Exterior & Garden The Victorian House

Progress on the Kids’ Sandbox

The sandbox and its cover/fort took about a day to build. The instructions only called for a screwdriver and a wrench, but a T-square and tape measure were helpful additions, and I also picked up some landscaping fabric to line the bottom that I’ll staple into place.

Building a Sandbox

Sandbox, awaiting placement

(I hate those bigfoot and yeti toys. SO UGLY!)

I’m going to let the cedar gray. I’ve thought about painting the yellow plastic corners, but I’m concerned about the longevity of a paint job on them. Anyone have experience with painting plastic that has stood up to the elements and kids’ play?

The blue awning will definitely go. I initially liked the idea of black and white stripes, but the railings aren’t going to play well with stripes, and black and white (as much as I love it) doesn’t fit with the exterior paint colors very well. Polka dots seem too cutesy, a solid color might not wear well, and I’m not into the idea of florals or foliage outside competing with the real thing. I’ve ordered a purple paisley outdoor fabric that I have to say isn’t my favorite fabric in the world, but I think it’s the right thing for this application. The paisley has enough movement in the pattern to hide dirt, and the purple will tie in with the house trim. I only needed two yards, so if it’s horrible, I suppose I’m only out $20.

sandbox changes

The whole thing is going in the yard near the back door.

Sandbox Location

I prepared the area by moving the antique seated sword sharpening wheel (for real), clearing out the weeds and saving a couple of plants to be relocated, and trenching the dimensions of a pea gravel surround. I won’t be bringing the gravel right up to the fences because I want to leave a little room for planting to soften the edges and screen the yard a bit. Those are peonies there along the cast iron fence now, but they don’t get enough sun to be happy where they are.

Preparing the Sandbox Site

I still have to remove more dirt, level the ground and tamp down the soil, stake in some garden edging (you can see it coiled up there in the photo above), and line the whole thing with landscaping fabric. Then I can finally site the sandbox and get the gravel in there. I can’t really do anything more until the ground dries up a bit though, so I’m in planning mode, trying to research shade-happy plants that can take some abuse from the kids. They’re so excited about playing out there — I wish I could speed up the progress for them.

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    July 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    If you need a ground cover, sweet woodruff has done well in our front yard with kids trampling on it.

  • Maggie
    July 25, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I think you should build a wood roof on the sandbox and cover it in cedar shingles. Only took us about an hour on our playhouse. The generic green plastic tarp roof had to go. They shingles gray really nicely.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 26, 2016 at 9:40 am

      I was thinking about doing that, but I’m concerned about the added weight. The cover is meant to roll away for access and then roll back to cover the sandbox, so I don’t want to make it too heavy.

  • phoebe
    July 26, 2016 at 11:54 am

    OMG! This is an amazing idea. We may need to create one for out little ones.


  • Woodworkers wife
    July 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Nice sandbox! There is that beautiful silvery grey you often see on seaside houses & there is an ugly, blotchy blackened look untreated cedar can turn too…have you checked into finishes, some have a bleaching agent added to insure a nice silver aging if that is what you want.

  • Jodi
    July 27, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    For painting plastic, we have found that using the textured spray paints meant for plastic wear really well but flat paints chip super easy, even if you prime and follow all instructions super carefully. We made over a plastic playhouse handed down to us and painted the roof with an oil rubbed bronze plastic spray paint (has a slight texture) and 4 years in the harsh upstate NY winters and summers and it’s perfect… The red shutters are horrible even though we used the same brand, process, and did it on the same day.

  • Christina
    July 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I feel like I’ve only seen 1/10th of your new home! Is it really that large?! That composite makes it look huge!
    We own a modest 1300 square ft ranch and I would love to own something that isn’t a complete box one day : )

  • Pen
    July 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I’m a sucker for big, wide stripes!

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