What To Put in the Base of the Sandpit: (Considering Drainage and Weed Prevention)

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Children love sandpits. 

But if you want them to enjoy sandpits for a long time, make sure the sandy play area is made well. 

Do you know the secret to a great sandpit?

It should have a quality base.

But what makes a great base for a sandpit?

Let’s discuss. 

A sandpit isn’t just a box with lots of sand in it. It needs to have a proper base for drainage and to prevent weeds from growing. High-quality gravel is great for drainage while a sandpit fleece or liner can help prevent the growth of weeds while still allowing rainwater to drain properly. Many sandpits also have wood as a base, especially the smaller and movable pits. 

Can Your Sandpit Just Be Made of Sand?

Sandpit and buckets

It seems logical to have your sandpit just be made of sand. 

However, you need to remember that the sandpit isn’t on the beach. 

It will be put on the ground where other elements will be in play. 

Most sandpits are placed in the yard or the playground. 

Either of these will have different types of soil, stones, some grass, and even weeds. 

It is always better to have a base for your sandpit. 

Why Do You Need to Put Something Under a Sandpit?

Try putting up a mountain of sand and it will immediately spread out because the sand particles are too loose. 

Putting them in a sandbox or sandpit will trap the sand within the play area. 

Without a base, the sand will mix with the ground soil, which would make your sand dirtier. 

If you have clay soil or any other slow-draining soil then your sandbox will be messed up when it rains. 

The appropriate base will help you with draining rainwater. 

Lastly, the base will also ensure that weeds won’t grow and spread in the sandpit where children love to play and make sand castles and other structures. 

What To Put Under Sandpit?

Now that you know a base is important in every sandpit, the question is, what to put in the bottom of a sandpit?

There are at least three layers you need to include as a base. 


The sandpit can be made in two ways:

  • A wooden open box filled with sand
  • A wooden decking – it doesn’t have a wooden base but just a four-sided wooden structure to trap the sand within

The main advantage of using an open sandbox is that you can transfer the product whenever and wherever you want. 

That also means the wood becomes a part of the base of the sandpit. 

If you want a long-lasting base, you must use high-quality and weather-resistant wood for the sandbox. 

Use only untreated wood because the chemicals may be harmful to children. 

Wood preservatives are harsh and may contaminate the sand that children play with. 

What are great options for your sandbox?

  • Hardwood board
  • Softwood board
  • Cedar 
  • Spruce
  • Larch
  • Douglas fir

Hardwood and softwood boards are affordable but may not be as long-lasting as others. 

They will still last at least five years. 

Spruce is an example of a softwood board that could last five to six years. 

Cedar, larch, and Douglas fir can last for a long time. 


High-quality gravel is great for lining the bottom of the sandpit. 

Gravel is a great material for drainage. 

When you don’t have a base that drains rainwater properly, chances are a puddle will form in your sandbox when it rains. 

Rainwater will easily go through the gravel. 

The gravel can be used in a wooden sandbox or the first layer of your sandpit with wooden decking. 


Bricks are also another option for your sandpit with decking. 

It drains rainwater well and it provides a strong base much like with the wood in a wooden sandpit. 

Sandpit Fleece or Liner

Whether you have a sandbox or sandpit, a liner is important. 

It will separate the gravel and the sand without affecting drainage. 

More importantly, it will prevent the growth of weeds. 

The liner is also effective in keeping worms out of the sandpit and out of children’s grasps. 

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Answering the Question What to Put in the Base of the Sandpit
Click to enlarge infographic

Are you considering having a sandpit at home?

Make sure you have a proper base:

  • Gravel or bricks for proper drainage
  • Sandpit fleece or liner to prevent weeds

If you are making a wooden sandbox, make sure you have good wood for longevity. 

Cedar, Douglas fir, and larch are great materials for the wooden base. 

Now that you have a great base, don’t tarnish it with quality sand in the sandpit. 

Use only the best sand for your play area. 

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