How Much Sand??


9 Years
Jul 20, 2010
Dayville, CT
So, I've been wanting to add sand to our dirt run. Our run is about 20X8. I called a local company and was told that I would need 8 TONS of construction sand?! Is this correct?? I'm terrible with numbers/math. I just can't imagine moving 16000 pounds of sand into the run!
Here is a link to a site I found very helpful. It's a sand calculator and it will figure it out for you.

I hope this helps you out! Good luck.
Well how deep do you want it to be? If (for example) you want a 4" depth over the whole 8x20 run, that is 160 sq ft times 4" = 160 sq ft times 0.33 ft = a little over 50 cubic feet. (Less than 2 cubic yards, if you want to use that unit instead, as most aggregat companies speak in terms of cubic yards not cubic feet)

Googling seems to suggest (i.e. you should check this for sure yourself
) that sand weighs about 100 lbs per cubic foot. That would be 5,000 lbs of sand. Which is, what, like 2 tons and a bit.

Mind you that's for just a 4" depth. You want 8", it'd be twice that; you want a foot depth, it'd be three times that; and you REALLY REALLY should check my math and numbers because I assure you I did not have 5,000 fingers to work that out on

Note that if you want it deeper than 4" or so, you are really going to have to think about ENGINEERING whatever boards are going to retain it around the edges of the run, because even just 6-12" depth of sand exerts some serious horizontal force. It is not that hard to do, but would *need* to be done if you don't want things busting and/or sand slouching out all over as time passes.

By the way, I put down only about 2 inches of sand in our runs. Some gets scratched out and the girls do and can dig down through it to the dirt below from time to time, but that's not much of a problem. I just add a few bags of sand periodically. I have two 8' by 8' runs, so that's smaller than your run, but not by a lot.

I'm sure it was more expensive to do it this way, but I just bought 60 lb bags of sand from Lowes, a few bags at a time. I didn't keep track of how many bags it took me, but it wasn't that many....maybe 30?
I added a lot of sand and used railroad ties to retain the sand. Some heavy retaining wall blocks (the large size, 70 or so lb per piece) would do the trick as well.
Just this weekend we got 2500 lbs of construction sand (1 yard) and it filled my 8x16 run with about 4 inches. We have a smaller type pick up and boy did the weight make the bed sink down, any more and I think it could have broken something. If you're still in the process of putting your run together, do the sand before the hardware's easier to dump it in from all sides.

We have PT 4x4s as our base perimeter with 1/2" hardware cloth underneath and the sand sank through the wire into the uneven recesses on the ground and made everything nice and even and sturdy. The 4x4s are just fine with the sand coming to just below the top. (about 1 inch of sand went under the wire on the ground and I still got to just 1 inch below the top of the 4x4s...hence 4 inches of sand)
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Thank you for your replies. I thought that 8 tons sounded outrageous! It looks like I would need more like 2 tons. I'll have to make some more phone calls. The one place I found only sold a minimum of 5 tons.
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