Is there a cost effective way of sifting stone in a driveway?

I have a 2,500 sq ft section of parking area next to my driveway.

It is composed of 3 ft of sand covered with about 6 inches of crushed limestone rock.

Over the years the ants, weather, and weeds have caused the stone and sand too turn and mix. I need a method or piece of equipment to sift out the stone and bring it back to the top.

I don't want to simply dump more stone on top because I don't want to raise the overall height.

2 Answers 2


It's generically called a screen, and they range from a wooden frame with a section of metal mesh on it that you shovel mixed material on, which sorts itself by gravity, on up to a mechanized thing on the back of a tractor trailer with a bunch of conveyor belts to take in mixed material, then sort and distribute the various sizes.

Depending on your workforce and budget, you might be looking at a version that's somewhat like the one you shovel through, but sized for a skid-steer loader or larger front-end loader. The mechanical wonders are nice, but expensive, and I doubt your job is large enough for someone to haul one in and set it up, at least economically.

The small stuff goes through, the big stuff goes off the lower end. screening aggregate Picture found at aggman.com, though it's off on some blog platform with a different address.

After you sort out the rock and level the sand, put down geotextile fabric to prevent the sand and rock from mixing before you put the rock back on top.

Since your comment implies that you'll have at this with a shovel, rather than renting machines or hiring someone with them, I'd suggest dividing the site into a grid so you can do a manageable section and then move to the next section.

Here is a much smaller skid-steer loader and a screen suited to it, that could be easily moved if somone in your area has something like it and wants to work:

screener skid-steer screen

Images from www.omhproscreen.com

  • I have a hand made version of something like that. It's about 2' x 2' big. Works great for sifting toys out of sandboxes, etc. Was really hoping for something in between what I have and that contraption. Looks like I could be in for a lot of shoveling! Sep 6, 2014 at 22:31
  • I have one I use with a shovel that's about 2ft wide and 8 ft long with legs to prop it up at an angle. The angle is important for self-sifting - you throw stuff high on the screen and it self sorts as it rolls down, but it won't roll down if it's too flat. I sifted material for 300 feet of conduit backfill with that screen and a shovel & wheelbarrow.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 6, 2014 at 22:34
  • That's a pretty good idea. The one I made has handles and you have to shake it, like hunting for Dino bones. If I made a longer one with an incline if would work much better on the driveway stone! Sep 6, 2014 at 22:39
  • Yes, helps to specify that you were thinking of doing this by hand with a shovel. I don't know that I've got much for pictures of mine, and most I can find on the web at the moment are too short and far too flat. Anything that needs to be shaken, vibrated, or otherwise manipulated is not steep enough. Lenght helps that work. I made mine so the legs swing in flat beside it to move, and it can be set at pretty much any angle. Unlike the machinery, I just stand on the low side and shovel high onto it - throwing over the top is hard by hand, and not needed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 6, 2014 at 23:53
  • Well ideally I would rather not do it by shovel. But I think your prior comment was spot on, the project just isn't big enough to get somebody to drag a bunch of equipment out here. I'll probably start next spring and see what kind of progress I can make. Sep 7, 2014 at 0:04

I don't know that you'd want to use it for dealing with something as large as a driveway, but when I've had to sift rock out of a large amount of dirt, we built a two-person frame using:

The bread tray is wider than the concrete mixing bin, with rather wide holes in the base, but it's enough to support the hardware cloth. With two people on either end of the mixing bin, you can pull/push the tray with even a large load of gravel on top of it and shake it until the smaller material drops through the screen, then lift it up to dump it.

Of course, I happened to have the bread tray that sat at the loading dock of the office building I worked. You might have to try to buy one off of a bakery delivery person.

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