Garden chess board

I wanted to teach my kiddos to play chess, and we had an empty corner in our small garden.

We also wanted them to spend as much time outside as possible. Therefore a large chess board outside seemed to be a good idea.

The whole thing is 1m x 1m big (3.28 feet x 3.28 feet) and is made from concrete pavement blocks.

Time estimate: 8 work hours, this is a one day/weekend project.

Cost estimate: ~40$

It is a simple project requiring only basic tools and a bit of patience.

Step 1: Materials used

Garden chess board

Materials used:

1x a bag of cement (20 kilos) for making concrete - used only 1/4th of the bag though.

4x concrete pavement side blocks, 1 meter length each.

64 + 6 concrete paving blocks (6 extra just to be sure)

1 x bag of granite gravel.

Sand came free.

Tools used:


Spirit level

A piece of wood for compacting soil/sand.

Couple of buckets

A wheelbarrow

Step 2: Making of the chess board

Garden chess board
Garden chess board
Garden chess board
Garden chess board

Step 1: Preparations

We cleared the area of small pebbles and laid a plastic cloth of digged dirt.

Got everything we neede, prepared the dry cement mix (1 part cement, 4.5 parts sand)

Step 2: The hole

Dig a hole in the ground :) Keep it square and a bit larger than an actual board size.

Once you're done, grab a heavy blunt thing and compact the soil below.

Sink in the side slabs and check that they are level.

Once all 4 sides are in place and level, add some gravel on the bottom for better drainage. Compact it again.

Step 3: Fill the hole up

Fill the hole with sand in thin layers. Re-compact the sand after every inch or so.

Check the height using an actual brick.

I found it was good to water the sand a little bit in the process.

Step 3: Finishing

Garden chess board
Garden chess board

At the end, once the ground is nice and level, lay the bricks one by one.

Start with a black one at the bottom left corner.

I used a small wooden brick to gently tap the concrete bricks in place.

At the end there was a tiny 0.5 inch gap on one side, so I filled it with left over concrete.

For the finishing, we added some fine sand which filled all the tiny gaps.

We also painted the black tiles some more so they are more visible.

I'll update this instructable with my play pieces later on.

Step 4: Checkers play pieces

Garden chess board
Garden chess board

Just finished and painted play pieces for checkers. Chess pieces in the making.

3 inches x 3 inches each, corners removed. Pine wood, 1 inch thick.


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