Depending on the size of your lawn, you may wish to consider adding an area devoted to a particular sport. Some popular choices include lawn bowling, croquet, bocce, and horseshoes. Designing courts for these activities is an easy home improvement that can greatly increase your enjoyment of your backyard and provide hours of entertainment and exercise for you and your guests. Horseshoe pitching is always popular; in fact, in 1989, President George H. W. Bush had a horseshoe pit installed on the White House grounds. Horseshoe pits are especially simple to construct and require little maintenance, so they make excellent first projects for beginners. Your new horseshoe pit will provide a center for conversation and competition during backyard gatherings and barbecues, and may even engender some healthy competition and rivalry into the bargain.
While the White House’s clay-lined regulation pit may be a little overpriced for your needs, you’ll need to buy some basic materials. While some stone-framed pits exist, wood is most popular due to ease of construction. Although blue clay is the traditional material for the inside of the pit, most home horseshoe pits use sand since it is cheaper and easier to maintain and refill. Clay pits require constant attention and precise watering; unless you are an expert on clay maintenance, sand is a much better option. For ease of explanation, the horseshoe pit instructions given here will refer to a basic wood-framed pit.
For this project, you’ll need:
o Two 48-inch 2″ by 6″ boards
o Two 36-inch 2″ by 6″ boards
o One three-foot long metal spike
o One package exterior wood screws (decking screws are suitable as well)
o Enough sand to fill your pit
Using the exterior wood screws, connect the two 48-inch boards and two 36-inch boards to form a rectangle. This will be the frame for your horseshoe pit. Next, mark the outline of your horseshoe pit on your lawn. Line chalk works very well for this purpose. Using the newly-built frame as a guide can be helpful if you’re not sure about your measurements.
Now, dig a hole about a foot deep inside the area where the frame will go; then carefully place the frame into the hole. It should extend at least two inches over the surface of the ground; if it does not, move dirt underneath to support it until it does. Once this step is completed, hammer the metal spike into the ground at the middle of the pit, leaving at least a foot above ground level and tilting it slightly toward the area where the pitcher will stand. Fill in the pit with sand around the spike.
When you’ve finished, you will have a very basic horseshoe pit. You may wish to add landscaping, such as shrubs or flowering bushes, to serve as a backstop for your pit. Be sure to leave at least two feet between the edge of the pit and the backstop. A decorative border outlining the pitching area, foul line, and the length of the horseshoe pit also adds a nice touch and can prevent disagreements about rule violations during play. Consider adding a small chalkboard for scoring; this can make a nice addition to your horseshoe pit area and allow your friends to claim bragging rights for the best scores.
Regulation horseshoe pits require an area of at least forty-eight feet by six feet with a horseshoe pit located at each end. This size requirement makes them impractical for many urban yards. Luckily, you can have just as much fun with a smaller horseshoe pit, and you and your friends will enjoy sharing this outdoor activity together.
Joe Cline writes articles for Austin real estate. Other articles written by the author related to Austin Texas real estate and Round Rock real estate can be found on the net.
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