I have rocks laid down on my drive way and it clearly has some problems in the plastic layer below. Weeds have been popping out since we moved in. How do I go about getting this rock driveway redone in the cheapest and most effective way possible?

  • 4
    do you have rocks on the sides of your driveway as a decorative element or do you have a crushed gravel driveway?
    – kevinskio
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 19:10
  • can you provide a photo of the problem area? THough the sifter is a great solution, I wonder if the scope/scale of your job may be too large for a job like this by hand. a machine may be needed if it is a sizeable area.
    – Phlume
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 18:36

3 Answers 3


I'm in the process of sifting gravel out of my backyard where I want a garden and by far, the absolutely best way to sift gravel out, is with a hardware mesh slide.

Sifting rocks out of the soil

This method was an upgrade from the box with a hardware mesh bottom that I would shake back and forth to separate the rocks from the dirt.

The biggest advantage of the slide over the box, is that gravity is doing all the work for me. All I have to do is shovel dirt to the top of the slide, and as it runs down, the dirt will fall through the mesh, while the rocks run to the bottom (into the box that I had been using previously).

Not only does this mean I'm not breaking my back sifting through dirt, but I'm skipping an entire step in the process. Rather than filling up the box, then sifting the dirt, I go straight into sifting the dirt.

I do want to note that I have seen people make a dirt-sifter using the box method, but putting a motor on the box so that it shakes on it's own. So there is that option, but it didn't seem like something I would want to do, I'm not going to want to keep the sifter after I'm finished, and I didn't want to spend a whole lot on doing it.

For this method I used:

2, 4-inch boards.
1, 2-inch board.
2, 2x4 wall studs.
1 roll of 1/4-inch hardware mesh.
Staples to attach the hardware mesh to the wood.
1 1/2-inch screws.
2 small corner brackets.
2 straight brackets.

All I did was I rolled out the hardware mesh and stapled each side to one of the 4-inch boards. Then, I cut the 2-inch boards, and screwed them over the hardware mesh to provide support.

Note: I placed the middle piece one-third of the way from the bottom. This creates a lip that will keep large sections of dirt, or dirt that's mixed in with plants and just isn't sifting through on it's own from reaching the bottom. All I have to do then, is run a flat shovel up through the dirt a couple times and it will all sort itself out. If you do it right, the plants will end of on the top and you can grab them for compost.

Once that piece is together, then just use something to prop it at about a 45 degree angle. That's what I used the wall studs for, since I had them lying around as scrap. It's also where I used the brackets to attach them together. I only used them because I had them next to me and didn't feel like going to dig out longer screws. You could easily use longer screws and skip the brackets if you prefer.

That's really all there is to that design. Just be sure keep an eye out for worms as the dirt runs down the slide, you don't want to sift those guys out.

  • How do you break up lumps of potentially good soil after sifting? Or do lumps go out with the rocks?
    – J. Musser
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:26
  • @J.Musser Since it's for my garden I did till it first to make it easier to sift through. But the couple clumps I've come across have broken up just fine with a flat spade running them up and down the slide. Sort of the same effect as shaking it in the box, but less effort.
    – The Flash
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:31
  • So this would only work with reasonably nice, dryish soil.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:33
  • I created one of these (a bit different design model) and I agree...hands down best solution.
    – Phlume
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 18:34
  • Looks like duct tape was employed. =) Haha Love it.
    – itsmatt
    Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 12:18

If you have a crate with small enough holes in the bottom, you could shovel the dirt and rocks into the crate, then sift the dirt out. It does get dusty though.


A sieve. You should be able to find some at your local hardware, generally they stock various sizes. If the material is not very sturdy you could build a frame out of some lumber.

Something like chicken mesh might also work depending on the size of the rock.

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