Last year, as part of the preparation for our book, I had to build a raised bed and photograph the process step by step.
It was four feet square, made from 8-foot lengths of 2×8’s, cut in half, very simple and basic.
After I built it and filled it with a soil mix, I took the pictures, and later, grew cantaloupes in it. The cantaloupes didn’t do so hot, but it wasn’t the fault of the bed. Kale I planted that fall was much happier.
Meanwhile, I was becoming increasingly aware of how much my kids would like a sandbox. They played all the time in a spot in the yard that was once a dumping ground for an excess of sand I had delivered for a sidewalk project. The “sand” was now at least 50% dirt and I-don’t-know-what-all (meow), with vines, roots, and seedling trees growing up out of it. They didn’t know how ick it was, and never complained, but I knew.
The square raised bed was the perfect size for a sandbox, and I decided they needed it more than the garden did.
At first my idea was to plop it on the ground on top of some landscape fabric and fill it with sand. That would be fine, but I kept tinkering with it and ended up with a sand table. It’s raised up off the ground with some scrap pieces of 4×4 and has, naturally, a bottom to keep the sand in.
The construction is very basic.
I didn’t alter the basic box, but I used long screws to attach the “legs,” then scrap 2×6’s and 2×4’s to make a platform the floor would rest on.
I cut some scrap 3/4″ plywood to fit and drilled drain holes. I had another board the right size, so I attached it to one end for a seat. Then I sanded, primed and painted everything. (The “seat” board not in this pic–it was painted separately before attaching it).
I like the raised design because it puts it up a little above chigger level, won’t ever become mixed with the soil below, and the kids generally get less sandy than they do in a regular sandbox. It’s also more portable if I ever decide to change the location of the sandbox/table.
We toss a tarp over it when no one’s playing in it to keep it meow-free.
It can be converted back to a garden bed and placed anywhere I need it. The legs could be lengthened so it could be used as a bed for gardeners who can’t bend to access an in-ground garden.