I wheelbarrowed 10 tons of beach sand over 3 days. It cost me $125. This post describes the process in detail.
Step 1: Get the sand delivered to your driveway
I called Martin Marietta (402-359-5287) in Valley, NE. One truck delivery is $91 (up to 19 tons). Beach sand is $3.45/ton. Because 19 tons sounded excessive, I only ordered 10 tons: $125.
I would recommend checking the weather before ordering your beach sand. Wet sand is way too heavy and does not slide or move easily. Too much wind means sand all over your lawn and your neighbor’s — plus the extra work of fighting with the wind.
Step 2: Gather the tools
If you live on a lake and will be dumping sand on your beach on a regular basis, do yourself a favor and invest in a good wheelbarrow. I bought the cheapest I found and see how it looked at the end of 10 tons:
The bending happened mostly due to heavy wet sand (check the weather) but also because it was a cheap one. I would recommend buying one with something to hold on at the end other than just the bare pole, especially if you have any slopes from your driveway to your beach.
You will also need a scoop shovel. This shovel worked just fine:
Step 3: have a strategy
In past years, I took the wheelbarrow all the way down to the beach. Moving a wheelbarrow through sand is heavy work. This time I came up with a much better idea: stay above the retention wall and let gravity do the work:
Compared to last year, the ramp made the whole process orders of magnitude easier. All the sand ends close to the retention wall which is where you want it to be; with regular raking of the beach, the sand will gradually migrate away from the wall.
Step 4: wheelbarrow away
I moved the 10 tons all by myself. I could have asked or paid for help but I wanted to find out how long would it take for one person to move that much sand.
The first day I worked for 90 minutes straight. This is how much sand I moved the first day:
The second day I skipped CrossFit and instead moved sand for 2 hrs:
The 3rd day, it rained, so I took the day off. The 4th day I finished the job, but the sand was wet, heavy, and difficult to move. It did not slide down my ramp easily and had to get it off the bottom of the ramp manually multiple times. Despite that, it only took me 95 straight minutes to finish the job:
In summary, it took 300 minutes total — 100 minutes/session — to move 10 tons. I have been doing CrossFit 5 times a week for the past 5 years so I am in decent shape, but at 135 pounds of weight, I am by no means good at moving heavy stuff around.
What I would say is that thanks to CrossFit, I know how to squat appropriately while shoveling to avoid a back injury. In my pre-CrossFit days, I would have certainly ended up with a terrible back sprain.
Step 5: Spread the sand
This last step can be done gradually as you rake the sand every few days. I still went ahead and tried to distribute the sand a little anyway:
The lake has come further down over the past couple of weeks. I used the same sand to cover the new beach by raking it into the lakeshore: