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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sandbox for Addies Birthday!! (Could also be a raised bed garden!!)

Addie loves to dig in the dirt so we figured she would adore a sandbox! We looked around and realized it would be much much cheaper just to build it ourselves instead of buying a kit or getting a plastic sandbox.

  • Cedar Fence panels
  • Sand
  • Outdoor Decking Screws (1 5/8")
  • Galvanized Corner brackets
  • Chop Saw
  • Screw driver

We got cedar fence posts instead of cedar boards and it was about half the cost! We decided to stack the posts 2 high instead of just 1 so it would be a little higher and all the sand wouldnt get thrown right out of the sandbox. We also decided to buy a few extra posts so we could do some decorative corner pieces.

Step 1: Cut all the posts to the size you want your sandbox. Henry loves helping Daddy! And he was really excited to help build Addies birthday present!
Step 2: Line up your posts with the inside brackets.

Step 3: Connect all your posts
Step 4: Lay down landscape fabric under your frame. The landscape fabric will allow proper drainage (which is important) and will help prevent weeds and bugs from coming into the sandbox. 
Step 5: Once all your bottom 4 posts are level and screwed into the decorative corner pieces using the corner brackets, you are ready to stack the second level on (if you choose to do a second level...otherwise you are done!)
Step 6: Screw in all the second level posts, making sure the tops and sides are all flush and even!

Step 7: We took a look at it at this point and decided that since it was so big (and since we had extra pieces of cedar) that we would go ahead and put more braces in the center of the side walls. So we measured halfway and screwed in some center braces!!

Step 8: Fill it with sand!! We drastically underestimated the amount of sand we would need! We bought 10 - 50lb bags of sand (so 500lbs) and it barely filled it 1/4th of the way! We didnt want it full to the top (to help keep sand in the sandbox and not thrown all over) but we were suprised at how low it was! Our sandbox is 6'x6' square and about 11" tall...so to fill this thing to the top we would need about a ton of dirt...ya and thats not gonna happen!! We might buy 10-15 more bags later, but the kids sure to love it just like this!! (If you are using this method for a raised bed garden, you will probably need at least a half ton of compost...if not more). We are really happy with the sandbox and are considering doing something like this for the garden in the front yard.

Cost Breakdown:
10 Cedar fence panels at $3.50 each - $35.00 + tax (you can use treated lumber as well, but the cedar will last longer and look nicer, and be void of chemicals...you can also save money by making a smaller sandbox or not making it as tall)
10 bags of 50lb sand (500lbs) at $3.00 each - $30.00 + tax (you could get different sand, but we didnt want to run the risk of bringing bugs into our yard so we got the sifted bagged sand)
4 galvanized corner brackets at $1 each - $4 + tax
Outdoor deck screws (we had enough that we didnt have to buy these)
Landscape Fabric (we had some extra and didnt have to buy any, but you can get a small roll for a couple dollars)

Total - $69.00 + tax (you can do this cheaper as well if you have spare wood around or if you make it smaller and only do 1 level instead of 2). This is easily customizable!!


  1. Thanks for posting this! My family and I live in Thailand and needed a simple, yet durable design. We used your example to make the same one! It looks great!

    1. Justin, we live in Thailand too! How does the sandbox look after a rainy season? Our bamboo sandbox that we bought second hand is falling to pieces and I'd love to make this design. We will of course have to add a lid to it for rainy season.

  2. Thank you for letting us know! I'm so glad to hear how or little designs can benefit others! Glad you like it. Ours has been well used for a year and a half now and still looks as good as new...many years of use left to come.

  3. Thank you for letting us know! I'm so glad to hear how or little designs can benefit others! Glad you like it. Ours has been well used for a year and a half now and still looks as good as new...many years of use left to come.

  4. Thank you for your post from malaysia! We don't have this here. I didn't even knew what a sandbox is until after i saw your post. I need to make one for my kids. Do you need to cover the sand to prevent the cats from "using" it? Thanks.

    1. I'm glad this helps you!! We do not need a cover since our dog patrols the yard almost all the time. If a cat entered the yard it wouldn't have time to use the sandbox. I would defintely recommend a cover if your yard isn't protected from cats.

  5. I just came across your blog when I was looking for plans for a sandbox for our kids. How has your sandbox held up since you built it? Also, did you treat the cedar with anything after building it?

  6. I'm off to the hardware store. We're building this today.

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  8. I built this today!!! I had never used a saw before, but actually bought a skill saw and did the cuts myself. Feels great. I feel like the world is my oyster now that I feel like I can cut wood. Thanks so much for the plan and details. I realize this post was from 2010. Do you still have your sand box? If not, how long did it last you?