Things to think about
When choosing the location of your sandpit, make sure it will be in your direct line of sight, so you can keep an eye on children as they play. It’s best to choose a fairly level area, you can check suitability using a spirit level. It’s also important that the sandpit can drain naturally after rain showers, so don’t place it in an area that holds excessive water. The ideal location would offer both sunshine and shade, providing protection for the playing children but also ensuring that the sand is kept nice and dry.
Our sandpit is built from three 1.8 metre jumbo sleepers, but be aware, each sleeper weighs approximately 30kg, so you may some need help to lift them.
You’ll need to cover the sandpit when it’s not in use. You could use tarpaulin or, as we have, you could build a wooden lid.
Making the job go smoothly
Always use the recommended safety equipment whilst building your sandpit.
When sawing the sleeper in half, lay the sleeper you are cutting over the top of the two other sleepers. This will keep the sleeper you are cutting raised off the ground which will make the sawing more accurate.
Using a spirit level, check the sleepers each time they are put into position to ensure they are level.
It’s best to use a palm sander to soften the hard edges of the sleepers, but be sure to wear a dust mask and protective glasses when doing so.
You should only use play sand to fill the sand pit.
Building your sandpit
Measure out and mark 900mm along the length of the sleeper. From the mark, draw a saw guideline across the sleeper using the 90-degree guide marker on your saw. Continue the line around the two other visible sides so there are additional saw guidelines.
Put on safety glasses and gloves and using a handsaw, saw the sleeper into two equal halves. These will form the end sections of the sand pit.
Seal the ends of the cut sleeper with wood preserver. Be sure to wear safety gloves and follow the safety and drying instructions.
Put the sleepers into position and check you are happy with their layout. Mark their position into the ground on the outside perimeter of the sleeper using a spade.
Move the sleepers aside and dig to a minimum of 25mm of the turf out. Then, remove any roots or stones. Make sure the area where the sleepers will be placed is level and make adjustments by patting down or moving soil.
Put the sleepers back into position and use a spirit level to check they are level before continuing.
Move the sleepers aside and measure out enough weed fabric to cover the entire base of the sandpit. This may mean using several different sections of fabric.
Cut the fabric with heavy-duty scissors and put it into place. You can secure the fabric by pushing long nails through the fabric and into the soil.
Put the sleepers back into position on top of the fabric.
Put on safety glasses and drill two pilot holes into one corner of the long sleeper using the 10mm flat wood drill bit.
Attach the 32mm flat wood drill bit and drill approximately 10mm into the wood, this will allow for the screw head to be recessed.
Take one of the 150mm exterior coach screws and place it into the hole, tighten it with the 17mm socket head from the ratchet socket set. Then, repeat this process for the other three corners.
Sand down the corners and edges of the sleepers with a palm sander to avoid any cuts or scrapes. Wear a dust mask and safety glasses to do this.
The sandpit structure is now complete so you can add the sand. We used 225kg of play sand to fill the 1.8M rectangular sandpit.
Cover the sandpit when not in use with a sheet of tarpaulin or a wooden cover, like this one.