Backyard Scrabble

E. Spencer Toy
A patio floor does double duty as a Scrabble board.
A homemade board game gives extra play to this patio

"I like areas of double use," says Sacramento architect Kristy McAuliffe, and her 5-foot square Scrabble board rates at least a double-word score on the scale of inventive garden games.

With the help of friend Keith Rogers, McAuliffe made a wood frame, then poured concrete and scored it into 3¾-inch squares separated by ¼-inch joints.

After the concrete had cured for one month, she colored the squares using water-base concrete stains.

McAuliffe then made 100 3¼-inch square letter tiles from baseboard trim.

She found precut, adhesive-backed vinyl letters and numbers at a sign shop, stuck them on the tiles, and sealed each one with spray lacquer.

The lightweight letters, which are stored in a canvas bag, fit on metal trays made by McAuliffe's friend, metal artist Crystal Weber.

Games go late on summer evenings. "You get better words playing outside," McAuliffe says.

More: Our favorite backyard projects

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