Asked on Nov 27, 2015

Sandbags for landscaping

by Bobbie
Has anyone ever used sand bags to border a driveway or flower bed ? We are buying a place in the woods with no sidewalks ( yet ), no paved drive way ( yet ). I was thinking if I filled them with dirt, could I line the driveway ( it twists and curves around ) and poke holes in them and put low growing, spreading plants in them to eventually hide the bags themselves. I was thinking about creeping phlox or something like that. There are lots of trees and I thought about starting moss in the all day shady areas on them. Am I crazy ?
  20 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 27, 2015
    I have never heard of using sandbags for landscaping,although a very different idea the bags eventually would fall apart. I am suggesting to send photos of the area as well as the light structure, Your creeping phlox will not work in shade,
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Nov 27, 2015
    I know the bags will not last long. Lots of sunny area for the phlox. Was thinking moss from the woods painted on the bags leaving some small holes if needed for rooting. I have phlox at our current home that did very well in the shade as did my neighbor. But things are different in the south where we are not so weather challenged. And I may be calling it by the wrong name. What I have is low to the ground and covered in pale purple blooms in the spring. Stays green all year around. Thank you.
    • See 1 previous
    • Bonnie Bonnie on Nov 27, 2015
      @Bobbie Creeping phlox can do okay in partial shade if it gets some sunlight during the day. Deep shade it will not flower. And in answer to your question, yes, you can fill bags with dirt and poke holes to growing creeping plants/flowers to line your driveway. It will be labor intensive but if you're looking for an inexpensive way to make edging it will work well. If you change your mind at some point and decide to put in a more permanent material, the dirt can be easily raked away and leveled.
  • Willow Gates Landscaping Willow Gates Landscaping on Nov 27, 2015
    You may be thinking of phlox divaricata, aka woodland phlox, which is usually blue/purple and does indeed do well in the woods.
  • Carole Carole on Nov 27, 2015
    I saw an interesting idea on Gardening Australia I think it was. Or it might have been Better Homes and Gardens. They used hessian and made a roll of it so you can shape it to fit the curves. This was filled with garden soil/growing medium rather than sand. They cut some slits in the rolls and inserted seedlings that would grow and form a dense edge of flowers marking the border so that as the bags deteriorate, you have a sort of hedged edging of plants. It looked really good! Any hessian bag or sand bag would probably fall apart eventually so this seems like a better option as even if it takes a very long time to happen it gives the edges some camouflage so that you are not just looking at ugly sandbags and leaves a lovely established edge of flowers once the bags do break down. Be sure to use plants that are not just annuals (last for one season) though or you will be back to square one when they die off (probably sooner than the bags break down). Good luck!
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Nov 27, 2015
    In Florida, we mix concrete with sand in cloth bags and stack them to create a wall for a boat ramp or seawall. Very long nails are inserted into them. The moisture from the ground, or any other water will cure them making them permanent. Eventually the cloth will disintegrate leaving the concrete bare. Not a difficult project, but heavy.
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Nov 27, 2015
    I'm not familiar with hessian. What is it and where do you get it ?
  • Valerie Valerie on Nov 28, 2015
    I personally would advise against your original idea. I know that even when I buy bags of potting soil, it is only a matter of time before the bags disintegrate creating an enormous mess. If the idea is to define the driveway, and you are looking for a low or no cost solution, I would think of using rocks until you have a more permanent solution.
    • See 1 previous
    • Valerie Valerie on Nov 28, 2015
      @Bobbie The secret is always to look carefully at what is readily available. If you are next to a forest, what about branches? If you have logs available, you could either lay them on their side, or better still, cut them into sections of about 15 inches high (or whatever height suits you) and line them up along the driveway. Dig them in slightly so that they do not 'move' around. Once you have put in the driveway, you could then remove them, cut them again and use them as stepping stones.
  • Judy Roberts Judy Roberts on Nov 28, 2015
    I've used fallen tree trunks/limbs to line a pathway through the woods. Depends on how much material you have available but it's totally natural.
  • Dot D Collett Dot D Collett on Nov 28, 2015
    Do you want a raised berm lining your drive or a fill area to level the surface? Where will the rain water flow away from your house? Here in mid Missouri burlap would last about one growing season, by the next it would be gone. The woven plastic that is being used for sand bags would probably last 3 to 5 years where it is exposed to UV. There are black woven plastic tubes you fill will mulch/dirt/gravel/sand available from construction / landscaping supply companies. Take your time and observe what happens to that area throughout the year.
    • Bobbie Bobbie on Nov 29, 2015
      @Dot D Collett I just want to define the drive way and a few nice groupings of trees.
  • 861650 861650 on Nov 28, 2015
    Was reading all the answers and decided to google, "how to make a natural driveway," and found tons of information. You may want to check this out. Happy hunting!
  • Lori T Lori T on Nov 28, 2015
    How about a foot wide path of rocks all the way down. It could be a good barrier so that when you plow for the winter or salt , it doesn't burn the grass.
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Nov 28, 2015
    This is very sandy soil. I haven't seen a single rock there .
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Nov 29, 2015
    Make a permanet fix and not sandbags.
  • Rebecca B Rebecca B on Nov 29, 2015
    If this is a permanent fix the sandbags will not hold up for years. My husband and I had a problem with sloping yard where water runoff eroded the gravel driveway and lawn. We couldn't afford the expensive landscaping blocks sold at stores so we bought bags of concrete. We did not open the bags or remove the paper from the concrete. We lined the area with one row of the bags and wet them down until they hardened which took about a week. We removed the paper from the concrete then and stacked another row on top of the first row. We stacked them in alternating fashion on top of one another. Then we watered the bags every day for a week or until the concrete inside was completely hardened. We removed the paper after each row was hardened. We continued in this fashion until we had three rows of hardened concrete.The paper served as a shaping mold for the concrete. We painted the concrete wall with a specialty paint made for concrete. It has lasted 19 years and still looks good.
    • See 2 previous
    • Rebecca B Rebecca B on Dec 17, 2015
      @Liliana Wells No I do not have any photos. I am in a different state at this time for the Winter and will not return to my home until late Spring or early Summer so I can not take photos and post them at this time.
  • Dot D Collett Dot D Collett on Nov 29, 2015
    Bobbie, I've been playing/creating landscapes for about 35 years now (70 this year). I've learned that it is better to buy the edging and wall blocks to do this type of thing. Your biggest investment is your time and energy so it is better not to work with materials that will not last or require to much time. Work on a section at a time as you have money and time. It will not matter if the blocks do not match, might even be interesting. One budget saver might be to use broken or cut concrete from construction sites or recycle lots but it will take longer to place. One of the deciding factors on my last project this summer was that it was easier and worthwhile to pay a $100 delivery fee for 1000+ lbs of wall blocks on a pallet. Placed out of the way, I could use them when I was ready and had the pallet to DIY later. Happy Landscaping! Don't to forget to plant milkweed for the monarchs.
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Nov 29, 2015
    Good Idea . I am from McAlester, OK !!
  • Dot D Collett Dot D Collett on Nov 30, 2015
    I like McAlester. That's my overnight stop when I drive to visit in Texas every year. It's beautiful country with the rolling hills and mingled forest and field.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Dec 06, 2015
    Check on Craigslist for free rocks or rocks for sale. You will probably have to pick them up.
  • Deb K Deb K on May 11, 2023

    Hi Bobbie, I hope this helps you out. You sure can!

  • Mogie Mogie on May 16, 2023

    Sand bags are not a fix that will last. Unless you enjoy that type of work look into something that is going to be permanent.