Feb 7/Bye Bye Sandpit

By noon tomorrow, this eye sore of a sand pit in our backyard will be gone! We’ve started to discuss landscaping plans and I made an initial sketch, but I think it’ll help to see the space cleared before making any final decisions. So far we’ve talked about:
-pea gravel (mixed reviews) or flagstone (too expensive?)
-raised beds for vegetables
-reusing brick pavers
-fire pit
-plant border in front of fence

We thought about saving the sand and/or rocks to reuse later, but considering the recent rain, how little we’ve moved so far, and the fact that the Haul Out guys are coming tomorrow morning, I think this option is out.

We’re trying to stay within a tight budget, and can only do a little now, but we’re trying to make decisions that could eventually work well with a “Phase 2” patio and fence renovation down the road…does anyone have any budget-friendly backyard landscaping tips?