More in Outdoors
This site used to be a track for remote-control cars, so it was riddled with tunnels and small ditches. The crew and homeowners cleared away boulders and used professional-grade rototillers to loosen the soil and make it easier to work. After knocking down the high spots, use grading rakes or iron rakes until the entire area is close to level.
Use lawn rollers to compact the soil for a stable surface. These available for rent and are normally used to roll new sod so it connects to the soil underneath. To use, fill the roller with water and push it like a lawnmower.
The best theaters never have weeds, and neither will this one. Cover the entire area with a sturdy weed fabric, overlapping the rows of fabric by 1 foot or more to prevent gaps.
The crew topped this area with 3/8-inch Sierra limestone; its silvery, grey/green color complements the olive trees in the yard. Spread the gravel throughout the area, building it up to a depth of about four inches.
For more active fun, the crew installed basic horseshoe pits around the seating area. To build a simple horseshoe pit, dig a squared-off hole a few inches deep and box it in on three sides with redwood. A piece of plywood supported by a simple wooden frame serves as a backstop, and a forming stake driven into the center of the pit makes a perfect target post. Cover the bottom of the pit with a deep layer of sand to finish.