Make Outdoor Living More Fun With DIY Backyard Games

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Exmark offers tips for building a horseshoe pit and ring toss.

Pitching horseshoes

Nothing says summer fun like a friendly game of horseshoes.

Two of the most popular and easy-to-install DIY backyard games are horseshoes and the hook and ring toss.

When it comes time to enjoy the outdoor living spaces homeowners work so hard to create, backyard games are a great way to add a fun and competitive element to an outdoor gathering.

According to landscape designer, Doug Scott, of Redeem Your Ground in Atlanta, Georgia, two of the most popular and easy-to-install DIY backyard games are horseshoes and the hook and ring toss.

“Both are inexpensive, easy projects that will add some competitive entertainment to backyard get-togethers,” he said.

Scott details the steps to building both games in Exmark's latest Done in a Weekend series video, "Game On".

The classic game of horseshoes can fit in virtually any yard with room for the 40-foot span between the pits. Horseshoe sets are available from a wide variety of local and online retailers.

To install a horseshoe pit, first, find a level, low-traffic area in the yard measuring 40-feet in length with plenty of room to move around. Then, measure and flag where the stakes should go.

Next, drive the two, 36-inch stakes into the ground at a 12-degree angle, towards the center of the playing area. When done, only 14-inches of the stake should remain above ground.

Loosen the top two- to four-inches of soil around each stake to complete the pit areas. Be sure not to go any deeper, as it could compromise the anchorage of the stake. Optionally, pit areas can be bordered with stacked two- by six-inch pressure-treated lumber and lined with sand, which minimizes the potential for damage to the yard.

Hook and ring toss is another simple addition to any backyard. Many believe the game traces its origins to the Caribbean.

“The hook and ring toss is also easy to build and inexpensive,” Scott said.

Materials needed include: a 12-inch by 16-inch by ¾-inch wooden game board, cut to the desired shape; two pieces of strap material, to affix the game board to the tree of choice; a five-foot telescoping rod or dowel; a six- to seven-foot length of string; one exterior-grade open hook; one two-inch diameter welded ring; and four, ¾-inch screws.

First, drill an upward-slanting hole at the top of the game board to catch the dowel. Then, fasten the open hook into the center of the board and the strapping to the back of the game board. Place the dowel into position in the upward-slanting hole drilled earlier, and strap the board onto the tree, approximately four- to five-feet off the ground.

Next, tie the welded ring to one end of the string and hang the ring on the open hook. Then, extend the dowel to a length that causes the string to begin picking the ring up, while on the open hook.

Scott noted that, if using a wooden dowel, drill a small hole in the end of the dowel for easier string adjustment.

Finally, unhook the ring and swing it through its arc to ensure the string is long enough for the ring to land on the hook. Be sure to keep the string taut, just as if it was being tossed or swung in a game.

“Now all that’s left is to round up friends and family and have some fun,” Scott added.

Visit to see all six Exmark Done in a Weekend videos with project ideas to improve the beauty and functionality of your outdoor living space.

About Exmark
Exmark Manufacturing was incorporated in May 1982 as an independent manufacturer of professional turf care equipment. Today, it is the leading manufacturer of commercial mowers and equipment for the landscape professional. Exmark mowers are purchased 2-to-1 over the next best-selling brand by landscape maintenance professionals. In addition to designing, building and marketing quality turf care equipment, Exmark’s goal is total customer satisfaction. All Exmark products are designed to help customers increase productivity while delivering unmatched quality. Products are sold to distributors and dealers who share the company’s commitment to customer service and quality products. Learn more at

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Matt Gersib
Matt Gersib Public Relations
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