How To Move Gravel Without a Wheelbarrow – A Simple Method

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Figuring out how to move gravel without a wheelbarrow can cause you to think of the craziest ideas, when the most straight forward idea is the best idea.

The Two Bucket Method

Early this week I had a job to move a bulk bag of gravel from the front of a house to the back of a house, across some scaffold boards, up some concrete steps to where eventually a fake grass area will be laid.

We did try this route with a wheel barrow, which was scarily dangerous and very time consuming.

Ideas started flying about how we could get the stone up to the top the easiest, quickest and the safest way.

We discussed hiring a conveyor belt (very expensive) to building our own pulley crane system (ridiculous).

The Plan

We were racking our brains thinking how to move gravel without a wheelbarrow.

And that’s when the light bulb hit…What about using two buckets!

In the UK, a standard bucket has a max load carrying weight of 15kg.

That’s a total of 30kg moved at any one a time!

The bulk bags that were delivered to the property each weighed an 850kg.

Crunching the numbers we worked out that it would take 56 buckets to transfer 850kg to the back of the house.

The only problem was how long would it take?

It was near enough 90 feet to the (soon to be) fake grassed area, and we both agreed it would probably take us 5-6 minutes to fill each of our two buckets, walk to the fake grass area, empty the buckets and come back.

Which worked out that each bulk bag would take an one hour and twenty seven minutes (1hr 27mins) to shift.

Put It Into Action

We put the plan into action, filling up both of our two buckets (at the same time) and made our way to the area together (for moral support and a good chin wag,ha).

No rushing, just a steady pace.

Each time we emptied the buckets we made a tally chart on a piece of timber just to see how many buckets it would take.

The Result

Moving all the gravel from one bulk bag took a total of one hour and twelve minutes (1hr 12mins).

And a total of 50 buckets…

It was daunting that it would take forever, even when we worked out the numbers.

But to be honest, just over an hour, two men, two buckets each, 850kg of gravel, it’s not a bad job at all.

We also realised using the two bucket method, that each bag was not the 850kg it is advertised at.

I would say at maximum (going by our numbers etc), there was a good 100kg missing.

It was also evident, when we spread the gravel out in the area we had measured, there wasn’t enough.

As we say in England…We’ve been shafted!

Is it worth the argument for the missing gravel? I will leave that with you.

Did This Post Help?

Hopefully using the two bucket method will save you becoming confused on how to move gravel without a wheelbarrow.

If you can, grab a friend to help, and the job will be as quick as ours.

We did have a cuppa half way through…It was hard graft, not going to lie!

If you have any other method, maybe using a plastic snow sledge (that has just come to mind,ha)? Let us know in the comments section below.

Each and every week I put my heart and soul into providing you with great content to help with any DIY jobs around the home.

If you think this post could help someone you know, please share.

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6 thoughts on “How To Move Gravel Without a Wheelbarrow – A Simple Method”

  1. Tom Janik says:

    Hi,
    I typed in “how to move gravel the easy way’ and your story came up . The easy way, looks like you had quite a time of it! In any case I have to get gravel to set up a base under a new shed to be delivered. I have to get the gravel over a 1+ meter wall and then up an incline a distance of 30 meters. Trying to use metrics to explain makes this more difficult for me so that’s it for the metrics! I plan on picking up the gravel in my pickup truck and have 5 gallon (sorry no metrics) buckets covering the whole bottom of the truck bed. The stone yard will dump partial loads int the truck/buckets. Most of it will fall into place, I hope! I also hope the stone yard will not mind or charge extra for the partial loading. the plan is when I bring them back they will be loaded to haul over the wall onto a large dump cart(1,000 pound capacity) pulled by my garden tractor. Looks like 7 loads of 14 buckets each! Plus the 7 trips to the stone yard with my truck! At 71, with a bad back I know I’ll be suffering for days after. Oh well, you do what you have to do!
    Nice reading your story and seeing the pictures. Thanks

    1. sherlockmaintenance says:

      Hi Tom,

      We did have quite a time with it, but with plenty of banter and a few tea breaks we managed to keep sain. Your task makes mine look like it was a walk in the park, and at 71 I take my hat off to you, hopefully I’m as robust as you when I reach 71. Hopefully the stone yard will be totally understandable (I’m adamant they will be). Tom do you live in the UK? Sounds like you could do with some help if you don’t live too far away? Thanks very much for the comment, I appreciate it šŸ˜‰

  2. Tamsin says:

    I have to carry about 1 tonne of gravel up a set of steep steps that is equivalent to the height of my house. Iā€™m definitely not as strong as you, so Iā€™m trying to decide if I need to construct some sort of pulley system, or perhaps try this method, but with smaller buckets

    1. sherlockmaintenance says:

      Tasmin I would give you a hand if you lived local to me (Nottingham) but a pulley system was an idea I toyed with before we went ahead with the buckets. If your steps are a straight run, you could lay some lengths of timber than span the steps and then make a sled that you could load up with buckets and then pull the sled with a rope from the top of the steps, sort of like a world strongest man event šŸ˜‰

  3. Mia Evans says:

    It’s great to know that that, in just an hour, two men and some buckets can move 850 kg of gravel. I guess we can definitely achieve the gravel drag for ATV that we want for the piece of land that my brother has and use it this weekend. We still have a couple of days, and it seems really exciting to do the activity soon.

    1. sherlockmaintenance says:

      Mia, that ATV will make the job so much easier! Less sweat and tears,haha…Thanks for the comment!

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