In my backyard there is a 20' x 20' sandbox on a slight incline (0' to 1.5') with an approximate volume of 300 cubic feet (11 cubic yards).

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The sandbox served as a foundation for an above-ground salt water swimming pool for years (perhaps decades).

I want to remove the sandbox from my yard.

I have put together 100 sandbags, but I have no use for them and no one in the area seems interested in them. As well, for all that work, the sand that went into these sandbags hardly made a dent in the sandbox.

When digging down, it's just the top level that is sand. Beneath the sand is a fine gravel. I don't know the specific type of sand; it is similar to the sand found at the beach.

Is spreading the sand in the yard an option? Would covering in soil and grass (sod or seed) work?

Location: Pacific Northwest, USDA zone 9a

2 Answers 2


It depends on the type of sand.

If it is coarse grained "builder's sand" it will not do any harm, so long as it doesn't contain any contaminants. Builders sand often contains a lot of lime which will mess up your soil pH. It is basically crushed rock, and you have no idea what type of rock it originally was.

If it is the fine sand with rounded grains used for children's play areas, it will mix with your soil to form a layer that won't allow water to drain or air to get to the plant roots. Obviously that is not a good plan!

You can tell the difference by feel. Builder's sand will feel "sharp" (and may cut your fingers!) if you rub it with your hands, but play-area sand will not.

Personally, I would get just rid of it. Either hire a skip and dump it, or advertise locally to see if somebody wants whichever type of sand it is. If it is builder's sand, a local builder may be quite happy to take it away and use it for free.

  • Sorry, I forgot to mention when making the sandbags, the top layer was sand (it seems like beach sand), but under that is a fine gravel. I didn't dig further but it wouldn't surprise me to find coarser gravel below. I considered paying to remove it, but your suggestion to advertise it first is a good step.
    – shufler
    Jun 10, 2019 at 21:08
  • I rented a bobcat and advertised the fill. People came and took it away by the truck-load.
    – shufler
    Jan 1, 2021 at 23:12

Sand is a good start for a soil. I would add some organics like peat moss , mulch , shredded leaves ,etc. Rototill the organics into the surface layer . If you don't want a garden , sod or seed it . It will need some extra water depending on the grass type. I have had three different homes on very sandy soil , dig down a foot and it looks like dune sand ( finer than beach sand). Growing has been easy but water as necessary.

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