What to Put in Between Pavers (Sand vs Stones)

Although polymeric sand is highly recommended for use in between pavers, there are a few disadvantages that you need to consider.

If you’re just in the process of laying some pavers around your yard, you might be wondering what you should put between the gaps in the pavers. Should you use sand or stones?

In this guide, I’m going to run through the pros and cons of using either material.

Using sand in between your pavers

Sand Between Pavers | Building & Landscaping Materials

Sand is probably the most common filler in between pavers. Using the right type of sand will not only fill the gaps but also allow your pavers to stabilise and prevent weeds from coming through the cracks.

Polymeric sand

The most recommended of the different sands available is polymeric sand or paving sand. This specialist sand contains a mixture of silica and quartz. The silica is a binding agent that helps to hold the sand in place. 

Polymeric sand | Building & Landscaping Materials

This creates a fairly strong bond between your pavers that is less likely to be eroded by weather. This paving sand is also available in a range of colours to suit the colour of your pavers.

Another advantage of using polymeric sand is that weeds will generally not take root and grow between the pavers. And, you’ll find that you won’t have a problem with moss either.

Finally, you should never have an ant problem if you use polymeric sand in between the pavers.

Coarse, granular sand

Another popular choice recommended by paving specialists is coarse, granular sand or masonry sand. As the grains of sand are relatively coarse, they help to keep the pavers in place.

Regular sand

As a last resort, you can use regular sand to hold your pavers in place but it won’t be quite as effective as the other two choices mentioned above. 

Are there any disadvantages?

Although polymeric sand is highly recommended for use in between pavers, there are a few disadvantages that you need to consider.

In order to apply this sand correctly, it needs to be moistened to activate the polymers within the sand. This means you have to work quickly to get the sand in the cracks, otherwise, the sand grains can stick to the surface of the pavers and ruin their appearance.

For this reason, it’s really important that you closely follow the instructions and never attempt to apply this sand between your pavers if it’s about to rain.

RELATED: How to Get Rid of Moss on Pavers

Using stones in between your pavers

If you are planning on spacing your pavers, a popular alternative filler is stones or fine gravel. This adds another dimension to your landscape and can be very effective.

One of the benefits of using gravel or stones in between your pavers is that these materials are porous and the water will soak through to the soil beneath rather than running off or pooling.

stones in between pavers | Building & Landscaping Materials

You also have a wide choice when it comes to the type of gravel that you choose. And, there is also a range of different colours that you can choose from to compliment your landscape.

Gravel is fairly easy to place in between your pavers and doesn’t require any special kind of preparation.

Are there any disadvantages to using gravel in between your pavers?

One of the main disadvantages of using gravel in between your pavers is that some of the gravel will get dislodged from time to time. This means you’ll have to sweep your pavers more often than you would when using sand.

Gravel is also only suitable for use between pavers that are well-spaced and is not a good solution for pavers that are laid close together. 

You’ll also find that you might need to top up the gravel or stones from time to time. Plus, you have to ensure that the gravel is laid thick enough so that weeds are unable to break through the surface.

What not to use between your pavers

You now know what is recommended for use between your pavers, but it also helps to know what you should avoid.

Avoid using mortar in between your pavers. This does not provide enough flexibility and can be prone to cracking, especially in the range of weather conditions that we experience here in Australia.

It’s also recommended that you avoid using fine sand in between your pavers. As the grains are so small and don’t provide any stability, they can easily be washed away when it rains.

Which is better for in between pavers: sand or stones?

If you plan to lay your pavers fairly close together and you just need something to fill in the small gaps, then sand is definitely your best choice.

If you use something like polymeric sand, you’ll also deter both weeds and insects.

On the other hand, if you want to create a more natural-looking landscape with lots of interest, consider spacing your pavers further apart and use gravel or small stones to fill in the gaps.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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