Introduction: How to Make a Combination Sandbox/planter

It’s now summer time, which means the kids are out of school and we’re always trying to find ways to help them enjoy their time off and spend time outside! We’ve had a raised sandbox for a while, but it was built out of scrap wood, and has outlived it’s intended purpose, so it was time for a new one. In the process of talking about it, we decided that we also wanted a dedicated herb garden area, so why not combine the two!?

In case you’re thinking “those don’t go together”, you’re kind of right. But, by raising the planter up, it doesn’t get (much) sand in it, and the kids leave it alone. If you’re thinking “why wouldn’t you put the sandbox on the ground?” then you just haven’t experienced the benefits of raising it. With it raised up, the kids can’t get IN it, just play with it! That means, their shoes don’t fill up with sand and it’s less likely to get tracked in the house. It’s a worthwhile thing, and they seem to love having it raised up a bit.

Step 1: Make the Sandbox Frame

I had the store cut down a sheet of 3/4″ treated plywood to 18″x48″ and 36″x48″

The sandbox is a simple 36″x48″ box, made of 2×6’s. (Cut the pieces to 33″ and 48″)

I connected them together with 3″ decking screws.

Pressure treated wood is so wet that it doesn’t split easily if you don’t pre-drill the holes.

Step 2: Add a Bottom and Legs to the Sandbox

I screwed on the 36″x48″ piece of plywood to the box, using lots of screws. This piece supports the weight of the sand, so attach it well!

For the legs, I cut 8 pieces of decking boards, 24″ each.

These were screwed to the box with shorter screws, so they didn’t poke through into the sandbox.

I tied each corner together by screwing the pieces to each other.

Step 3: Build the Planter Box

The planter box was built the same way, but with 48″ and 15″ pieces of 2×8.

I screwed on the plywood bottom (18″x48″) as before.

I made and attached the legs for the planter in the same way but only needed two legs. The height of these is the total height of the sandbox plus the height of the planter box.

Step 4: Connect Planter to Sandbox

Luckily, the sandy soil where I live made it easy to level the pieces and line them up.

I connected the two pieces with a few screws through the bottom of the planter.

Since the wood is pressure treated, I lined the inside of the planter with plastic sheeting, stapling it in place.

I trimmed off the excess, leaving it overlapping the top surface of the planter.

I drilled a few more drainage holes.

Step 5: Add a Frame to Boxes and Fill Them Up!

Using some pressure treated 1×4, I cut a simple frame for both boxes.

They were screwed on with decking screws. Be sure to use more than you think you need, since the pieces overhang the outside of the planter and need extra support.

The sandbox only needed three pieces.

Then I added 8 bags of sand (ouch, my back).

I added a bag and a half of container soil to the planter.

Step 6: Add a Hose Bib

To make it easy to water everything, I added a hose bib. I asked the guy in the plumbing aisle what I needed and he got me the right stuff.

I glued it all together, and attached to the side with pipe straps.

Now we get to enjoy it!!

Step 7: More Projects

If you like this project, you might like some of my other ones! I make ALL SORTS of stuff, check out my site at

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