I finished the sand box last week in preparation for our Memorial Day cookout. All in all it turned out okay. I give myself a B- grade. I had precut everything last fall, and set the posts a few weeks ago so there was a lot riding on it all when I went to finally assemble the components.
Turns out the box is level, but quite a bit out of square. In my defense I did complete the task single-handedly, so it’s not too bad considering that fact.
When I went to install the two long side boards, I was off by a good 2 inches it seems, on the side everyone sees of course. So I did the best I could and screwed everything together. You can tell the one board is short and when you put the covers on you can see the one cross board isn’t square in relation to the closest cover panel. Over all though it’s a decent facsimile of what was in my mind and what I had designed on paper.
I designed the box to have three distinct compartments. The center compartment measures about 6′ x 8′ and is filled with sand. I selected “mason sand” from the local landscape material supplier. It’s not overly clean, but it packs well and it’s a larger grain so it is less likely to become airborne. As I’ve stated in previous posts, most play sand is so fine it becomes airborne and if inhaled, the sand is a known carcinogen.
Flanking the sand chamber are two smaller 2′ x 6′ boxes for gravel. The kids like playing in the driveway gravel, so I thought why not put some of that gravel in the sandbox to play with. It would add some variety to play time instead of just sand. Kind of like a gravel pit. In that box I just hauled over some of the #10 limestone from the drive, that had been piled up by the snow plow during Winter.
At the far end is another box, and I filled that with gravel as well. But I chose to have some #411 limestone delivered. I used the #411, which is a mix of natural limestone from dust up to 1″ size pieces, primarily to fix pot holes in the drive, but made sure I had enough left over for the sandbox. Interestingly enough, no one has touched it yet in the sandbox, for whatever reason.
To keep critters from pooping in the sandbox I installed the 5/4 board panels that I made last year. There are four panels, and they allow you cover the box in a variety of combinations, from open to fully closed over the sand area. They make great seating areas for little kids to sit on while playing in the sand, and can be used to drive little toy trucks over. Once again helping with imaginative play.
For a finishing touch I added some large stones that were lying around the yard, to act as boulder in the gravel areas.
We’ve been blessed with a beautiful Spring in NEOhio so far. We finally got some needed rain today, but the weekend weather was crystal clear and warm.
I spent Memorial Day planting all the seedlings my wife had grown as well as a few other miscellaneous flowers. Work got semi-busy again this week, thankfully, so I’m not sure when the veggie garden is going in yet. We’re a little late, but I’ll pick up some larger plants, maybe even on sale and we’ll good to go. My thought is to use landscape fabric to keep the weeds down in the garden this year. Right now there are weeds everywhere in there that we’ll have to remove by hand before planting.
With all the activity outside, ticks have been an issue, primarily for the wife who abhors the little pests – crawling on the kids, her, and in the house (they come in on our clothes). So we’ll need to get rolling on our guinea fowl project as soon as possible. Chemicals are out of the question, as is mowing down much more of the landscape, so hopefully the birds can help. Moving is an option that has been discussed as well. As for me, I tend to just ignore the pests; life seemingly endless list of things to worry about doesn’t benefit from additions to it. Maybe I’m daft.
One surprise hit of spring is the screened in porch. While we don’t yet have a rug, I did make an addition yesterday: a TV. Best Buy had a sale going on and I was able to pick up a TV / DVD combo for under $130 plus the wall bracket cost. Now the porch is a bona fide outdoor room. Just this morning, as I was turning over the cushions out there after an overnight storm, I thought to myself how great it was out there – with the TV you could sit and have coffee while listening to the news. Just like living in Florida I suspect. So from May through September it’s like having a second family room. Plus the cats love it out there.
Installation of the set was a breeze for the most part. I mounted the unit directly to an exposed stud in the porch frame. And after two big thunderstorms, I see no reason why the set can’t endure the weather under the protection of the porch roof. We’ll bring it in at the end of the season before it gets cold.
Now we just need a rug and I have to finish the ceiling with the grid detail and stain. Oh and build a bar shelf in the corner. Then we may not even have to spend time at all inside this Summer.
How do you like the sandbox?
What are your favorite outdoor spaces at your home?