The ‘fort’ section is on wheels and serves as a cover.
I removed about two inches of dirt, tamped it down, and staked in some terrace board landscape edging to form an 8’x10′ area. I lined it with weed barrier fabric and centered a square cement paver off of the sidewalk to act as an entrance that integrates the whole thing with our existing layout. I reused the paver bricks that lined the sidewalk, brought the assembled sandbox over, filled it with sand, and then poured 20 bags of pea gravel to surround it. I do have to sweep the stray pebbles back in after the kids are done playing (Calvin tosses them out a lot), but that’s a quick chore in exchange for something that keeps all three occupied for hours at a time.
The area was nothing special before, and here’s a reminder of the blue plastic tarp the sandbox came with.
I ordered two yards of purple paisley outdoor fabric and hemmed all four sides to make a new canopy. Like I had said, it’s not my favorite fabric pattern in the world, but I think it works well with the house. The cedar of the sandbox should mellow and gray to match the section of wooden fence that’s there, and then the whole thing will look even better.
The antique cast iron urn planter is a new addition to the yard too. The selection of annuals for shade was a little lacking this late in the season, so I’ve just filled it with impatiens. To the left of it, I created a border of shade-happy plants to soften the edges. I split and replanted a couple of hostas from elsewhere in the yard, kept the painted ferns that were already there, and picked up some variegated solomon’s seal and a giant hosta for the far corner. It looks a little sparse now, but hostas are especially resilient and everything should look great next spring.
On the other side, I kept an azalea and hydrangea, and added a couple of purple heuchera (coral bells) to pick up on the color of the house. Behind the sandbox are three peonies, but they don’t get enough sun to bloom (I think I saw one or two flowers total this spring). I’d like to create a dense green backdrop along that section of the neighbor’s cast iron fence, and I have his permission to plant a climbing hydrangea. It would look great eventually, but they take years to establish themselves. I’m wondering if maybe a yew hedge would be a better (somewhat quicker) choice?
A little something like this…
I didn’t intend for the fairy tree stump to end up here. It was supposed to go over by the kids’ picnic table on the other side of the yard, but Eleanor and her friends wanted to play with it by the sandbox. They added one of the little plants I haven’t gotten around to putting in the ground yet.
The outdoor pouf was also commandeered by Eleanor from the back porch, along with a couple of pillows that used to be on the porch at our old house. The blue plastic tote works well for containing the sandbox toys, and I drilled drainage holes in the bottom.
One big yard project down! One big step toward making the yard work better for our family.