At the end of the summer, when your hard plastic wading pool develops a crack, turn it into a sand box. Add more cracks or holes in the bottom for drainage and add sand.
Another similar idea to yours is to bury the pool into the ground and fill with garden soil. This would make a self contained bed for plants and flowers. The cracks and holes you add to the bottom allow for drainage.
Our city has leaf pickup days if you pile them near the road. We've used an old wading pool to put raked leaves and yard debris in from the back yard and pulled it to the front to dump.
A kid's pool would also make a great bog garden for all those plants, eg. some of the irises, that love water. You can check on the moisture level of the soil really quickly and easily. Plus if there are no holes or very few holes you won't have to add water very often.
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