When shopping for soil and sand supplies for a home project, you may not realize the differences between all the various products. Soil, sand, gravel and other such materials may look very similar, but they have some very different qualities that can easily affect their use on your property. Before you buy any type of raw or bulk soil, sand, gravel, stone and so on, note a few of those important differences here.

1. Sand

Silica sand has a very fine texture, close to the sand you would find on the beach. It's best for when you may be walking in the sand, such as when you're creating your own mini golf course and want to add some sand traps or when you're creating a sandbox for the children.

However, because it's so soft, silica sand is not the best choice for levelling or grading your property or for holding the weight of paver stones. For these jobs, you want actual grading or levelling sand. This sand is thicker and has a higher composition of crushed stone. It may not feel as soft under your feet, but it will be stronger against any weight it must bear; grading sand can also be mixed in with soil in order to make it stronger and to protect a sloped or hilly property from small landslides.

2. Soil

Fill dirt is dirt that is relatively free from impurities and rocks and is strong enough for filling in trenches and pits. Topsoil has more nutrients in it, so it's the better choice for gardens and landscaping areas. Note that you usually only need a small layer of topsoil, just as deep as plant roots, so don't fill in an entire area with this expensive dirt; add fill dirt first and then topsoil over this for healthy vegetation.

3. Gravel and rocks

Lime gravel will help stop the flow of water on your property, so it's best for retaining trenches where you're trying to protect your home's foundation from water damage. River rock gravel is not as strong as other forms of gravel, but it has a smooth and shiny appearance, and lava gravel has a reddish appearance that makes it very unique while also being somewhat soft and easy to crush. Use these around landscaping features where they won't be stepped on, but opt for granite gravel for a driveway or walkway. Crushed shell gravel is tough and durable but not very attractive; use this to mix into a batch of concrete to give it durability.

For more information on soil and sand supplies, contact a company like Freds Lagoon Hardware.