Now, the question was how to add a layer of sand to the layout to make this more realistic? We have the base paint coat. Sand is a messy substance: it clogs the works of pretty much anything that it comes into contact with. I placed a bet that a thick layer of white glue painted onto the layout would be best. This would let the sand have a strong base to hold. Once the base was dry, I thought a good spray with a 33% 33% 33% mix of water, glue and alcohol would finalize the covering. Not a bad way to go: it worked pretty well!
If I had my wishes, I would discover some way to spray the glue mixture onto the sand without disturbing it too much. It turns out that anything close to a high pressure spray will blow the sand around too much, making a fine mess with splatter marks. In the end, the process worked out pretty well. The sand is well attached and not moving.
With half of the layout sanded, the time had come to work on the more complex yard side of the table: switches, buildings, roads… all of which needed to be well integrated into the scenery to look realistic. I decided to lay out the road system first. I like the look, feel and ease of using Woodland Scenics road system. It uses a plaster like material that hardens rapidly. When used with foam insulation strips, one can literally pour roads with ease. Here you see the roadway outlined with foam strips:
Once the roads were outlined, the next step was to pour it into place and let it all dry: