Gardening

DIY Backyard Sandbox

Happy March, everyone! No sweeter words have been spoken. It’s time for getting outside, digging in the dirt, getting some much needed sunshine, and a less-news-more-focusing on the happy time of the year. It might still be cold where you are, and I’m pretty convinced we are still in store for another snow storm, but I’m going to seize our 60 degree days each time God gives them to us.

I originally shared this DIY years ago (was it really May of 2018?!), but with the changing temperatures, I spent the morning yesterday cleaning up this backyard space and sprucing it up for another season. My boys have spent year after year, season after season, warm days and cool ones, in this backyard sandbox. It’s never lost its luster. And when it was time to refill the sand and replace the mulch this weekend, they were beyond the moon excited to help. This is an all-time favorite space in our yard and I just have to share it again!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS PROJECT

THE PROCESS

First step is truly determining where in your yard you want to have this sandbox. My thoughts centered around having enough sunshine that it wasn’t always going to be a little chilly for the kids during the spring and fall months, off to the edge of the yard, and my ability to see the kids playing in the sandbox from the back porch and kitchen windows.

From there, we set out with a can of spray paint to map out how we wanted the sandbox to be shaped. Marking up our yard with spray paint showed me exactly how big the sandbox would be, the mulch border, and how it presented itself size-wise. Mapping it out on paper was not near as successful as it was to actually get into the space and draw it out on the grass.

We ended up creating a 11′ x 4′ sandbox that measures 16′ x 8′ with the mulch border.

To stop grass growth underneath and to level out the ground, we used the handheld claw tiller to rip up and smooth out the ground. This also allows for you to easily place your landscaping edging into the ground in exactly the shape you’re looking for by having the top layer of soil tilled.

Place your landscape edging into the ground based on packaging instructions. Ours instructed us to have a 4″ trench to place the edging into. With the ground already tilled, this was extremely simple to do. There are several other plastic edgings on the market right now that use stakes which may be faster to do if you don’t mind having stakes around your edging.

Next, we rolled out the weed barrier and cut to fit inside the edging. This step is vital to keep weeds out of your sandbox and mulch area, and will save you so much heartache year after year!

It’s time to lay out our pavers…you’re almost done! We really wanted this space to have a little character and match the curve of our landscape beds around the house. Nothing in our backyard has straight angles so this was necessary for us to match. So with our pavers, we created this flowing border to create a little something extra to this space.

Finally, it’s time to add in your favorite mulch and bags of play sand to this space. With our original fill-up, our sandbox took 5 bags of mulch and 6- 50 lb. bags of play sand. It will all depend on your size and how deep you’d like it to be.

COST BREAKDOWN

If you already own some of the materials, like we did, you will not be spending as much on this project. I will list the cost based on the size of our sandbox area and as if you don’t own anything and you’ll be starting this project from scratch.

TOTAL COST: $214.01

Each year, I purchase 3 bags of mulch and 2 bags of play sand (always totaling under $20) to freshen up this area and make it shine for the next year. A simple, under one hour, project that freshens up the space for your little ones to enjoy all year long.

When it comes to outdoor toys, the Kemper kids have been there, done that, tested and worn out their fair share of them. These are the long-lasting, play with them year after year, fan favorites of ours and our neighborhood kids. Always a great time and ones that keep those little ones enjoying the outdoors all year long.

Bunch O Balloons // I buy these almost every single time I do a Target run. 100 water balloons filled up and tied off in seconds. Long are the days of standing at a hose for hours. These are life-changing!

Little Gardener Tool Set // I’m a huge gardener and I want to instill that in my kids, as well. These tools are sturdy and get great reviews.

Ride-On Sand Digger // We got this toy as a birthday gift a few summers ago and it’s still one of the first things they run to in our sandbox. Heavy but not too difficult for even your little ones!

Radio Flyer Light-Up Scooter // This is one of my dream summer items that we don’t own, but can you just imagine having those late summer nights when it’s just getting dark, lightning bugs flying around, fire pit rolling, American flag flying, and your little one lighting up the driveway with this scooter? Normal Rockwell painting. Awesome reviews on this scooter!

Metal Wheelbarrow // If your little ones are anything like mine, when you’re working in the yard, they want to be right beside you doing the same exact thing.

Spinning Sprinkler // One of my girlfriend’s has this for her little ones and they LOVE it! And their dog loves it even more.  

Giant Outdoor Jenga Game // I actually had a co-worker make this game for me as an engagement gift years and years ago (was it really 10 years already?!), and it stands as a huge hit for kids and adults alike. The game starts at 2.5′ tall, which makes it easy for even your littlest ones to play, too!

HUGE Unicorn Sprinkler // Summer bucket list is basically this toy. Horn to toe, this stands at 108″ x 80.” Reviews say it inflates easily (score!), sprays upwards of 7 to 8 feet, and has the durability to stay inflated and keep it’s shape multiple hot summer days!

Kids Archery Set // Another Amazon product with great reviews about how durable and easy to use it is. The arrows (comes with 3) are topped with a suction cup so super safe for indoor or outdoor use. I love how you can even order 8 extra arrows (maybe we can save ourselves a few arguments over who gets to hold the arrows) at just $10 more.

3-Pack Squirt Gun Set // The Easter Bunny brought these water guns to the boys last year and they have held up so well, even after almost daily use. No trigger on these so even the littlest hands can maneuver. Bonus: This used to be a listing for a 2-pack and now they offer THREE!

Plasma Car // Okay, if you know my kids or live in my neighborhood, you know that my boys are OBSESSED with their plasma cars. We ride these to the park down the street all the time, and on the rainiest days, even bring them inside (we got soft wheel replacements to protect our hardwoods). These cars hold up to over 200 pounds, so you better believe these are fun for kids and adults alike. 

Tree Swing // My brother and sister-in-law bought Jackson a tree swing similar to this one (ours is currently sold out online) and it has been a dream for my boys. It’s a spot of relaxation, imagination, and fun. This particular one has 5-stars on Amazon and the reviews are glowing!

Get outside, dig in the dirt, and soak in that sunshine. We all deserve a little bit of Vitamin D therapy!

xx Rachel

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