Backyard Makeover with a Fun Game and Cup Holders

Article Posted By: Emily Belden and Ryan Lange

of www.emilybelden.com

Backyard Makeover With a DIY Outdoor Game Idea

Ryan Lange and Emily Belden think of everything. We asked this Chicago couple if they’d like to come up with a DIY for a fun outdoor game for our Outdoor Games Style Challenge. They’re known for being makers of amazing things, as you can see on the Handmade America website.

They invented a whole new backyard game that’s a fun addition to the bean bag toss genre of outdoor competition. But they also realized an outdoor game isn’t much if you don’t have a handy spot to put your drink down… or a place for chips and dip. And they’d never have fun in the yard if their favorite furry friends were locked up indoors!

This is practically a whole backyard makeover. Take a look a these clever ideas for making a backyard a great spot for outdoor fun, be you human or beast.

Backyard Makeover With a DIY Outdoor Game Idea

On June 13, we traded skyscrapers for surf shops and headed to our summer home in South Haven, Michigan. Even though we are just a block from the beach and a 10-minute pedal bike ride into town, we wanted to have a little fun in our own backyard, so we took The Home Depot up on their summer Outdoor Games Style Challenge.

Using a little PVC pipe and a lot of elbow grease, we created a game we are calling: “Seven & Seven”.

Building a White Picket Fence

Backyard Makeover With a DIY Outdoor Game Idea Backyard Makeover With a DIY Outdoor Game Idea
We decided that the first step should be to fence in an area of our backyard. Not only would this keep all of the components of our backyard game in-bounds, but it would also keep the referees (our dogs– Mr. Jarbles and Gus) out of our neighbor’s yards.

To do this, we snagged a few pre-picketed, 8-foot pine fence panels from The Home Depot in Benton Harbor, Michigan and got to work on staking boundaries.

Backyard Makeover With a DIY Outdoor Game Idea

Building a Pickett Fence

We used a post hole digger and filled the holes with the best invention ever: concrete you don’t have to pre-mix that’s specially made for wood and metal fence posts. Never before were we so glad to hear the words, “Just add water.”

Building a Pickett Fence

Building a Pickett Fence

Home Depot #2768, Benton Harbor, Michigan

Picking Up Supplies for a Backyard Makeover

We finished off the fence “Huck Finn style” by white-washing it by hand with Behr exterior barn paint.

In total, it took two gallons and two hours with each of us taking a side to paint. There was no one more glad to see this fence done than Gus, our rescue pup who was found wandering the streets of Chicago in the winter.

Take a look at him now – go, Gus, go!

Ryan Lange paints a new picket fence for his backyard makeover

Rescue dog Gus very happy to have a fenced in place to run

Gus at rest and at play


Making Stuff With PVC (and a Dead Tree)

Then it was on to the PVC workings.

There were two things we wanted to do with the piping:

1. Create an outdoor game

2. Create cup holders for beverages enjoyed while playing said outdoor game

Building the Outdoor Game

For the game, we cut PVC into seven 1-foot high tubes and arranged them in a flower petal shape.

We then made bean bags from of a tub of mixed beads and small burlap cinch sacks (which we customized with a rubber stamp and inkpad).

Rules for the game are below.

Building a DIY Outdoor Game Building a DIY Outdoor Game Out of PVC Pipe Building a DIY Outdoor Game Out of PVC Pipe Building a DIY Outdoor Game Out of PVC Pipe Building a DIY Outdoor Game Out of PVC Pipe

PVC Pipe Drink Holders

As for the drink holders, we cut a 45-degree angle on one side of the pipe to stake into the ground.

We cut the PVC to be about 2½ feet high (or, arms-length to a frosty drink) and added PVC junction on top to cradle the can.

We placed these in the ground throughout our yard.

Building PVC Pipe Drink Holders Building PVC Pipe Drink Holders Building PVC Pipe Drink Holders

PVC Pipe Drink Holders for the Backyard


Building an Outdoor Snacking Area

And, what’s drink without a little food, right?

To create a small conversation/snacking area, we decided to trim down a dead tree in the backyard to cocktail table height. We added an oak table top to the dead stump, and dressed it with wooden coasters cut from the dead tree branches and a handmade iPhone speaker (kind of like this iPhone speaker) that Ryan cut from his CNC machine.

All that’s missing is a little chips and salsa!

Cutting down a dead tree to make an outdoor snack station

Creating an outdoor snack station

Creating an outdoor snack station

Creating an outdoor snack station

Creating an outdoor snack station

Wooden iPhone Speaker


Game Time 

Gus with the "Seven and Seven" backyard game

Playing the "Seven and Seven" DIY Backyard Game

Our game is called Seven & Seven.

Ideally, you want at least 4 players (two teams of two), two sets of seven PVC pipe clusters, and 14 bean bags.

Filling bean bags to play "Seven and Seven" backyard game

Filling bean bags to play "Seven and Seven" backyard game

How to Play

Team 1/Player 1 stands 8 feet from the PVC cluster and tosses a bean bag into a PVC pipe.
Player 2 must then match that throw on his set standing 8 feet away as well.

Landing in the same pipe = 2 points
Landing one away (up, down, left, or right) = 1 point
Landing in any other pipe = 0 points
Landing on the ground = -1 point

Player 1 throws her 2nd bag.
Player 2 throws his 2nd bag; again, trying to match wherever Player 1’s bag landed.

And so on and so forth until all seven bags from each player are tossed.

After each partner throws their seven bags, tally up the score and it’s time for Team 2 to take a turn. The team with the highest score (meaning, Player 2 was able to sink the same shots Player 1 made) wins.

Mega Bonus Round
If Player 1 lands all seven shots in subsequent clockwise formation, regardless of Player 2’s ability to match throws, that team wins.

Have a great summer, everyone!

Ryan Lange and Emily Belden will design, engineer, hack or make just about anything you can think of–digital, physical, or both. Check out their website Handmade America to see them in action. Emily has her own blog focused on her writing, too. Take a look at the cool stuff they did with their apartment balcony back in Chicago.

For more backyard makeover ideas and backyard games, see other Outdoor Games Style Challenge articles here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. Browse our Outdoor Recreation Department for everything you need for fun in the outdoors.

Ryan and Emily received a Home Depot gift card to complete their outdoor game DIY project. The ideas and opinions they expressed are their own.

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