Outdoor Chess – 25 Ideas and Inspirations

When we think of outdoor chess we think of a mammoth scaled board pieces and a giant checkerboard, but there is no reason why an outdoor game of chess can’t be scaled to fit your own big or small backyard. We’ve sourced out 25 ideas and inspirations that will suit almost any area, decor and budget, and I am sure there is at least one that you could imagine in your own outdoor space whether on a patio, in the garden or even next to a pool.

Incorporating Outdoor Chess into a Patio or Terrace

Painted concrete outdoor chess board

What I really like about this outdoor chess set is the way it repeats the size of the square garden area just past it. Source

Outdoor chessboard drawn with chalk lines

The garden in the above photo spills beautifully over the edges of the patio’s wood decking. The homeowner did not want an outdoor chessboard to detract from the beautiful foliage and blossoms so instead they simply used chalk lines and the decking itself to create the separations between the chess squares. Country Living

Chess board painted on wood patio deck. Each figure has a circular handle.

If you do want a bold contrasting chessboard on your patio and you like a country aesthetic you might consider going green and white to correspond with the greens in your garden. In the above photo they even stained their fence green for a co-ordinated look. Southern Living

Checkerboard created with square pavers

For a modern look a dark grey and white checkerboard created with large 24” square pavers makes a beautiful statement. HGTV

Outdoor chess board made with square patio stones

The above photo shows how a pre-existing patio can easily be used as an outdoor chessboard, as long as the patio stones are square. Source

Raised patio made as an outdoor chess board

I love how the homeowner’s of this property chose to create a patio just for their outdoor chess set. Raised above ground level, the edges can double as a place to sit while contemplating the next move. Revolutionary Gardens

Lawn Chess

Lawn chessboard made by grouting the tiles with grass

Outdoor Chess does not have to stay on the patio, it can easily spill into the lawn and by grouting the tiles with grass the chessboard is no longer a separate entity as seen in the above photo. Landscaping Network

Outdoor chess game idea for your lawn

Another way of incorporating an outdoor chess game into the lawn is by using the lawn as the alternating squares. With the pavers inset into the lawn, they’re not even in the way of the lawnmower. Sponge Kids

Foldable Chessboard mat idea

If you prefer your outdoor chess to disappear when not in use, these chessboard mats can easily be folded up and stored away and the figures can be packed away into their own Tote Bag. The Game Supply

Simple chessboard made from Home Depot pavers

A chessboard mat works great on a patio but not so well on lumpy bumpy grass but a stack of lightweight 12” pavers can easily be arranged on top of the grass when used and then stored out of sight when not in use, and as the above photo clearly shows, actual chess pieces don’t have to be used, this homeowner prefers garden gnomes, frogs and rabbits. Source

Chess Pieces

Oversized chess pieces made in wood

Just as you can create different aesthetics by the look of the outdoor board, so too can you create different looks by the choice of chess pieces. This gorgeous set is teak wood, isn’t it awesome?! Mega Chess

Over sized metal chess figures

Just as stunning and just as modern are these forged chess pieces by blacksmith Dog Bagley. It’s hard to believe he started out making horse shoes. Four Winds Forge

DIY Chess figures set

Not requiring nearly as much craftsmanship as the previous two amazing designs, this idea is more within the reach of a DIYer with tool skills and the pieces can even be flat packed when not in use. What really caught my eye with this chess set is the bold pop of yellow! My Little Cottage in the Making

DIY idea - chess pieces made from pebbles

Here’s another great DIY idea. Collect rocks or pebbles and then paint them with icons, or just the names of each piece. If you are not a DIYer, don’t worry, the above photo is not a DIY set but a sandstone chess set complete with board by Daniel Bijaya called “Nature Does Battle”. Novica

Board Chess

Small outdoor chess board made in leather

If space is an issue there are lots of outdoor chess boards that are small and easy to store in a drawer, the above Rawstudio chess set takes up almost no room when stored since the laser cut steel pieces store around the leather board which conveniently rolls up. Bespoke Global

Solid wood patio chessboard

This solid wood chessboard is made with Mahogany and ash wood while the chess pieces are hand forged steel. Source

MicroPlanter Chess Set with mini planters

This game set brings the garden to the board – literally. Called the MicroPlanter Chess Set it has its muse in the Bauhaus Style. The mini planters don’t come preplanted meaning you can customize the set with your choice of sedums, herbs, mosses, etc. XYZ Workshop

LED lit chess set

If the only thing holding you back from playing the game outside is the dark, check out this LED lit chess set. The translucent pieces glow white or blue and the board is mirrored. If you think each piece needs a battery, you would be wrong, the pieces glow when they come within 4” from the board and it’s the board that gets plugged in or uses batteries. How is that for a 21st century adaptation of a 6th century game! Gadgets and Gear

Table Chess

Patio table with chess board drawn on tabletop

Board chess is perfect for playing at a table, but if you play a lot, why not have a board right on your table? This picnic table has been DIY-ed with paint to create a checker board, which is just the same as a chess board. By the way don’t you love how they are using shells for the checker pieces? Cobi Style

DIY idea - a chessboard fire pit cover

Another DIY idea is to create a chessboard fire pit cover like in the above photo. All Things Heart & Home

Inspirational Public Chess Gardens

Outdoor public chess game in Deyang, China

If you have enjoyed the previous 20 examples of outdoor ideas for your patio, you’ll really like this outdoor marble set located in a park next to a river in Deyang, China. Source

Ice chess idea

The above photo of ice chess is a really cool (literally) game played in London, England and Moscow, Russia simultaneously. Some of the ice pieces where carved to represent famous landmarks within the two locations. Weirdomatic

Chess pieces made of sand are 8 ft high

From super cold we go to super warm and super big with chess pieces made of sand standing up to 8ft in height. This installation was at the sea resort of Travemunde in Germany. Chess Base

Unique patio chess set

In Marlborough, Australia the Twelve Trees Restaurant at the Allan Scott Wines has this unique chess set right next to their al fresco dining area. Live Last Minute

Unusual chess sculpture

OK, this is not a chess set, game or board but it is my very favorite sculpture and a perfect way to end this inspirational post. Called Octopus Playing Chess it was created by Leigh Dyer and is located in East Sussex, England. Rebloggy

About Joe Hats 177 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of FreshPatio.com. Joe has been remodeling homes since 1997 when he bought his first fixer-upper. He has built many pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture with his own hands and has every DIY woodworking tool in his possession. Coming from an engineering background, he has designed and built many patio fixture plans. Following his wife's lead, he is also very passionate about home decor and together they keep track of the latest trends. When he is not remodeling or trying a new woodworking tool, he is busy gardening or designing a new outdoor plan.