Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is a bioswale?

You may have unknowingly parked next to, landed in a plane, or drove past miles of bioswales in your life and not even knew they existed or more importantly their actual purpose.  Bioswales are large areas designed to both collect and treat stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces.  With increasing regulations to not just reduce stormwater runoff, but also to improve the water quality, bioswales have become an effective tool for this purpose.

Courtesy of


Keep in mind that here in Georgia and Metro Atlanta that the majority of precipitation events are 1 inch or less.  Therefore, those are the events most regulators, environmental groups, and engineers design plans to capture and return the water to the landscape in a manner that mimics nature.  Natural landscapes, such as forest, allow the water to infiltrate through the soil and either be stored, taken up by plants, or move as groundwater before recharging a downslope stream.  Impervious surfaces (roads, roofs, etc.) prevent this from occurring and water must be transported horizontally across the surface.


This stormwater is now being collected along parking lots and roads into bioswales.  Bioswales use a combination of vegetation and most importantly engineered soil placed on a specific grade to collect water and allow it to infiltrate into the soil and/or be taken up by the plants for evapotranspiration.  The soil is designed to filter the water from pollutants while providing plants a media to grow by using the water and excess nutrients filtered from the runoff.


Think of the soil as a sponge that soaks up water, stores some of it for plants to use, and allows the excess to recharge the groundwater below.  That’s the coolest ditch you ever saw, and some of the plants can even make the landscape look amazing!  So next time you run through the parking lot when it is raining, look where the water is flowing because it might just be into a bioswale.


For further in depth reading and if you are interested in learning more about stormwater here in Georgia check out the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual at:


Building your backyard beach

Bring vacation home and make your back yard or lake front property look and feel like a tropical paradise with beach sand.  There are many properties to consider when selecting sand for your beach including color, gradation, cleanliness, and pricing.  We actually offer several options of gradation and color, but regardless, all of our sands are washed to reduce unwanted contaminants.  As for gradation, a beach with a finer grain type of sand will feel more like the traditional beaches of the Florida Panhandle or the Caribbean, with a soft touch.  However, the smaller the size particle of sand the more likely it is to erode, so if you have a lot of wave action from nearby boaters you might consider a medium to coarse grade of sand to minimize erosion.  River Sand, Inc.’s beach sand can meet your color preference too, from bright white to an eggshell white (for those eyes that might be a little light sensitive or for those folks who want a more natural look).

Before you order a load of beach sand you may also consider a few other factors.  First, consider the topography of the area where you want to place the sand and make certain that storm water runoff is directed away from the beach to reduce the potential of your sand washing away.   Secondly, consider the required maintenance that will prolong the life and quality of your beach sand.  Maintenance may involve raking the sand back in place after heavy rainfall, and removal of weeds, sticks and leaves.  Maintenance may benefit from placing a non-woven geotextile fabric or landscaping fabric underneath the sand to prevent sub-base (clay) contamination and weed growth.  One last thing to consider is access
to the beach area for delivery.  Leaving an access or driveway for a delivery truck will require less time and effort to spread and replenish your beach sand. 


If you have questions about building your dream beach or just a place for the kids to play, please call River Sand for more information.


Remember that River Sand, Inc. can meet your beach sand needs, and our trucks can deliver any amount to any place in North Georgia and Metro Atlanta.

We have even helped build an underwater beach basketball court so let us know what you want to do!

River Sand consulted and supplied sand for an underwater basketball court for a kid’s camp.  The creative idea was dreamed up as a way to improve the experience for campers.  The lake level was lowered and graded initially.  A geotextile fabric was then staked down to separate the lake bottom from the sand.  Finally, an excavator placed the beach sand to grade to create the underwater court.  The result is a little slower paced basketball game, but really fun!

The benefits of topdressing your lawn…grow grass like a champ!!!


If you live here in Georgia and tried to grow any type of plant, then you know about our notorious Georgia red clay (dun-dun-duhhhh).

Georgia Red Clay

It is beautiful but too often the contractor grades out your home and at the same time strips the topsoil, leaving only the poor sub soil behind.  Don’t worry, it was left totally compacted too by the time the house was completed.  Last but not least your poor sod gets thrown on top of the nutrient and organic matter deficient, compacted dirt.  Good luck trying to keep your lawn healthy.  It will take more water, nutrients, herbicides, pesticides, and more to keep it looking up to par.

If by chance you actually do have good soil beneath your turf, keep reading because topdressing will maintain the healthy lifestyle of your turf.  After all, good soil conditions are like similar to living a balanced lifestyle ourselves.  When you have the proper nutrition, water, and exercise then you will look and feel better and have less weeds in your life.  It’s more work to get poor soil back into shape than to start with it from the beginning but topdressing can help in either situation.

Just like other plants your lawn turfgrass needs light, air, and water.  A deep healthy rootzone helps the plant thrive even through stressful conditions, such as a drought or extreme temperatures.

