I have a couple of cubic meters of gravel (3-4cm, round, no edges) in a big pile. I want to move this gravel, some of it becomes foundation for the kids' sand pit, and some should go along the outer walls of the house as rain splash guard.

I figure I can use a wheelbarrow and a shovel for this, but I am also thinking that it is going to be hard to shovel the gravel with said shovel. Is there a better tool for the job?

4 Answers 4


A "sided" shovel (AKA coal or transfer shovel) is very efficient, especially if you have a hard, flat surface to shovel off of (plywood is great).

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  • would this scratch asphalt? we have a gravel patch we park on and then when it rains heavy it gets carried down the road. want to just scool it up and put back what I can. Aug 6, 2018 at 21:42
  • Should not damage, if kept flat to asphalt..
    – HerrBag
    Aug 8, 2018 at 19:31
  • You might get a plate compactor (vibrator) and pack your gravel down. If 4-6 inches are in place, the resulting surface can take vehicle traffic and rarely dislodge stones. Crushed gravel WITH fines (dust) will pack very firmly AND still drain.
    – HerrBag
    Aug 8, 2018 at 19:35

Is there a better tool for the job?

Skid Steer

As for manual shovels, use what works for you. I prefer a pointed garden shovel for larger rock. It's easier to 'get into' the pile with and you don't over-load it. Then I tend to use the flat coal shovel like HerrBag recommends when the pile gets low and you are doing more scraping of the loose material together.

  • If the 320D photo is of the same scale as the previously posted shovel, it would clearly move more gravel. It appears to me that the small vertical line above the rear wheel would indicate radio control, too!
    – fred_dot_u
    Jul 20, 2017 at 18:41
  • Walk-behind loaders also exist and would be more comparable with a shovel and wheel barrow. Aug 26, 2017 at 17:11

For the top half or so of the pile, I first create a small indentation at the bottom of the pile with a shovel. This lets me drive my wheelbarrow right into the pile and then I can simply rake gravel directly into it. I second HerrBag's suggestion for choice of shovel with the smaller gravel sizes.

Worth noting that once when I had a large pile to move I rented a gas-powered wheelbarrow. Didn't cost much and saved my back.


For shoveling, I second @herrbag ...

Alternatively, for the top of the pile, the gravel can be raked off the top and into a chute that empties into a wheel barrow or a 5 gal bucket. As the height of the pile dwindles, a hole can be dug into the ground for the 5 gal bucket, and continued use of the chute.

OR ...

A manageable amount of gravel can be raked onto a sheet of canvas, the corners then gathered up and hoisted into a wheel barrow, or ziplined to the site of deposit.

Raking can be done with a metal garden rake, a hoe, or a shovel.


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