Outdoor Game Spaces

July 8, 2008

Bocce BallA well planned outdoor space can offer endless opportunities for rest and relaxation. It doesn’t get much better than reading the newspaper out on a shaded deck, and taking a nap pool side. If you are anything like me however, relaxation can also lead to boredom. Fortunately, there are many games and activities that can be planned for and built in even the smallest outdoor spaces. Horseshoes, Croquette, Bocce Ball and Putting Greens can add an element of fun to your space for kids and adults.

As with anything, it’s important that you plan your ‘game space’ to function with the rest of your outdoor space. The best location for a dedicated outdoor game really depends on the activity. The relatively low impact of a putting green makes it welcome virtually anywhere, even adjacent to a seating or dinning area. Horseshoes however can be loud, and potentially dangerous, and should be located away from the main gathering areas. In addition, it’s important to consider the maintenance cost associated with dedicated game spaces. While a croquette course can simply be a well maintained lawn, a bocce ball court requires raking and rolling to maintain a consistent surface. Some of most popular games and the area that they consume include the following:

  1. Putting Green 400-10,000 SF
  2. Putting Green 400-10,000 SF
  3. Bocce Ball 600-1,200 SF
  4. Croquette 5,000-8,000 SF
  5. Horseshoes 160-200 SF
  6. Lawn Bowling 1680 SF

The popularity of Bocce Ball has exploded in recent years, and in many instances is replacing horseshoes as the ‘game of choice’ for backyard fun. Bocce can be played on virtually any grass or dirt surface, but is best when played on a regulation court. A regulation Bocce Court is 10-12 feet wide and 60-90 feet long, and is enclosed by 6-12 inch high wood boarder. The ideal surface for bocce is a mixture of clay and oyster shells, which provides a consistent, firm surface.

Check out these links for more information:

  • Go Outside and Play: A recent article by Roger Cook on how to build outdoor game spaces at home. The article includes some great images of bocce ball courts and horseshoe pits incorporated into outdoor spaces.
  • United States Bocce Federation: Home of the United States Bocce Federation. This site includes information on local tournaments, official rules, and provides great detail of how to construct one at home.
  • Boccemon.com: A great site dedicated to Bocce Ball, including an index of court builders. Boccemon also supplies and sells their own Oyster Blend surfacing.


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