Healthy roots lead to great looks

Unfortunately, compacted soils with a high clay content (the typical stuff around here) make it difficult for roots to penetrate deep into the soil (which lacks nutrients and water anyway).  You can take a sample by cutting out a small patch with a shovel or knife.  If you notice the roots are less than a few inches we need to to help them out.  The compacted clay also prevents air and water from infiltrating into the soil so only the top portion of the soil gets any moisture before the excess water just runs off the lawn. 

The second issue that plagues turfgrass, especially healthy lawns, is thatch build up.  Thatch is basically decomposing organic matter developed by old stolons and rhizomes from turf growth.  It’s important to note that grass clippings do not contribute to thatch, so don’t worry about that.  Thatch collects between the leaves (green part) and the roots, so you really don’t see it without digging down to look at a sample of turf. Too much thatch actually prevents water and air from getting through and down to the roots.

Soooo, two things prevent water (along with nutrients) and air getting deep into the soil where it can last for days to continue to last between rainfall (or irrigation events).  Those two things are compacted clay soils and thatch.  The solution is to core aerate and topdress. 

Red clay soils beneath thatch build up.

Core aeration pulls plugs of dirt and thatch out of the profile and leaves them up on top.  Topdressing with sand [why use sand? read this] provides an amendment that reduces compaction and allows water and air to go deep into the soil.  Dragging the plugs back into the turf while you drag the sand is fine.  The additional air getting to the rootzone will help the excess thatch decompose properly as well.  Dethatching is another process that may be required if thatch is too excessive.

Topdressing yields great results!

As you may already know, you should only cut your grass no more than a third of its height at a time.  Often you break this rule when your lawn is not level and has humps or holes.  When the mower goes over these rough areas it scalps (cuts the grass too low) the grass and leaves only the tan/brown stems with no green leaves.  It looks terrible and is not good for the turf health either.  Topdressing in these areas smooths it up so that you are left with an even cut every time and sweet green grass.  You know the kind you look out the window and say wow look at my lawn!

If you are ready to get started or have questions please feel free to contact River Sand, Inc. for help.

The green grass dream!

Spring Arena Sand Tips

For many areas around the country, this winter has been above average in temperature and precipitation, especially in the southeast. If you own or operate equestrian grounds it’s likely this is making for some difficult spring maintenance. Before you start your maintenance process, consider these spring tips to ensure your equestrian sand or footing and base are in ideal condition for use. Continue reading Spring Arena Sand Tips

Dredging with Geotextile Tubes (Geotubes)

Geotextile tubes, also known as a Geotube®, are one of many innovative tools that River Sand, Inc. utilizes in our dredging projects. Hydraulic dredging often requires complicated mechanical equipment or the construction of a containment area to dewater the slurry, or sediment and water mixture, that is transported via a pipeline from a dredge. The advantage of a geotextile tube is that it increases the options for a dewatering area, which can be a parking lot, along a dam, or an open field. Continue reading Dredging with Geotextile Tubes (Geotubes)

Dredging Engineering Coursework Completed

Recently, Charles Parker, President, of River Sand completed the Dredging Engineering Short Course through the Center for Dredging Studies at Texas A&M University. It was the 41st Annual Class and had a record attendance this year from professionals in the dredging industry representing the US (from Alaska to Florida) and the world (from Europe to Africa). Continue reading Dredging Engineering Coursework Completed

What You Need to Know about USGA top dressing standards

The goal of any golf course, especially the putting green, is a slick, playable surface that can be maintained for years without a major course overhaul. To obtain this ideal, it’s important to build the course properly and pay special attention to the construction of the rootzone (soil). The USGA has tested and recommended a certain topdressing mixture that will ensure top-notch golf course greens that, properly maintained, will provide golfers with the type of course they expect. Continue reading What You Need to Know about USGA top dressing standards

Divot Sand Explained

The purpose of divot sand seems obvious. It’s a certain type of sand that’s used to repair those chunks of grass/green that are removed by the swing of a golf club. This is an ever present fact of golf course maintenance; often enough to call for a special type of sand used to repair it. But divot sand isn’t just regular sand, it’s a specifically formulated sand to improve future repair of divots. Continue reading Divot Sand Explained

Bunker Sand Explained

Of course firmness matters but the problem with this is that in addition to looking good on the links, bunker sand needs to have certain tangible characteristics to be properly functional.

One of the main concerns about bunker sand is irrigation. Will it flood after a heavy rainfall or will the bunker properly drain? Generally this issue is taken care of by installing a drainage system underneath the bunker and choosing the correct grain size sand. For instance, bunker sand that’s composed of more than 3% clay or silt is more likely to ‘pond’ after a rain shower. Choosing something like this in a heavy rainfall climate is unwise and will likely lead to much more upkeep and difficultly for the staff. Continue reading Bunker Sand Explained