Updated: Jul 19
Kids love sandboxes! They provide a safe outdoor space for them to get messy and creative in. The best part is it will get them out of the house and offer them hours of entertainment with very little attention needed from you!
When we built our sandbox a few years ago I thought to myself, this is Pinterest worthy! Since then I've had quite a few moms ask me about it, so I'd like to share how we did it! First I'd like to say that this is quite possibly one of the most expensive sandboxes ever created. Seriously, it took way longer than we thought it would and ended up costing us way more than we would have liked, but it's really cool! If you plan better than us and do more of the work yourself you could make an affordable backyard sandbox!
Not all parents like sandboxes because they are so messy. I personally have a love hate relationship with our sandbox. There are a couple of things to think about. Sand will get tracked into the house. The closer the sandbox is to the house, the more sand will get tracked in. Think about putting your sandbox at the opposite end of your yard, across the grass if you have grass. Take time to wash or dust your kids feet off before they come in the house. As your kids get older, they will get better about dusting themselves off.
We had a long skinny space along the side of our yard that wasn't being used. There were some rocks and rose plants there. It was next to a concrete slab, which is where we had our outdoor sitting area. At the time I had a two year old and a baby, and I needed a place where we could all hang out outside. I envisioned myself lounging on the outdoor couch while they played in the sandbox for years to come!
There are lots of how to instructions online for sandboxes. Some of them are really quite simple, just google it to get the basic understanding of how to build one.
My husband drew out the plans for the sandbox. We each had a couple of requirements. I wanted it to have some sort of hand/foot wash, and he wanted to make sure it was really deep! Then we found a handyman and asked him to build it. He charged us $25 per hour plus materials. He spent a lot of time just figuring things out, and troubleshooting. I mean a LOT of time. This is why it cost so much. Things we hadn't planned for were pipes in the area where the sandbox was going to be built. We had to cap them off while still making sure the ones that needed to pass by could. Before you choose a place for your sandbox, make sure you understand the pipe situation. I cannot stress how important this is, it could save you a lot of time and money!
Decide on any extras that you want, if any. We made a foot wash station out of stainless steel pipes and connected it to our landscaping pipes. The shelves are made out of wooden planter boxes I bought at home depot. My husband made the chalkboard out of wood and chalkboard paint. I originally wanted a bench at one end of the sandbox, but ended up cutting it out, because everything took longer than we planned. The sandbox had literally become a money pit!
You will need some sort of cover for your sandbox to keep the cats out. We went without one for about a year and then a neighbor's cat discovered the sandbox. I called a mobile screen company and had a large custom screen made to lay over the top. He charged me $100 for it. I take it off and put it back on every time my kids use the sandbox. Yes it's a bit of a pain, but it's much better than having your two year old pull out a cat poop and ask you what it is!
The great part about this sandbox is someday when the kids no longer play in it we can turn it into a small backyard garden area!