# How to Make an Outdoor Chessboard

The Lawn Chessboard

If you're handy with a tape measure and a mower, then creating your own lawn chessboard might be just what Garry Kasparov ordered. Before you start giving the lawn a haircut, however, you need to consider the available space in your yard. Remember, chess is played on a 64-square board made up of eight rows, each containing eight equal spaces. Each square alternates in color.

Mowing a chessboard onto your lawn is in reality "striping" your lawn, just as the professionals do on sports fields. You create stripes by bending the blades of grass in one direction or another. Let's get started. Note: For the sake of easier reading, we're going to skip the metric conversions in the directions.

• First, figure out the size you want the chessboard to be. This is going to depend on the size of your mower and the swath it cuts. For example, if you have a 24-inch mower, then each square in your chessboard will be 2 feet by 2 feet. If you have a 36-inch mower, then each square will be 3 feet by 3 feet.
• Once you measure the perimeter of the board, stake the corners with batter boards and a mason's line (see sidebar). Make sure your layout lines are level by using a water level or a line level. Use the 3-4-5 triangle method to make sure the corners are square. That is, pick a point 3 feet from the corner on one side and 4 feet from the corner on the other side. The corner will be square when the distance between the lines is 5 feet (the triangle's hypotenuse). If it doesn't measure up, adjust the boards and line accordingly. Do that for every corner.
• If everything is plumb, fire up the mower. First, mow the perimeter around the area you want the chessboard to cover. Follow the outside edge of the mason's lines.
• Next, mow the inside of the "chessboard" in opposing directions. For example, mow one line north to south, and mow the other line south to north. Use the accompanying diagram as a guide (it's three by three rather than eight by eight, but you get the idea).
Mowing your lawn north to south