use that mixture to level your lawn. Make sure you use a 1:1 ratio, and consider performing a soil test before you get started to understand the structure and nutrient content of your yard’s topsoil. This will allow you to make the perfect plan to improve your lawn’s performance.
Best Overall Lawn Soil Test Kit
The Soil Test Kit I Use & Recommend
There are many options for testing your lawn’s soil, but I prefer a lab-based soil test that provides a detailed analysis of your soil’s nutrients and what’s needed for your lawn to thrive.
I use this one from MySoil every year.
And if you’re interested in taking the guesswork out of what to do next after you get your soil test results, consider Sunday’s subscription lawn-care plan. They test your soil for you and use local weather data to send you exactly what your lawn needs, when it needs it. It’s pretty fool-proof – you can Click Here for Your Instant Lawn Analysis and take 12% off your order with promo code LAWNCHICK2023.
How Does Moisture Impact Sand Weight?
Moisture has a significant impact on sand weight. We use the term “bulking” to refer to how moisture makes sand weigh more.
Moist or wet sand weighs more than dry sand because water is heavy. When sand is completely dry, all its weight just comes from the sand particles themselves (as well as the air that separates the grains).
When you purchase sand for your lawn, you can expect it to be dry, but how it is stored prior to purchase will impact how wet or dry it is, which in turn will determine the weight of your sand bags or bulk delivery.
What Equipment Do You Need to Apply Sand on Your Lawn?
Before you get ready to buy your sand and start your project, think about the equipment that you’ll need. You’ll definitely need a wheelbarrow, as well as a spreader (drop or broadcast spreader).
As sand is so heavy, you’ll definitely need a large wheelbarrow to transport it. Buy or rent a heavy duty model.
For big jobs, I recommend this Garden Star wheelbarrow/garden cart on Amazon. You can use it not only for transporting sand but also for fertilizer, gravel, mulch, and other lawn care products. It’s also great for giving your kids a ride around the yard.
I like that it won’t rust, and the air-filled tires are durable, though you should have a pump or compressor on hand in case they go flat.
The wheelbarrow I personally own is an earlier iteration of this steel True Temper wheelbarrow. It has served me well, and my favorite features are its steel handles (they won’t break or rot) and flat-free tire (I don’t have to deal with a bad tire the day I need to use the wheelbarrow).
When you get a steel wheelbarrow, you do have to be a little more careful about how you clean and store it so it won’t deteriorate and rust, but I am, and mine has lasted for years (with no tire changes!).
If you’re sure that your sand is completely dry, you could spread it over your lawn with a drop spreader.
With a drop spreader, the sand comes out the bottom of the spreader as you push it around.
If you don’t have a drop spreader and don’t want to purchase one, you can rent one from a garden center in your area.
Want to buy your own drop spreader? My pick is the Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader.
Alternatively, you could use a heavy duty broadcast spreader to spread dry sand. A broadcast spreader is a bit different from a drop spreader in that it broadcasts the sand around it as you push it around.
A broadcast spreader tends to be more efficient than a drop spreader. Like a drop spreader, you can buy a broadcast spreader or just rent one at one of your local garden centers or hardware stores.
The Spreader I Use & Recommend
I’ve owned and used a number of different broadcast spreaders, and if you want the best one available, I recommend The Andersons Yard Star spreader. It is American made, can hold 50 pounds of material, rolls smoothly and easily, and is the most accurate spreader I’ve ever used.
Spreading by Hand
If you’re just putting down a small amount of sand or have a smaller property, then I recommend getting a snow shovel (or even better, use one you already own) and flicking it out onto your yard by hand.
You’ll have to come back over your lawn with a rake no matter your tools or method, and this is often an easy and effective way to spread your sand.
Related Frequently Asked Questions
You probably still have some questions about using sand on your lawn. I’ll answer some of the most popular frequently asked questions here, so keep scrolling!
What kind of sand should you use for topdressing your lawn?
You might decide that you want to mix some sand into the topdressing you put on your lawn.
It’s great for helping to promote better aeration and prevent thatch. It may also benefit your lawn’s drainage and overall health.
I recommend using a sand with medium-particle size. You don’t want anything too fine, but it shouldn’t be excessively coarse either.
How should you spread sand to level your lawn?
Ryan Knorr has a great video walk-through of a full lawn renovation that you may find helpful. I love his YouTube channel.
Using sand is one of the most well-established ways of leveling lawns. If you want to level your lawn with sand, you’ll have to prepare it first.
This involves mowing your lawn to the shortest length possible. To accomplish this, you’ll have to set your mower to the lowest height.
After that, check whether your lawn has a build-up of thatch. If it does, you’ll have to dethatch it.
After that, you may want to aerate your lawn.
Aeration is the process of loosening up the soil so that there isn’t any compaction. It ensures that water and nutrients can penetrate to get down to the roots of your grass.
Once you’ve aerated the soil, it’s time to put down your sand.
In most cases, you should put down a thin layer of sand on top of your grass. This may be between one quarter inch to one and a half inches in depth, though I recommend going light and adding layers to smooth and level your lawn over time.
You don’t want to add too much all at once and smother your grass.
Can you use play sand for leveling your lawn?
No, you cannot use play sand on your lawn. The kind of sand that you use in sand boxes is different from the type of sand you use for horticultural purposes.
Play sand usually contains some clay. You don’t want to add clay to your soil, as it can lead to compaction and drainage problems.
Should you use sand on sandy soil?
No, you shouldn’t use sand topdressing on soil with a naturally high sand content.
So, if you have sandy soil on your property, you shouldn’t apply sand to it. You wouldn’t need to anyway, as sandy soil naturally resists compaction and tends to drain well.
Final Thoughts: How Much Does a Yard of Sand Weigh?
As I’ve explained, a cubic yard of dry sand weighs about 2,400 – 2,700 pounds, but can weigh as much as 3,500 pounds if it is wet.
I hope the information I’ve provided here will make it easier for you to plan how you will use sand on your lawn. Understanding the weight of sand is an important part of the preparation process.
Thanks for sticking around! Before you go, check out my article on the best fertilizer spreaders for lawns. If you’re leveling your lawn with sand, it may be time to upgrade your spreader for the many fertilizer applications in your future.