Archive of ‘Outdoor’ category

DIY Covered Sandbox

This will be more of a “look what we did” post rather than a how-to. I just dug up these pictures from several weeks ago and sorta went, “oh yeah, we did that too!”. But if you’re thinking of making a sandbox for your child, maybe this will give you some ideas.

DIY Covered Sandbox

(Since Baby Brownie isn’t really a baby anymore, I’m just going to call her Brownie from now on.)

So, Brownie likes dirt (doesn’t your 2-year-old too?). And our yard has a lot of it. We’ve been in the midst of installing irrigation and other landscaping projects for a while, so there are literally big piles of dirt all over the yard. So to indulge her love for playing in the dirt, while at the same time keeping her clothes a LITTLE cleaner, we decided to build her a sandbox.

I’ve heard horror stories about sandboxes and cat poop though, so it had to be a covered one!

(Please ignore the neon green pool. We had a little algae overgrowth that we took care of right after we took this pic!)

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We started by digging up the area we were going to make the sandbox in. There used to be a fence here with a cinder-block footing, so we were able to use some of the concrete footing as 2 of the walls of the sandbox. For the other two walls, Chris put in some 4×4 footings in the corners and nailed on a couple of 2×6 redwood planks. Then, he used redwood fence pickets and cut them down to size to make the edge framing and the lid. He lined the hole with a weed-resistant barrier before filling it with playground sand.

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As you can see, the lid is super simple — just a row of fence pickets held together by a couple of stringers. We sanded down the redwood (which is quite splintery) quite a bit and then sealed it with our homemade Danish oil mixture (1:1:1 Oil-based poly, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil).

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The below pictures were taken about a month later, so you can see the red color of the wood has faded quite a bit.

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When the lid is open, we secure it to the metal fence behind it using this little loop, to prevent Brownie from pulling it down on herself.

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When it’s closed it’s just a little pad that looks like a mini-deck. I threw some mulch around it but I’m working on some ideas to pretty-up the dirt all around it. Probably some plants on the right side, and maybe some stepping stones in front.

I’m not gonna lie…Brownie still likes to play in the piles of dirt. Maybe a little less now?

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Hello Sunshine! Painted Patio Table

I’m so happy that I finally finished this project! It took longer than I thought, not because it was difficult, but just because we had to go back to the store several times. Also, the baby has been majorly teething (4 molars at once, are you kidding me?!) and she has been pretty much a ball of misery the last few days so that has been occupying most of my attention.

yellow patio table

But I finally made over the patio table and I’m super happy with how it turned out! Spray paint is a wonderful thing.

spray painted yellow patio table

Remember, the patio table used to look like this:

old patio chairs

The paint was scratched up quite a bit and it was just a little dingy and sad.

We just polished off any loose bits of paint with some steel wool, wiped it down with a rag, and then primed with a medium primer.

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I like to be super cautious when using oil based paint, especially spray paint, hence the HEPA mask and long sleeves/pants. Not only are the VOCs not something I want in my lungs, but with spray paint the droplets get EVERYWHERE…and I definitely don’t want droplets of paint in my lungs. The HEPA filters are the pink ones, and this HEPA mask only costs$14 (and is surprisingly comfortable). Totally worth it for your health!

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An associate at Home Depot told me to use the medium primer (the gray primer), but I’m not sure that was a great idea. It took SEVERAL light coats of yellow (Rustoleum Sunburst Yellow) to cover it. I feel like a white primer might have been better. I used 3 whole cans of paint and realized I needed more coverage, so I had to go and get another can. Then I had to wait a whole 48 hours before I could re-coat the table.

After the table was finally painted I had to go back to Home Depot to get new hardware for putting it back together because the old hardware was all rusted out.

Although the process took a long time (about 4 days), actual spraying time was short — perhaps an hour in total. The table just sat out in the yard in pieces for a few days while it cured (and then was re-sprayed and cured again).

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I love how bright and happy it is, and I can’t wait to enjoy many summer dinners out on the patio.

yellow patio table

Don’t you just love spray paint? Have you spray painted anything lately?

Sharing over at TatertotsandJello, Suburbs Mama, A Stroll Through Life, Miss Mustard Seed and If It’s Not Baroque!

How Far We’ve Come – Backyard Updates

Chris and I spent an hour yesterday deciding what projects we’re going to make a priority this summer. The biggest obstacle to a DIY-er is time…there just aren’t enough hours in a day! We have all these projects going on but they all take time, something we don’t have a lot of between Chris’ work and me staying home with the baby. So we decided that while we have longer daylight hours, we should prioritize the exterior space. We’ve already come a long way.

This is what our side yard is looking like these days:

pool fence

There are definitely a few things we want to do. First, get rid of those hideous pipes on the roof. Chris put them up there as a project to make a solar pool heater, but it never got finished, and they’re just U-G-L-Y. I’ve convinced him they need to come down. Next, either paint/put siding up and paint the exterior of the house (your eyes are not deceiving you, the house is currently painted two different colors). I think we’ve decided to put siding up and then paint. These cheaply made houses were made of pre-fab wall panels and the exterior is just sheets of plywood + spray texture. It’s not even real stucco. So we’re going to add insulation + siding + pretty paint. It’s going to be a big project.

Still, it’s encouraging to know that we’ve come a long way from the day we moved in:

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The grass was dry and sparse. The white lattice fence was peeling and the wooden gate was sagging so badly it wouldn’t close, and it cut the house off from the yard. The paint on the fascias was peeling badly.

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Chris installed a pool fence (panels purchased at Home Depot, and welded together by my awesome hubster) and outward-swinging gate for the baby’s safety. We bought a gazebo, umbrella, and some cheap patio furniture at IKEA. Last summer, Chris painstakingly installed a brick paver patio (they’re actually concrete pavers that look like brick) using pavers he got for cheap on Craigslist.

gazebo from ikea

The gazebo is from IKEA and we like the faux-rattan on the sides. The outdoor sectional is from IKEA too (it’s pretty, but to be honest, not too comfortable), and the loveseat, coffee table, and ottomans were found for free on the side of the street. They are REALLY comfortable and I think are the best deal we’ve found for the house yet. I’d like to get some more exterior pillows and colorful accessories for this area, when the budget allows =).

landscaping with rocks

On the other side of the pool we’ve started doing some landscaping with citrus trees, shrubs (golden euonymus) and landscaping rocks that we found lying around the yard in random places when we moved in. I still need to get some more mulch and finish mulching the right side, and clean up the dirt on the concrete (this is definitely an in-progress post). Eventually when those trees and shrubs get bigger they’ll cover up more of the wall.

new patio chairs

You’ve seen the patio table, and I’ve got a project coming up with that table that I’ll post in the next couple of days. I think it will really add a lot to the space!

I’m so glad you’re following along with our DIY adventures! Please do take a minute to leave us any suggestions or comments!

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