Lawn & Garden Outdoor Living

How To: Make a Sandbox

Few summer DIY projects are as easy to complete—or provide as much fun—as a backyard sandbox.

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With just some basic home improvement knowledge, you can build a simple backyard sandbox like this with colorful stripes, benches for sitting, holes to trickle sand through, a beach umbrella stand and lots and lots of sand.  Here’s how:

(This is for a 6′ x 7′ rectangular sandbox design.)
Two 1’ x 2” pressure treated pine boards in 10′ to 12’ lengths (the extra wood will be used for benches)
Circular or table saw
Power drill
Nails and/or screws
PVC pipe (to accommodate a beach umbrella for shade).
Tongue and groove, pressure-treated floorboard slats (optional)
Note: You don’t actually need a bottom on your sandbox, but without it, you risk the frame warping or pulling apart over time. A floor will add more support to the frame and help keep sand clean.  Be sure, however, to select a pressure-treated wood to guard against damp, warping, and rot over time.
Exterior paint
Sand—lot’s and lot’s of sand

1.  Use a saw to cut four board lengths to serve as the sandbox sides; two at 7’ lengths and two at 6’.   Simply butt the ends together to create a rectangle and secure with either nails or screws.

2.  If you are adding a floor, cut pieces to size and nail or screw them into the bottom of the frame, making certain it remains square.

3.  The benches are mainly for sitting and relaxing, but they also add support to the sandbox corners. Use the leftover pieces of wood and mark and measure the dimensions. Cut the angled pieces with a saw, sand if necessary, and secure to the frame.  You can drill holes in the benches for water run-off and as an added play feature.

4.  Add a short piece of PVC pipe in the corners for a simple beach umbrella stand.  To secure, drill a hole in the bottom of the sandbox so that it sits nice and snug between the bench and the corner of the frame.  Place a beach umbrella right into the pipe and you have a shady spot whenever needed!

5.  Before painting the sandbox, elevate it off the ground for a clean paint job.  Use a primer and paint the inside and outside with a durable, weather-resistant paint, like Behr Ultra exterior in satin or gloss finish. To paint stripes, like those shown top, simply use painters tape to mark equal bands of color and work in sequence (allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before tackling the next color band.)

5.  Find an appropriate location for your sandbox. Depending on your lawn, you might want to consider removing the grass underneath to provide a more level surface.  A sheet of heavy-duty plastic under the sandbox will also help reduce moisture build-up to the floor, extending the life immeasurably.

6.  Fill with sand (20-30 bags of play sand) and let the kids enjoy their new backyard addition!

Author Note: The above do-it-yourself sandbox was taken from Dana Willard’s MADE website, which you can access for additional information and step-by-steps.

Want more How To? Browse all projects in 30 Days of Easy Summer DIY