For as simple as we kept the celebration part of Little Bug's birthday, we definitely got caught up in some bigger projects for her presents. She loves to play out in the dirt, digging for buried treasure, making mountains, and many other games. We have been wanting to build a sandbox for her, and decided that her birthday would be the perfect deadline for trying to get it done.
We have a fun little playhouse in our back yard, and decided that to the side of it would be a good place for the sandbox. The playhouse provided support on one side, the sidewalk on another, and we figured that the dirt we dug out on the backside would provide support on the third side. Oh yeah, that is the other thing about this location, it ended up being a triangle instead of a square. It worked out really well though, because it keeps the kid areas of the yard somewhat together, and was an easy solution for keeping the weeds down around the playhouse. Once we decided on a location, Jared went to work digging out the dirt.
We debated about what to use for the sides of the sandbox. We wanted something affordable and that would weather well. After pricing out treated wood and Trex material, we figured that it would cost us between $100 and $150 to build it. We thought we could do better though. What we ended up using was vinyl fence pieces. We were able to buy scratch-and-dent pieces vinyl fence pieces from a vinyl fence company for around $20. The final size ended up being about 96 x 96 x 70".
Vinyl is actually fairly easy to work with. We used our compound miter saw to cut the pieces to the lengths that we wanted, and then used a Roto-Zip to cut out slots in the fence posts for the side pieces to slide into. Because we needed a triangle shape, the vinyl was perfect because we could turn the posts to angle them the direction that we needed.
We debated about lining the bottom in something hard, but Jared dug down far enough that the ground was very hard. We opted for lining it with a weed barrier instead, and then just put the sand on top of that. To keep the neighborhood cats out of it, we do keep it covered with a piece of vinyl lattice when it is not in use.
I think that it worked out well. As usual, it is far from perfect, but it looks nice and Little Bug loves it. It is hard to make her come inside when she is out there playing. Now my only worry is dealing with sand all over the house all summer.