How to Build a Sandpit in Your Backyard

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Do your kids love digging in the sand at your neighborhood park? Here are easy do-it-yourself instructions for how to build them their very own sandpit at home…

Sandpit

  • First you need to select an appropriate area. Look for an area that gets enough sunlight during the day to dry the sand after a rainstorm, but also has shade part of the day, so your kids don’t get sunburned every time they’re in it. Try not to locate it right under a tree.

The shade is nice, but you’ll have a constant rain of leaves, twigs, and possible nuts or fruit falling into the play area.

You also want to avoid areas likely to have a lot of buried tree roots, because you’re going to be digging a bit. Ideally, your perfect spot should also be where an adult can see them playing by looking out a convenient window.

Okay, not that you’ve found your spot, decide how big you want your sandpit to be. Five or six feet square is a pretty handy size if you just have one young child. If you have more or older kids, you may want to make it a bit larger. Mark the corners of the area you decide on.

You can drive a stake into the ground, or put a dab of spray paint; anything just to make sure you don’t lose your place when you start digging.

  • Now grab that shovel! Dig down about a foot, (maybe two feet if your kids really like to dig deep!), removing the dirt from the area you’ve marked off. You’ll need to put the dirt somewhere. If you have holes or low spots elsewhere in the yard, you an use it up that way.

You can also bank it against existing trees, they can use a bit of extra soil at the base to fight erosion.

  • Next, it’s time for a trip to your favorite building supply or home improvement store. You’ll need three things. The first is something to lay across the bottom of your new sandpit. You want something that will keep any type of plants from growing up through it.

Ask about ‘garden fabric’. If you have trouble finding that, you may consider just getting a heavy tarp to lay under there.

Sand

  • The second thing you need is sand, of course. Make sure you get ‘play sand’. Don’t go home with construction or landscaping sand; those are totally different products.
  • Finally, you need something to define the edge of the sandpit. I suggest 4 by 4 or 6 by 6 weather treated wood. (They’re often called ‘railroad ties’.) Make sure that you tell the staff at the store that you’re wanting something that can be used outside.

If you use wood that isn’t weather treated, it will rot after it’s outside a while.

If you’d rather that your sandpit not be edged with wood, you could also consider interlocking garden stones. This landscaping device literally ‘locks’ block to block in a line, making a strong little wall around your pit.

What ever you choose, give your sandpit’s dimensions to the personnel at the store, so that you com home with enough to go all the way around.

  • Lay your garden fabric or tarp into the sandpit first, then put in your edging. If you get the stones, you’ll just line them up, locking them together as you go, all around the edges or your sandpit.

If you use wood, lay the pieces in place, and then screw them together at the corners, so that they make a good sturdy frame.

  • Lastly, you’ll pour in your play sand. If you want to make it interesting, toss in a few ‘buried treasures’ before the sand goes in. That’ll give the kids something to hunt for in their new sandpit.

Happy digging!

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