Building Backyard Horseshoe Pits

Walter Green - General Manager
September 29, 2015

Building Backyard Horseshoe Pits

With the overwhelming heat of summer fading, it's a great time to get outside and have some evening fun with friends and family! If you’re looking for ways to make your backyard more fun, why not build a horseshoe pit? While there's certainly more than a few ways to tackle this easy and inexpensive project, we're going to show you some of the basics that hold true no matter which approach you choose to take.

Before you start your project, here are a list of the materials that you'll need:

  • Box material (4×4 or 2×6 pressure-treated lumber)
  • Fasteners (galvanized screws, spikes, or re-bar, depending on your box material)
  • Circular saw (or another cutting tool appropriate for your lumber)
  • Play sand (five or six bags per box)
  • Shovel (optional)
  • Landscaping fabric (optional)
  • Stakes (included with your horseshoe set; alternatively, use 1-inch diameter re-bar at least 24 inches in length)
  • Sledgehammer

The first thing that needs to be done is measuring your Space. In a regulation pit, horseshoe stakes must be exactly 40 feet apart from each other. Those stakes should sit within a box that, that measures at least 31”×43” and no larger than 36”×72”.

In my experience, one of the most common sizes for backyard boxes is 36×48 inches. It's up to you whether or not you want to build two boxes; but horseshoes technically involves two boxes: one for stakes and one for pitching. So in all, a 48'x6' rectangular area must be set aside for the game. As an important side note, if it's at all possible, build your pits in a north/south direction so that you can play comfortably all day.

Now it's time to build your boxes. We'll assuming you've chosen to build a pair of 36”×48” pits, so in that case you'll need to cut eight pieces of lumber; four pieces measuring 36 inches and four pieces measuring 48 inches. Using fasteners appropriate for the lumber you’ve chosen, assemble the wood pieces into two identical rectangular boxes.

The next step to take is to set your boxes. If you find yourself in a hurry to get done, can get away with just setting your boxes on the ground, but I recommend digging trenches so that each box can sit flush to the ground. While you're at it, you may want to place landscaping fabric at the bottom of each pit. This controls weed growth and keeps your sand from sinking into the dirt, saving you a lot of maintenance time down the road.

Now it's time to set your stakes. Be sure to set your stakes a minimum of 21 inches from the front of your box. You'll need to ensure the stakes are sticking up about 14 or 15 inches from the ground. Drive the stakes on a slant, so they lean slightly toward the other pit on an angle of about 3 inches.

The last thing you have to do is add your sand to the pits. Be sure to fill both pits with sand several at least several inches deep. The type of sand you'll want to buy is whatever is the best priced and most accessible in stores. Depending on the dimensions of the boxes you’ve built, the amount of sand you'll need will vary some, but you can expect to use five or six bags of sand to fill each pit. Now, there’s nothing left to do now but to grab a cold drink and start pitching….