Sandpit ideas for small gardens

Jun 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Sandpit Box with Bench

Show me a toddler that doesn’t love a sandpit. They’ve got to be up there with paddling pools at the pinnacle of garden entertainment. Plus they have the added bonus of not requiring constant supervision. So you can send your toddler forth, armed with bucket and spade, while you crack on with the cooking.

If, like us, you have a relatively small garden, already well populated with patio furniture, toy cars and other child paraphernalia, adding another bit of kit may not seem an attractive prospect. But you’ve GOT to have a sandpit, so the way I see it there are three choices: 1) create something very small 2) create something very hidden or 3) stick on your DIY hat and create a masterpiece that you don’t care how big it is because it looks bloody great.

Below are a selection of sandpit ideas that cover all of these options. You could of course just head down to the local store and pick up a ready-made number, but where is the fun in that? And some of these ideas are so brilliantly simple that the temptation to DIY becomes irresistible.

1. Concealed Sandpits
If space is a big issue, one option is to hide your sandpit away completely. I reckon a concealed sandpit could quite easily be built into most decking projects.

Concealed Sandpit 1

2. Tent Pit
An instant option for a summer sandpit is to buy a cheap pop-up tent, lob-in a bag of sand, and hey presto! When autumn comes bag up the sand, take down the tent and put both into hibernation for next year. The tent comes with the added bonus of offering shade, keeping out rain, and can be zipped up at night to keep critters out.

tent sandpit

3. Sleeper Pit
This is included for its simplicity. It doesn’t have to be railway sleepers; attach any four planks of wood together in something resembling a square, fill with sand, and there you go. Maybe invest in a tarpaulin to keep the worst rain off, but that’s it, a 15 minute job that can just as easily be undone in winter.

Sleeper Sandpit

4. Play House Slider
Ok so this isn’t exactly a space-saver, as you are building a house on top! But what the hell, why not kill two birds with one DIY? Essentially a sandpit with an elaborate cover!

House Pit

5. Natural Pit
I really like these sandpits where that have been sort of ‘blended in’ to the rest of the garden. They seem very much ‘on trend’, and generally attached to massive houses in warmer climates (the kind I salivate over on, but the idea could easily be adapted to a smaller space. I do wonder what happens when it rains, or when the next-door neighbour’s cat needs to relieve itself, but If you can find a way to solve these pitfalls then this is a great-looking option where you can get really creative.

Secluded Beechwood Courtyard

6. The Boat
A step up aesthetically from the traditional box and I was sorely tempted to go down this route. It’s an ideal option for a pirate crazed toddler. Either find an old boat and fill it with sand, or build your own ship. The sail can provide shade on sunny days, though you might want to factor in a lid to keep out the rain and wildlife. If we ever move to the seaside I can see myself constructing a monster sandpit ship, complete with crows nest, ship’s wheel, rigging, anchor and captains cabin…one for the future.

DIY Sandpit Boat

7. Mini Sand Box
I do like this. It appeals to my desire to resist the steady but constant encroachment of toddler paraphernalia in our lives. Buy a plastic tray with a lid. Chuck in a bag of sand, a few rocks and a smattering of diggers, and whip it out when necessary. Then back in the shed!


8. Box with Benches
This is a remarkably simple and yet brilliant design.  A straight-forward box made out of decking boards with a tarpaulin base, and a cover that keeps out unwanted guests but easily folds back to create two bench seats. I built the one above – it’s not the smallest and covers a fair old corner of our patio – but it looks cool so I don’t really care. To read my post about building this sandpit click here: Sandpit with fold out seats.

Sandpit Box with Benches


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