How to make an outdoor chess set

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

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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.


  • 32 grey landscape squares
  • 32 red landscape squares
  • 16 [easyazon_link identifier="B01MRH00EC" locale="US"]plastic plates[/easyazon_link] of one color
  • 16 plastic plates of another color
  • [easyazon_link identifier="B019QBPDSM" locale="US"]
    • permanent marker(s)


  • Optional: [easyazon_link identifier="B0000DI85K" locale="US"]Hose holder[/easyazon_link]

To Do:

  1. Lay your landscape square out as level as possible, alternating colors.
  2. Either draw the chess pieces on the plates, or write the name of the piece. Be sure to have a full set for each color.
  3. Put all of your pieces in the hose holder to store.

You need your “board” to be 8 squares across by 8 squares wide. Buy ½ in red and ½ 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.


6 thoughts on “How to make an outdoor chess set”

  1. karen@somewhatquirky

    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!

  2. keri @ shaken together

    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!

  3. 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.

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