How to build a backyard horseshoe pit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

How to build a backyard horseshoe pit

Updated: Aug 17, 2012 12:35 PM EDT
A horseshoe pit in your backyard is a great way to spend a little time exercising while having fun. (©Steve Mason/Photodisc /Thinkstock) A horseshoe pit in your backyard is a great way to spend a little time exercising while having fun. (©Steve Mason/Photodisc /Thinkstock)

By Bill Washburn

Building a horseshoe pit in your backyard is a great way to get the family together for outdoor activities and spend a little time exercising while having fun. The process is pretty easy and you won't need many supplies. Here's how to build a permanent horseshoe pit in your backyard.

Court Dimensions & Options

To build a regulation size pit, the necessary dimensions are six feet by 40-feet, with a pitching platform at each end, which may be more grass than most people wish to sacrifice in their backyard. There is a smaller regulation size for children or youth pitchers measured at six feet by 30-feet. The next smallest option is a half pit measured at six feet by 20-feet (15-feet for the youth size). Mark of the desired dimensions in the backyard with kite string or twine and four wooden stakes to see which size fits best.

The size of each pitching platform is six feet by six feet, including the 18-inch by six foot side platforms. For the purpose of this article, we'll assume one pitching platform will be built. For a second platform, double the amount of lumber listed below.

Materials Needed To Build A Horseshoe Pit

The lumber and materials listed below can be found at any large lumberyard or home center. Consider having the lumberyard or home center cut the 12-foot deck boards in half to make them easier to transport.

Most of the pitching pit can be built indoors, in a garage, or under a patio roof, then taken to the backyard for installation.

Cutting Schedule:

2–2x10 x 36" for the backboard
2–2x4 x 22" for the backboard braces
8–2x4 x 72" for the pitching platforms
10–2x4 x 15" for the pitching platforms
1–4x4x 72" bottom rail for backboard
6–2x6 x 72" deck boards
#8 x 3" deck screws, box of 100

Building The Pitching Platforms

Begin assembling the two pitching platforms by screwing two 72-inch 2x4s to the two outside 15-inch 2x4s to form a box (use two #8 deck screws at each corner). Screw three additional 15-inch 2x4s to the sides equally spaced along the 72-inch length (use two # 8 deck screws at each joint). Next attach the three 72-inch 2x4s to the top of the box to form the deck. Repeat this process for the second pitching platform. When the second platform is completed attach them both to the 72-inch long 4x4 with at least four deck screws through each pitching platform end into the 4 x 4. This anchors the pitching platforms 36-inches away from each other to form the width of the pit.

Building The Backboards

Position the two 2x10s for the backboard along their 36-inch edge and attach the two 2x4 x 22 along the short edge of the backboard, and attach each 2x4 brace with eight deck screws. The braces will extend 3-inches beyond the bottom of the backboard. This is to attach the backboard to the4x4. Attach each backboard brace with four deck screws to the4x4.

Making The Horseshoe Stakes

Cut two 3-fooot lengths of ½-inch rigid conduit or steel rebar for the horseshoe stakes. A good way to anchor the stake is to purchase an inexpensive pot, bucket or pail, fill it with concrete and embed the stake.

Installing The Structures In The Yard

Move the pitching platform assembly into position and remove the grass where the sand pit will be located. Dig the pit deep enough to allow for at least 4-inches of sand.

When the concrete hardens, dig a deeper hole for the bucket, and place the stake 36-inches forward of the backboard and centered left to right within the sand pit. The stakes should extend 18-inches above the sand and tilt forward approx. 12 degrees (or 3-inches from vertical). Smooth out the sand in the pit.

Final Tips

- To keep the horseshoe pit in position, drill a hole through each back corner of the deck and pound a length of rigid conduit or rebar into the ground to anchor the frame.

- An additional 2x4 across the front edge of the sand pit will help contain the sand.

- For player's safety, it is recommended that the stakes be capped with a plastic end cap or conduit cap.

- Official rules for horseshoes are available free from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association.

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