So… the kids have been really into digging in the dirt. Between them and the dog, a lot of plants have been destroyed, and we’ve been working on the yard to make it more kid-friendly.
We got a bunch of flagstone from a neighbor recently and I immediately started thinking about where we could add a small patio space. After reading a million garden design books, I’ve slowed down on my initial plans. I’m taking my time, gathering inspiration and dreaming about some big changes to make in the future, and the secondary flagstone patio plans are on hold.
We are creating a bit of a kid-zone though! Each summer is such a short window, and we don’t want to wait any longer to make it a space the kids can have fun with. The area nearest the back door, across from their clubhouse is getting an overhaul. I’d still like some grass out there for them (and for the dog), and that side of the yard gets the most sun so it seems like the best bet for giving it a go. We also want to add a sandbox*, and I gave the kids three options — each with a different type of cover.
They chose number three, which I had secretly hoped they would pick because it was my favorite of the bunch. It’s a sandbox! It’s a little fort! It’s cute! And I’m thinking it would be even more cute with a striped awning, flower boxes, a kid-sized chair… you know. The usual snowballing of projects.
Do you have a suggestion for the best material surrounding the sandbox though? Here are my thoughts.
Grass: If we already had a patch of lawn here, I’d just plunk the sandbox down. The entire back yard is filled with hostas and other plants though, mostly beneath the shade of two mature trees. Establishing grass will be already be tricky enough without the kids potentially throwing sand all around the area.
Pea Gravel: A rock garden type of thing? Could be a good companion to the sand — kind of a dinosaur dig / construction site vibe. We’d have to dig out a layer of dirt though, so there’s some work involved and it’s a more permanent change.
Mulch: Easy. Cover up that dirt with mulch, and done. The biggest drawback is that mulch doesn’t feel so nice on bare feet.
Something else? Use some of the flagstone? Who knows!? (Really. Who knows?)
The kids are pretty excited and we’re hoping to build the sandbox as soon as we can. What do you think it the best option to surround it?
*FYI: the cheap “play sand” that most of us think of for sandboxes is now thought to be a potential health hazard. An alternative is “safe sand” with no asbestos or silica, but it’s 10x the cost. The information out there is conflicting, but it’s something to be aware of and research.