Ideas regarding sandbox problem

apriebe(z5 WA)April 6, 2002

I'm hoping someone here might have a good solution to all the cat poop that is deposited in the sandbox. I have cleaned out the sandbox this week, but the box still smells and since my daughter still sometimes tries to eat the sand, I don't know what to do. I assume the smell now is from urine.

I think that in the future I will be covering the box. I don't know what to use though, tarp? some chicken wire? any ideas? Is there any other way to keep cats away. We don't actually own any ourselves, but they all seem to know our box!

If I have to get rid of the sand and start over, can I put add it to a bed or something? Do I have to avoid the eating garden because of the cat waste?



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cover the sandbox (after you replace the sand)- any easy way would be with a tarp. I wouldn't add the sand to a garden bed and I wouldn't let my child play in the sandbox again until it is clean! Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2002 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With three kids, we had the same problem. We made a two part cover of plywood that they can move- works great!

Sprinkle your entire sand with white vinegar! Keeps out animals, ants, and is safe for kids!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 8:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nora_in_vancouver(8b Wet Coast)

The problem we had with a tarp is that it will sag in the middle with rain water. The best thing we've found is to overturn a rigid tot pool over the sand. (We just had a sand pile in the middle of a brick patio; not a sand box.) A board or something heavy on top to keep it down in the wind.

Another non-cover idea is to use cuttings from your rose bushes or blackberry brambles.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree about the white vinegar--it should keep the cats away.

For a cover, how about a piece of lattice, framed in with 1 x 2's and hinged on one side. You could even attach a counter-weight to make it easy to open.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2002 at 5:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
squincy(z6 SW CT)

Cover should be porous in order to prevent stagnant ponding water on top and to keep the inside from getting moldy. I bought the fancy mesh cover from ChildLife/Walpole and built the sandbox to it's dimensions. Best of both worlds - good technology and lower cost. The lattice suggestion might work too - same idea except leaves will get in in the fall.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

will the white vinegar also work in the flower beds to keep the cats away? I am having a terrible problem in all my flower beds with the cats in the neighborhood using them for their litter box. The dirt in my flower beds is so soft and appealing to the cats. There has to be a way to keep them out. I'm desparate for good suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2002 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Definately dump the sand and get new. Little tikes makes several sandboxes that comes with a lid. When my youngest son was 2 I had a similar problem, but with his kiddie pool and our ducks pooping init (yuck) SO i bought a little tikes sandbox, which we converted into a pool. It worked great and kept the water warmer.

As for the flower beds and the cats try crushed up moth balls. They hate the smell. It worked for me! Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2002 at 11:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Vividly remember multiple dreaded trips to a doctors office to have my wrists frozen to kill the pin or ring worms from cats using my sandbox.

Turn that sand box into a sq/ft garden and let them help plant seeds & pull weeds.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2002 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Instead of sand, use gravel. Use the size up fron pea gravel. The kids can still dig, fill buckets and have fun, and the cats aren't interested in it. We have 4 kids and 2 cats and are very happy with the gravel.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2002 at 12:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've spotted ants in my grandson's sand box. Would sprinkling White Vinegar get rid of the ants? Or must I get rid of the sand and start all over again...

Thank you

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
macbirch(ACT Aust)

They showed how to build a sandbox with a plywood lid on a gardening show on tv here. They made a point of saying use marine grade ply.
DH had built an enormous sandbox so that wasn't practical for us so we used a tarp. Problematic, as has been mentioned already.
For various reasons don't use mothballs.
I like the gravel idea.
By the way, many years ago when I was first pregnant and buying every parenting magazine I could, I read a warning in an American magazine that people constructing sandboxes should make sure they get a type of sand that doesn't contain asbestos. It was a long time ago so maybe the problem has long since been fixed.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 8:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

Cut a tarp to fit. Or a piece of that bubble pack looking swimming pool cover. So it fits inside flat, water can run to the edge.

Wieght it with a few stones on the corners. That will keep most sand in the middle dry.

