Tag Archive for garden

Create Your Own Sandpit

Grab your bucket and spade and create your own sensational sandpit this summer.

Follow a simple step-by-step guide from Wickes to build your own sandpit

August 2016 – New research from home improvement specialist Wickes has found that almost two thirds (61 per cent) of Brits who want to create a kids play area in their garden are interested in creating a sandpit. To help you out, Wickes has created a simple step-by-step guide and how-to video so you can build your own. A sandpit is a great addition to any garden where young children play. Not only does it create a safe space where children can have fun and let their imaginations run free, but they’re also remarkably easy to build and maintain.

A sandpit is a great way to get children to play outside on warm summer days, allowing them to explore, dig, sift and build. Encouraging children to play and interact with the sand can unleash a world of imagination, while keeping them amused for hours. Bury toy dinosaurs and host an archaeological dig, add some water to make mud pies, or build a sandcastle decorated with stones and shells – the possibilities are endless.

Building a sandpit may not be child’s play, but it is very easy, and can even be done in an afternoon. With some sleepers, sand and some basic tools, plus a helpful step-by-step guide and how-to video, you can create a fun back garden space for your children. Now all you need is a bucket and spade!

Wickes has created seven simple steps to help you create your own sandpit:

Sandpit Step 1
1.       Measure out and mark out the sleepers.  Measure out and mark 900mm along the length of the 1.8m jumbo 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

Sandpit Step 2
2.       Saw the sleepers and seal with wood preserver
Put on safety glasses and gloves and using a handsaw, saw the sleeper into two halves. These will form the end sections of the sand pit. Wearing safety gloves, seal the ends of the cut sleeper with wood preserver, following the safety and drying instructions

Sandpit Step 3
3.       Mark the sleepers’ position and remove turf
Put the sleepers into position, making sure they are level before marking their position on the outside perimeter using a spade. Move the sleepers aside and dig a minimum of 25mm of the turf out, removing any roots or stones

Sandpit Step 4
4.       Measure the weed fabric and secure it in place with nails
Measure 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 secure it in place by pushing long nails through the fabric and into the soil

Sandpit Step 5
5.       Drill holes in the sleepers and screw together with exterior coach screws.  Put the sleepers back into position on top of the fabric and drill two pilot holes into one corner of the long sleeper using the 10mm flat wood drill bit. Then 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 and repeat for the other three corners

Sandpit Step 6
6.        Sand down the corners and edges and fill with sand
Sand down the corners and edges of the sleepers with a palm sander to avoid any cuts or scrapes, wearing a dust mask and safety glasses. Add the sand and make sure to cover the sandpit when not in use, using a sheet of tarpaulin or a wooden cover.

For more detailed information on how to build your own sandpit, visit http://www.wickes.co.uk/how-to-guides/garden-landscaping/build-sandpit for a useful step-by-step guide, or http://www.wickes.co.uk/how-to-videos/garden-landscaping/build-sandpit for a how-to video.

Little Tikes Log Cabin

Little Tikes Log Cabin

Caitlin in her Little Tikes Log Cabin

It’s great having a ‘Summer Baby’ because you’re guaranteed good weather for their birthdays.

That’s right, so when we were planning Caitlin’s second birthday at the start of May we figured it would be marvelous if we had some outside toys for her. Great idea. Except that it then turned out to be -34° with weather that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on one of Jupiter’s outer moons. So it took her a little longer than we expected. to get introduced to her Little Tikes Log Cabin.

side view of Little Tikes Log Cabin

Harry & Caitlin in the Log Cabin

Some might have caviled at this, stating that we could have put the thing up indoors. And here is the first and most important point of the new Log Cabin by Little Tikes. The dimensions on the box say 4’.8 by 4’, but if you’re anything like me, that might as well be written in Romalan. I’m not great with numbers and slightly worse with spatial awareness; so I just looked in the box. Easy when you know the tricks. In the box it looked huge, out of the box and upright it’s massive. And that’s fine with us because this was after all our first criteria. There are loads of cabins out there which look fun and have extra-fiddly thingummies but we wanted space. And the Little Tikes Log Cabin is the one of the biggest in the price-range.

So we delayed. Luckily only a couple of days until the temperature reached a balmy -21° but then it was all systems go. The second great thing about the cabin is the ease with which you can put it all up. We’ve never had a cabin/wendy-house before so -in their defense- they might all be really easy to construct. But we were still struck by the no-nonsense method of putting this together. The four walls slot together, the roof slots on and you have 8 screws with which to attach the roof to the walls in case there’s a big wind. And with Caitlin that’s always on the cards. Anyway, that’s it. You do need two people because it’s pretty solid but that’s about it.

Harry & Caitlin playing in Log Cabin

Fun in the Little Tikes Log Cabin

inside Little Tikes Log Cabin

inside the Little Tikes Log Cabin

When Caitlin set her eyes on her Little Tikes Log Cabin, she was dumbfounded. She even stopped singing the Bing Bong song for a few minutes so we knew she was discombobulated! Two days after her party she was still in ‘birthday-mode’ which meant that anything she saw was ‘Mine!’ and, by a happy coincidence, this was indeed hers. She immediately ran inside and checked out the extras. There is a phone in a wall-holder, a picture of a fire (this is a homestead after all) and a pop-up table. Other than that there are windows in each wall and a stable-door. Personally I wouldn’t have previously imagined that something as simple could be so endlessly diverting, and yet she and her brother Harry (3 ¾) played inside, outside, climbed through the windows, talked to their absent elder brother Tom on the phone, ate invisible food on the table and sometimes just sat on the floor for the whole of the morning. They occasionally wandered into the house to witter nonsensically about something or other, but other than that the cabin proved to be a magnet for them. And, it must be said, this continues to be the case. Every time Caitlin now walks through the French doors she reiterates her ownership with a subtle “Cakekin’s ‘ouse” and spends a great percentage of each day playing inside. Harry too.

playing in the Log Cabin

Caitlin playing in her Log Cabin

Quite simply, it is fabulous. It’s a great addition to our outside space, which isn’t huge but now has enough distinct areas to distract our children long enough for us to pretend that we have some free time. It’s safe and just looks fun. Little Tikes have thought carefully about what you need for a toy that must of necessity stay outside and it’s genuinely solid, really quite heavy,  weather-proof and has the minimum of things that might go rusty in the rain. Just the 8 screws in fact, and they are all encased in plastic inside the cabin. The solidity of the cabin is probably the reason for the price, which is quite high at around £320 or upwards . You can pick some similar ones up for less but this is the only one we’ve seen with the space and the solidity with which we felt comfortable. So, you get what you pay for in our opinion.  I have to say, I never had one of these when I was younger -or even a desire for one – and so it came as a bit of surprise how fantastic both kids think it is. And what a pleasant surprise it was.

by Dave Fouracre aka Dave The Dad – Dad to Tom 6, Harry nearly 4 and Caitlin 2

Read Sarah (Mum)’s view on the Log Cabin

May 2012

You can Buy The Little Tikes Log Cabin Playhouse Here