In pursuit of a simple, fabulous, imperfect life at home.

How to Build a Simple Happy Sandbox

Our Simple Happy Giant Yellow Sandbox

My twins turned two this week (How did this happen? Where have the last two years gone?)  and for their gift my husband and I (okay, mostly me) decided that we (meaning mostly him) would build a sandbox. 

Step 1:  Source some sand.

This will vary by region, obviously, but we found that buying landscape sand from a local landscape place is about a 1/4 the price of bagged play sand and works just fine.   If you need the sand delivered, closer is better because delivery, at least in our neck of the woods, costs more than the sand itself.

We needed about 24 cubic feet of sand, which is about forty eight 50lb bags of play sand, which would have cost us upwards of 200 dollars.  Yikes.  After some calling around, we were able to buy one cubic yard (27 cubic feet) of landscape sand for 18 dollars plus a 20 dollar delivery fee.  Much better.  Phew

Step 2: Cut the boards

We started with four 8 foot long spruce 2x10's.  My hubby cut the four sandbox sides to be 73 1/2 inches long (6 feet plus the 1 1/2 inch width of the 2x10. Yes...a 2 by 10 is really 1 1/2 x 9 1/4.  Silly, I know.) and used the leftovers to make 4 triangular "seats" that add sturdiness to the corners of the box.

Step 3: Sand Boards

I meant to get a picture of my husband sanding the boards and got distracted by his adorable little helper.  Blogger picture taking fail.

Step 4: Paint boards

We used 2 coats of the paint leftover from when I painted our front doors.  I *love love love* this colour lately.  

Step 5: screw sandbox sides together.

We laid an old tarp underneath to discourage grass and weeds from growing up through the sand.

Step 6: Screw seats to the corners. 

Step 7: Fill with sand and add a cute beach umbrella for shade. 

Step 8: Reconcile yourself to the fact that your house will be sandy all summer long.   Tell guests it's part of a beach theme you've got going on.

Cost Breakdown
sand......................................45.00 (including taxes and tip)
leftover paint and old
Pretty Umbrella.....................10.00

Total cost of giant happy sandbox.........95$
Totally worth every penny!

Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  


  1. I would love one of these- we are "planning" to move by this time next year, so I probably should wait! But I will refer to this when the time comes! Have you had any issues with animals getting into the box to relieve themselves?! A friend of mine has a sandbox and she has a big problem with the neighborhood cats!

    1. Hey Nichole. We don't have much of a problem with neighbourhood cats....hopefully it stays that way! ;)

    2. I'd still be cautious. We had to dismantle our sandbox last year but the next one will have a cover. We didn't think we had any cats in the neighborhood ... until one day my 18mth old started playing with a brown "rock" in the sandbox. Eww.

  2. Your sandbox is darling and I love how you've outlined your project, but I would recommend adding about half the sand you did. Kids have an easier time digging and playing in it when they can move it around and no matter what you do, you will soon have piles of sand around the edge of the box. With less sand in the box, this happens less often. Kids need room for mountains, tunnels and trails without spillage issues! Plus, less sand=less money, right?!
    Covers are also a must in our area, but perhaps cats/animals are less plentiful where you live. 2-3 hinges on a piece of plywood have worked fine.

    1. Thanks for your comment. We weren't able to order less than a cubic yard of sand, so less sand would have actually cost more money because we would have been forced to buy it in bags.

  3. We built a sandbox for our 1st daughter's 1st birthday. It is such a fun place for our kids and when other kids come to play. We have also gotten *pretty* good at having the kids leave their shoes at the door. The 10 square feet near the door are always sandy, but better that than the entire house! I love the tarp underneath. We used garbage bags and grass is already growing through. Oh well!! Hope your littles have lots of fun in that happy-looking sandbox!

  4. I love the color yellow too! It is so bright and happy and perfect for your sand box! I know your girls will have many happy, sandy hours playing and it is a great place for photo opps!

  5. That sandbox is awesome! And I love the idea of getting sand from a landscaper. We are going to need a ton of sand in a couple of years for our swim area in the lake. Now I have an idea where to find it cheaper.

    Also happy birthday to the girls!

  6. I love it and I absolutely adore the color! Y'all did a great job! I'm totally going to have to drop hints to the hubby about this project.

    And please don't think I'm trying to be negative, but I feel like I must give you a tiny warning. As a child we had a similar sandbox at our house. One summer I was stung pretty badly by a scorpion who was hanging out under the eaves of the sandbox. So just please keep an eye on that... I certainly don't want anything biting those precious babes of yours.

  7. I love it! My son has been begging us for a sandbox. (We gave him a dirt area, but apparently that isn't fun enough.) I think I will have to build this!! Thanks!

    And how are the twins 2?!?! I started following your blog shortly after they were born! Doesn't seem like 2 years ago!:)

  8. Beautiful sandbox ! We built one too, two years ago, and my 6 yo daughter still enjoy playing inside.

    I would highly recommand to find something to cover it during the nights, or the days you are away : if there are cats in the neighboroud, they probably will use it as their litter box... (been there)

  9. sandboxes are the best - my DD7 lived in hers from 18 months to 5 years when we moved houses, and it's still used by her friends who moved into the house!

    one additional suggestion/tip - we tacked a piece of shadecloth to one edge and weighted the other edge of cloth with a piece of timber - used it as a cover - it meant that the cats didn't use the box at night and that the rain could wash through the sand without puddling.

  10. Very cute sandbox. We bought one plus the sand for around the same price, but yours is probably 3x larger! However, I would highly recommend a cover. If there are ANY cats in the neighborhood, they will find it and use it, most likely at night when you won't know they did so. If any of those cats have worms and the kids play in the sand and then put their hands in their mouths, they can end up with worms, too. It's easily treatable but also easily preventable. :)

  11. It turned out great! Two is the perfect age for sand play.

    We used landscape fabric under our sand to keep weeds from growing through and allow for drainage. Is your tarp waterproof?

    1. The tarp would've been waterproof originally, but it definitely isn't was very old and worn. That's why we repurposed it for this project!

  12. love sandboxes! i had so much fun in them when i was small. fond memories of building castles and moats. some ideas for the problems people posed..
    -to keep beasties and buggies from climbing in (scorpion?) use some trim to extend the inner rim of the box into the sand.
    -painters tarp is great and screening stapled to two 2x4's to keep cats/rain out
    -sprinkle some cinnamon inside to keep off the fire ants or little nipping bugs. they hate cinnamon, idky. cinnamon smells great.
    -dust off sandy legs with some baby powder in a cloth. just don't sprinkle it near them, breathing it is no good for little lungs. but it's amazing for shedding sand fast!

    hope that helps. good luck!

  13. Super cute, as always... love the yellow. Good luck with the sand washing! I'm sure this will be well-loved by all your kids, older and younger. :)

  14. Cute sandbox! The best thing we put in our yard two years ago was our grandchildren's sandbox. (We made it out of my potting table, which was made from an old waterbed someone gave us.) I looked over your organizing posts ( which is how I found your blog). They are just wonderful! Thanks!


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