Sometimes gardens are for growing things, and sometimes gardens are for constructing massive playgrounds for you and your friends.

Many people's gardens are mainly for show, yet there's so much more you can do with your outdoor space. What better way to make your outdoor sanctuary into an arena of fun than by building or setting up a few giant games that you and anyone you invite over?

If you know your way around a few carpenter’s tools, you can construct most of these oversize games yourself—otherwise you’ll have to hand over some hard-earned cash to a contractor or shop, and trust in the creativity of others. Either way, you’re bound to have a great time. Here are five giant games that you can build or buy, and enjoy in your garden:

Giant Chess

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Sure, chess is an intellectual pursuit and might not be suited for rowdy Sunday barbecues, but the game takes on a very different spirit when you break into a sweat after moving your colossal bishop to the next square. Chess wizards already play this challenging game outside in the park. A giant chess set is merely taking the competition to the next level—the next level as far as enormous, garden-based chessboards go. Give giant chess a try. You just might find a new appreciation for the game.

A Croquet Course

Croquet isn’t really a “giant” game, but it will take up a lot of garden space. If you aren’t a Scrooge, you should shell out some extra dough for a top-notch croquet set. You’ll get years of use out of it. Croquet is a great lawn game that you can play when the sun is shining, or when the clouds roll in (minus a deluge of rain, of course). This “sport” comprises bits of golf, pool and polo, all rolled up into one. Even before you start playing, you’ll have fun just setting up the course. But the real joy comes when you get to knock the balls through the hoops and watch them roll across the lawn.

Skittles Lawn Bowling

When you hear the word “skittles,” you probably think of the fruit-flavored candy and the phrase “taste the rainbow." Skittles lawn bowling, however, is an old European game that has nothing to do with tiny, multicolored sweets. It’s not all that different from what you’d find in a commercial bowling alley, except that it takes place in your garden. All you have to do is pick up a skittles lawn bowling set, cut your lawn ultra-short, set up some lanes, then roll a few games of skittles. No need to leave the comfort of your home ever again when you want to bowl.

Miniature Golf

If lawn bowling and croquet don’t offer enough of a challenge in your spacious garden, why not set up a miniature golf course? Sure, you could pay someone to build a course for you. But if you’ve got the skills, paint, lumber and PVC pipes laying around, you can assemble one yourself, with greens, holes and few hazards—like small windmills, narrow plank bridges spanning water traps, and sand traps. After you’ve gathered your materials; acquired some golf balls, putters and flags; and constructed your course, you can kick back and play mini golf to your heart’s content.

Giant Jenga

A giant tower game—or if you prefer the brand name, Jenga—is fairly easy to build. If you don’t have the time or inclination to create one for yourself, though, you can buy a set from a retailer. For those of you who choose the do-it-yourself path, you can find easy-to-follow directions online. Once the oversize blocks are in your possession (no matter how you obtain them), simply take them outside, along with a few of your friends, and erect the tallest tower you can. All you have to do is keep your block tower from tumbling down. If that happens, no problem, it's just time to start the game over again.

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