Create your own beach in your outdoor space with sand and gravel

Create your own beach in your outdoor space with sand and gravel

You love relaxing on a sandy beach but alas, you don’t live within sight or reasonable driving distance of an ocean shore (or even a respectable pond). Well, now you can get that beach vibe in your own backyard by employing a versatile blend of sand and gravel landscaping.

Used on their own, gravel, sand and rocks are great alternatives to mulch for planting beds; the materials are excellent base layers for walkways, retaining walls, and patio pavers; and they provide critical and sturdy foundation for planters, ponds, and a wide range of other landscaping projects. But combine all three and you have the ingredients to create unique theme landscapes to suit your individual personality, including a private backyard beach. 

Sand isn’t just for sandboxes, pails, and shoves anymore; in fact, it’s time to think out of the (sand) box and make something amazing happen in your yard. You’ll need quite a bit of sand to create your own beach, but it is still an affordable and luxurious option. Incorporate tasteful décor and outdoor seating and you can be beach-bound any day you like!

Beach-building basics

With so much sand involved, you need to take care when designing a beach landscape to be sure all that material stays in “the beach” and out of your flowerbeds, garden, or pool. You can do this by installing a sturdy border of wood or paving stones. For sloped areas, a small retaining wall is very effective to contain a newly landscaped space.

If you have a pool or have one on your wish list, ensure the pool deck is wide enough to keep errant beach sand out of the water and from clogging pool filters. Follow a diligent design strategy including foundation preparation and surrounding hardscapes.

Beach design ideas

Beach life is about an easygoing feel, from sandcastle competitions to sunbathing or playing beach volleyball. Here are some popular options to bring the beach home.

Sand Dunes

If you have enough space, include sand dunes to make your backyard feel like the real thing. They work great to create separate seating areas as well. Build mounds with small gravel and then cover with sand.

Pond and beach

If you have an existing, clean pond in your backyard, place sand in a way that comes right to the edge to create an inviting beach. Employ a natural slope for a comfy sitting space.

Sand volleyball court

Ensure proper drainage and safety, properly grade the area, and be sure to use the right type of sand.  If you’re just hosting a casual game now and again, all you really need is a good net and deep sand.