If too dry, moisten it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ferngarden(z7 DC area)

We had a great sandbox with a lid that we bought at ToysRUs - $60, but when I started pricing lumber etc. plus all the work, it seemed worth it. We used it for 4 years with no problems. Big enough for at least 2 kids. Kept out all the local cats etc. Only reason we don't have it now is that we moved, but I'm thinking about buying it again here. It also is in a nice neutral light brown color so it blends into nicely with the garden.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, I just bought some new sand for my daughter's sandbox and didn't find out until I was home that 2 of the bags are wet and has what appears to be some type of mold. Is there a way to salvage it? I don't want to have to take them back. They each weigh 50lbs.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 8:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tracyvine(6 NE Ohio)

We do not have a sand box anymore specifically because of the animal issues, we not only had cats using it we also had raccoons. It was just too disgusting for me to bare anymore. We had tried tarps and the critters still manage to get in even after we added gromets and hooks to seal it shut. Then we moved on to bifold doors and we added mildew/moss to the mix and the sand took forever to dry out after rain.

Finally we just gave up and put chunky mulch down under the jungle gym. The kids still liked it because they could fill buckets and trucks and dump them out again! Oh, and I have the added benefit of no more sand being tracked in the house and in the kids clothing! Beware of the occasional splinter with finer mulches.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have eight cats. I so pity my neighbors that I offered the one without dogs (which are ideal cat-repellants :-)) to buy him an air-gun (harmless but they'd hate it and shoots from about 20' away) to use on them. Those big powerful squirt guns are good too. Obviously these require you be there, though. He bought a dog instead. He had indoor yappy dogs but now he has a medium dog in back.

I try to keep them inside but until my ex returns and takes his 4 (which got added to my 4 when he temporarily returned), it's not very practical doing that either, given the nature of cats, and that they will tear up wood in the house of doors/frames to get out if they really want out (the more there are, the more they act like a wild pride, rather than civilized tame). I observe this with them:

1 - they like sand.
2 - they like wood mulch.
3 - they don't like hard mulches like gravel. They might lay in it sometimes but they don't generally poop in it.
4 - they love dirt.
5 - they love plants.
6 - hot pepper as some recommend can cause cats to claw their own eyes out scratching. Have mercy. Don't do it. Besides, that will not really keep cats from your garden. It will merely cause them to mutilate themselves IN your garden.
7 - they don't like sudden motion things. small items that move with wind for example.
8 - they don't like water. motion-sensor sprinklers for example.
9 - they do love catnip. Plant some elsewhere where it's shady and comfy and they might hang out there instead.
10 - cocoa hull mulch is poisonous to cats and dogs and some other animals, fyi. Technically you can use it, since it's not your cat, and it's less horrifying than the pepper option (and one can hope a given cat doesn't feel like eating it) but not very nice. Aside from which you know you'd have those things mixed in your soil forever, it's like using rock in landscape and then you end up mowing lawn with the junk mixed in and hitting the blades forever.

If you spring mulch with black landscaper mat, and plant your plants in holes in that, then there isn't anything for them to dig in really, and it's a nice weed block too.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ImaHockeyMom(SW Mich--Zone 5)

Make a mesh cover out of landscape fabric (weed barrier stuff). Sew together as many strips as you need to cover the width of the sandbox. (A simple basting stitch is fine, no need to get fancy.)

You can just drape the cover over the sandbox and weight the corners down with rocks, patio blocks, etc.

If you want something "neater" looking than just draped mesh with rocks, you can "hem" two opposite ends of the cover and thread a bungee cord through each hem. Screw a cup hook or eyelet into the outside of each corner, and you can hook the cover on/off with the bungee cords.

The mesh will keep out animals, leaves, acorns, and those annoying "helicopter" seeds. Rainwater will still get in, but so will air to dry it out.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Get a roll of screen from a hardware store and staple it to one side of the sandbox. (Ours is a playscape) Attach a thin piece of wood such as a broomstick to the opposite side with staples and hook it on the outside of the outer posts or hook with a screen door latch. You just have to remove toys for it to stretch over the sand each time. The vinegar would also discourage kitty from getting around it in case the kids leave the lid off.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a 9'x9' sandbox built on a cement slab so for our cover we bought INDUSTRIAL strength rolls of velcro and stapled it all along the outer edge of the box. Then bought an oversized tarp and attached the velcro to that. It seals the ENTIRE box off and doesn't allow any kind of pet to squeeze through anywhere! Put a large ball in the middle when tarping for the winter and it allows a downpour :) good luck!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That's a great idea!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 11:09AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
gardening pen pal?
I do not need any replies to this topic anymore. Thanks This...
Education to become a farmer?
I'm 19 years old and interested in sustainable agriculture....
pen pal ?
I know this is a little off topic, but my son, 10 (11...
sunflower seed planting help!
So I planted sunflowers with my kids from the $1 buzzy...
Gopher eradication in school garden
I am wondering what your feelings are on this issue....
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™