How Do You Build A Backyard Sand Pit? (Easy Tips)

A sand pit is a great addition to your backyard, whether you’ve got kids or just want to be able to relax by the fire and play in sand. 

It’s an easy project that anyone can do in a weekend, but still looks like it cost thousands when you’re done!

How to Build a Sandpit | Mitre 10 Easy As DIY
Building a backyard sand pit can be a fun and rewarding DIY project for families.
A sand pit can provide a sensory-rich play environment that encourages imaginative play and exploration.
When building a sand pit, it’s important to prioritize safety and choose non-toxic materials that are appropriate for children.
Regular maintenance, including raking the sand and keeping the pit covered, can help ensure the longevity and safety of the play area.
With a little effort and creativity, it’s easy to create a backyard sand pit that will provide hours of fun for kids of all ages.

Choose Your Site

The first step to building a sand pit is choosing the right site. You want to find a level area that’s away from trees, buildings, traffic and the house.

We used an area just outside our back door that gets lots of sun during the day. It’s also far enough away from our neighbors’ houses that they don’t have to listen to us screaming “Marco!” at each other all summer long!

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Choose Your Beach-Like Substrate (Sand Or Gravel)

Your substrate can be anything you want. You could choose sand, pea gravel or even small stones. Sand is the most common choice for sand pits because it’s easy to clean and maintain, plus it looks like a beach! 

If you’re concerned about your kids getting hurt by sharp pieces of glass or metal while digging in the sandbox, then you may want to consider using pea gravel instead (although some people do find glass shards in their sand).

If your kiddos plan on having water fights in their backyard play area then it’s probably best not to use any type of loose material such as wood chips or leaves; otherwise they’ll just end up dirtying up all over again!

Choose Your Sand Toys And Accessories

When choosing your sand toys and accessories, ask yourself the following questions:

What are my child’s interests, abilities and age? You will want to choose toys that match their interests. 

For example, if they are interested in dinosaurs, look for a toy dinosaur set. If they are more interested in vehicles, try out a toy bulldozer or steam shovel instead.

How easy is this toy to clean up? It should be simple enough that your kids can clean it up themselves after their playtime has ended for the day (or even before bed). 

This way you don’t have to worry about taking time away from other things like brushing teeth or reading stories when trying to get them ready for bed!

How durable is this item? If you’re buying something online then pay attention to reviews from others who have purchased them before so you’ll know what kind of quality level should be expected from these items (and whether or not they would pass the test!). 

Another thing worth keeping an eye out on are any warranties provided by sellers – especially if those warranties cover accidental damage caused by children playing with them!

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Decide If You Need A Shade Structure

If you live in a hot climate, or if you have children who are still young enough to burn easily, you will need to provide shade for your sandbox. 

A simple solution is to use a tarp or large piece of fabric attached to the house with rope or bungee cords. 

Alternatively, you can build an entirely separate structure for providing shade. This could be as simple as an open-air gazebo or even a small shed with windows and doors if you have enough space available. Just make sure that whatever structure is used has plenty of ventilation so that it doesn’t get too hot inside!

If your climate is cold enough that frostbite could occur on exposed skin in winter months (or snowstorms) 

Then it’s highly recommended that some type of roofing material be installed over the sandbox area before any digging begins either metal or plastic sheeting would work well here depending on what materials are available locally at affordable prices (eBay listings tend not include shipping costs unless specifically stated otherwise).

Buy Heavy-Duty Tarps

The first step to building your sand pit is getting the right materials. If you want to ensure that your sand pit lasts for years, it’s important to buy a high-quality tarp. The heavier-duty the tarp, the better.

When choosing a tarp for your project, keep in mind that you’ll want it at least three times larger than your pit itself if not larger! You can also buy tarps with grommets every 2 feet along both sides or reinforced hems so they won’t rip easily when being used as a sandbox cover.

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Decide If You Will Use Edging To Hold The Sand In Place

You can build a sand pit without edging, but it’s a good idea to use it to hold the sand in place. Edging can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal and wood.

If you don’t want to spend money on edging that may not be used often, another option is to build a protective barrier around your sand pit (such as fencing or fencing covered with mulch). You can also include decorative elements such as rocks or plants for extra safety measures.

Set Up The Site

Next, choose a location for your sand pit. You’ll want to choose an area that is flat, level and free of rocks and other obstacles. 

You don’t want to build the sand pit in an area that will get wet or near trees or structures that could get damaged by the sand pit.

