A garden sieve can be a very helpful tool when sifting through leaf mould, compost, or general soil to make it as fine as you can and to remove all the lumps and bumps. There are lots of different types of garden sieve, and below we look over current options out there to buy and how to weigh up which sieve might be best for you.

What is a garden sieve?

Plants, especially seeds and seedlings, aren't that keen on big clumps of soil and large stones and rocks. A garden sieve can sift through your soil, leaf mould or compost so that the mix you never have too many bumps for your potting needs. A sieve can help break down clumps to leave a very fine soil that your new plants will thank you for.

How to make a garden sieve

If you're looking to be super resourceful, you could make a sieve yourself, out of an old plastic plant crate (recycle! reuse!), or using wire mesh. You'll need to make sure the holes are not too big and won't allow large chunks to slip through, and you'll need a wide a base as possible to allow lots of shake. If you're not that hands on, read on for a selection of sieves for the garden you can buy.

Is there a difference between a garden sieve and riddle?

The answer to that is no - a riddle is basically a large sieve used to separate garden soil chunks and organic matter.

Where to buy the best garden sieve for your soil

Simpaoutdoor Steel Garden Riddle Sieve

Garden sieve

This garden sieve comes in three different sizes, so you can choose which would work for you. If you're planning on a large amount of soil to be sieved then you might want to go for the 12mm mesh size, but it also comes in 6mm and 7mm. The green colour is a smart aesthetic and the diameter measures at 37cm for each of the sizes. It's nicely lightweight and measures at 7cm deep. Perfect for sieving through all the excess organic matter clumping up your soil and for making fine sowing medium for those new plants and delicate seedlings.

Spear and Jackson Garden Riddle

Garden sieve

This no-frills garden sieve is lightweight and durable. It has a chrome-plated steel frame with 10mm square baseplate holes which is perfect for removing anything too large for your seed compost. It comes with a one year guarantee and at £14.99 is an affordable option. In total the diameter of the sieve is 330mm.

Soil sieve stainless steel with three interchangeable mesh sizes

Garden sieve

The nice thing about this sieve is that you can adapt the sieve hole sizes according to the job you're doing and how fine you want your soil to be. There's a 30cm diameter sieve, which has three meshes you can slot in and out. The mesh holes are approximately 3mm, 5mm and 7mm and the whole set up is very lightweight and easy to use. The stainless steel shouldn't rust as long as it is dried after use and is sturdy.

More like this

Garden sieve

Garden sieve

This beautiful, classic garden sieve is handmade and is perfect for soil sorting. Made from iron, it measures 46cm width, 40cm depth and 12 cm height. Ideally you would wipe the sieve with a soft cloth after use to keep it clean and dry. This is the sort of sieve that will look lovely propped up in your garden but is very handy too! It measures at 0.5kg so is quite light.

Traditional wooden garden riddle

Garden sieve

This one is a little like the one above in its traditional aesthetic, and is different to the others in that it is made from wood. We love the old antique look and the 7mm galvanised mesh. The wood is fumigated poplar wood, so should protect against insect damage. It measures at 43 cm by 9.5cm depth. It's a little more expensive than several on this list but it will look rather lovely propped up in a potting shed or conservatory.

Small garden sieve

Garden sieve

Etsy is perfect for those little handy items that also look really great. This is no exception. A wooden box sieve or riddle with engraving on the front. Perfect for Mother's Day, but you can engrave it with whatever you fancy, or it can be left blank. It measures at 20cm x 20cm x 7cm and its rectangle shape means it's very handy for a potting bench.

Garden 2 in 1 sieve

Garden sieve

This garden sieve is made from recycled plastic and comes with an option of two screens one that has 6 mm holes and the other that has 12 mm holes. The meshes are made from galvanised woven wire and in total the sieve measures at 35 length x 35 width x 12.5 height. It's small, and simple, but very handy for your small-scale seed and compost potting jobs.

Handmade garden sieves and riddles from Overthrow

Sieve and riddle
© Lisa Linder

These beautiful handmade sieves are made by Steve Overthrow in a traditional way, made from Ash wood sourced from the hills near to where he works in Langport, Somerset. He uses both galvanised and copper wires and makes them to various dimensions. Read more about Steve and his craft in our sieve and riddle feature.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London