How to Build a Backyard Horseshoe Pit

By: Patrick J. Kiger

Materials for Your Horseshoe Pit

If you're going to build a serious horseshoe court with the regulation two pits, you need the right materials. The good news is that you can find most everything you will need at your local home improvement supply store. Here's your list:

  • Two 30-inch-long (76 centimeter), 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) thick iron or steel stakes.
  • Wooden or steel plates with a hole in the center, or small buckets that you can fill with cement, to serve as bases for the spikes [source: Boga].
  • Horseshoe clay. If you're a casual thrower, you can get by with ordinary or churned-up soil. But for serious competition, you'll want special horseshoe pit clay, which makes the shoes stop precisely where they land. Expect to spend $300 or so for 2 cubic yards, which is enough for two pits [source: Sheffeld Pottery].
  • 28 15-by-15-inch (38-by-38-centimeter) flagstones to frame the court and create walkways and a pitching box for the players [source: NHPA]. You can economize by using cheap retaining wall blocks or wooden boards.
  • Backstops for the horseshoe pits, so that errant tosses don't go all over the place. You need a barrier that's about 12 inches (30 centimeters) high and 3 feet (1 meter) wide. For best results, get a pair of standard 4-by-4-inch-thick (10-by-10-centimeter) deck posts that are at least 2 feet (61 centimeters) long and four 2-by-8-inch (5-by-20-centimeter), 3-foot long boards [source: M&M Horseshoe Company].
  • Several 3-inch (7.6 centimeter) wood screws.
  • A cloth or digital tape measure and paint or chalk, so you can lay out the court.
  • Tools: A shovel, a sledgehammer, and an electric screwdriver.