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Fill Your Pit With Sand Or Gravel

Fill your pit with sand or gravel. Sand is more absorbent, but gravel is easier to clean. If you’re using the pit for recreation and are concerned about safety, sand is a better choice because it’s less likely to cause injury (or at least not as likely). Sand is also cheaper than gravel, which means filling up your box will cost less money.

Gravel looks nicer than sand in this situation; it’s also more durable and easier on the feet if you want to walk around on top of it while playing games like kickball or volleyball.

Make Sun Protection For Your Sandpit

If you are going to use a tarp, here are some tips:

Place the tarp over the sand pit in order to prevent heat from getting onto it. Heat can affect the quality of the sand and make it more difficult for children to play with.

Make sure that your tarp is large enough so that it covers all sides of your playground area, including any equipment or toys you place there.

Attach the corners by staking them into the ground with stakes at least 1 foot apart (or as much as 2 feet apart if needed). 

This will keep them secure against strong winds and heavy rains, which can damage tarps over time and may cause them to blow away when unattached.

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Level Off The Pit’s Surface And Add Edging, If Desired.

Now that you’ve created a nice bowl-shaped sand pit, it’s time to level off the surface of your new sandbox. 

Use a shovel or rake to smooth out any bumps and get rid of any high points. You can also add edging around the perimeter of your sand pit to help hold in the sand as it settles during use.

If you’re feeling ambitious, this is also an excellent opportunity to make sure that it looks nice and tidy with some edging or other decorative touches! 

Once you’re done doing whatever comes naturally (or if this isn’t something you want to do), grab a level! Use the level as many times as necessary until everything looks even and smooth enough for playtime.

Cover The Area With A Canopy, If Desired

If you want to cover the area with a canopy, this is not necessary, but canopies are inexpensive and easy to set up. A canopy can be purchased at a home improvement store in a variety of sizes, colors and materials (wood, metal or plastic). 

If you’re making your own sand pit in the yard from scratch, we recommend putting up the canopy before filling it with sand—that way you don’t have to worry about dumping any material on top of one another as you work.

Build a Sand Pit In Your Backyard

  • Choose your site.
  • Choose your beach-like substrate. (Sand or gravel)
  • Choose your sand toys and accessories. (or make them out of things you already have at home)

Decide if you need a shade structure for your kids to play in, or if the sun won’t be an issue for too long depending on when you plan on playing in it each day!

 If it is going to be outside all day every day, then I would go with heavy duty tarps over wood so they don’t rot away under the hot sun year after year as we have done with our old sandbox/treehouse combo.*Buy heavy duty tarps.

Find edging material like vinyl lattice panels that will hold all that sand in place while keeping kids safe from falling into deep holes which happens more often than anyone expects! This can also keep cats out of their favorite hunting grounds 🙂


It’s a lot of fun to build a sand pit in your backyard! Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring someone, the process is relatively straightforward. 

It’s also not too expensive. With some planning and some elbow grease, you can have a great new place for your kids to play in no time. 

Start by choosing the perfect site for your sandbox, then choose what type of material will work best with your landscape (sand or gravel). 

To make sure the surface stays smooth and level after filling it up with sand toys like shovels and buckets, consider using edging around perimeter walls. Last but not least: don’t forget about shade!

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about building a backyard sand pit or sandbox, check out these helpful resources:

Building a Backyard Sand Box: This comprehensive guide offers step-by-step instructions for building a sand pit that’s safe and fun for kids of all ages.

How to Make a Natural Children’s Sand Pit: This guide offers tips and ideas for creating a natural and sensory-rich sand pit that encourages imaginative play.

How to Build a Sandbox: This informative article offers detailed instructions for building a simple, affordable sandbox that can be customized to fit any backyard or play area.


What materials do I need to build a sand pit?

The materials you’ll need to build a sand pit depend on the type of sand pit you want to create, but typically include wood for the frame, landscaping fabric to prevent weeds, and sand to fill the pit.

How deep should a sand pit be?

A sand pit should be at least 6 inches deep, but ideally 12 to 18 inches deep to give children plenty of room for digging and playing.

How do I maintain a sand pit?

To maintain a sand pit, be sure to regularly rake the sand to prevent buildup of debris or pests. You may also need to add more sand over time as it gets displaced or removed during play.

How can I make a sand pit safe for kids?

To make a sand pit safe for kids, be sure to use non-toxic sand and keep the pit covered when not in use to prevent animals or pests from accessing it. You should also choose a shady location to prevent sunburn and provide supervision during play.

Can I build a sand pit without a frame?

While a frame is not necessary, it can help to keep the sand contained and prevent it from spreading beyond the play area. If you choose not to use a frame, be sure to use landscaping fabric to prevent weeds and other vegetation from growing in the sand.