1. Roger prepared the base of the pit by excavating the 8-by-42-foot area 6 inches down until he reached the subsoil. Then he put down a 6-inch layer of gravel and covered that with landscape fabric.
2. To create the frame of the pit, he dug a 6-inch-deep trench around the perimeter of the gravel, then set 1x12 composite decking boards, turned on edge, into the trench. "The key is to keep the frame as simple as possible," Roger says. He supported the boards with 2-foot-long 2x4 pressure-treated stakes pounded into the ground along the outside of the frame until they sat 3 inches below the top edge. He screwed the boards to the stakes to hold them up. The boards rise 1.5 inches above the adjacent croquet lawn to prevent croquet balls from rolling into the pit.