How to make an outdoor chess set

By  | 

Summertime should be lived outside.  That’s our philosophy.  But our family loves board games, too.  So we created this outdoor giant chess set to combine our favorite things.  Smart thinking, huh?

Outdoor giant chess set, a DIY from

Ok, the lawn needs to be mowed, weeds pulled, things fixed. But…that’s life.

P.S. Do you see the apple tree on the right of Nate? A  bear broke the top off that poor thing…trying to CLIMB it! Stupid bear.

Anyways…Chess is a bit of a deal around my house. I run an afterschool chess club for 10 thru 15 year olds. Chess is a great tool to encourage academics, math, team building, personal growth, and all sorts of great things!! Yes, I’m a geek!

So…when we were trying to decide what to do with this little area at the front of our house I said…CHESS!! Yay!!

It’s simple to do…I waited until later in the summer when the cheapo landscape squares were on clearance.

You need your “board” to be 8 squares across by 8 squares wide. Buy 1/2 in red and 1/2 in gray. Or whatever they have….

Then lay those suckers down….as level as possible

Outdoor giant chess set, a DIY from

For the chess pieces I used cheap-o plastic plates. My sister was an overachiever and drew every single chess piece on them for me. I probably would have just written the name …cause I am lazy. But, I surely appreciate her doing it!

Grab a hose holder to hold your “pieces” and eventually…it would be cool to have a sign for your chess board attached. I’m getting there!

Outdoor giant chess set, a DIY from

 Of course, checkers is played by flipping the pieces over to the other side. And…(close your ears if you are little) Nate would like me to mention that you can liven the Outdoor Giant Chess Set game up a bit for grown-ups by playing….strip Chess. He’s full of it. He has NEVER played strip Chess. In his dreams. Ha!

Keeping it real…this probably cost us about $50. We paid .50 for the blocks and then the plates were…I don’t know? They were cheap. But… things add up.

Like this outdoor giant chess set?  You might also like our giant pick-up sticks.


Nellie is the founder of NellieBellie, and takes basically every photograph you've ever seen on this site. She also runs our web design business, the Savvy Sites Administration.


  1. Mackenzie

    July 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Very clever! Such a fun summer game! We’d love to invite you to join us on Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes to share you great ideas! I know my readers will love this as well! Have a great weekend!
    Mackenzie :)

  2. Laurel@chippingwithcharm

    July 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Too fun…LOVE it :) Laurel

  3. Emily

    July 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I love chess too and this is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. karen@somewhatquirky

    July 20, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I think I would get rid of that pet bear you have! next think you know he will did up your fab chess set….This is really cool – but I must admit that my lazy ass would rather sit in a chair and play chess in the air-conditioning. Thanks for joining the party this week!

  5. Bella

    July 17, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Chess, not for me but checkers…that I like. What a great alternative for the usual outdoor games like horseshoes or badminton!

  6. Brittany @ Crafty Mischief

    July 17, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Yes! This is awesome! We rent our home now, but I am definitely pinning this for our future backyard! Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. Bliss

    July 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

    This gives me an idea, even though I don’t know how to play chess the rest of the family does.


  8. keri @ shaken together

    July 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    SO fun … we played chess and ate borscht in my 8th grade Gifted class one day … I’m sure your version is WAAAAAYYYY more fun!

  9. Smallgood

    July 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Love it! I don’t know how to play chess, but checkers would be great. I have too-close neighbors for any kind of strip chess/checkers. Haha.

    I don’t think $50 is too bad. It’s a game and a great feature for the yard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.