To help show some of them off, Steve Orr, garden editor of House and Garden magazine, dropped by The Early Show Wednesday.
Lawn games can serve as warm-ups to parties or dinners. They help lend focus and fun to outdoor time, and guests loosen up pretty quickly, whether they're participating or sitting in the shade sipping drinks and providing casual commentary.
Also, games can bring together generations (children and grandparents), houseguests and hosts, and even men and women.
Perhaps best of all, all the games demonstrated on The Early Show are portable and easy to learn.
Bocce varies in court size and layout. The court should be smooth and flat; some rules call for wooden sideboards to make it an enclosed area. Petanque can be played anywhere; most players actually prefer an uneven terrain to make it more challenging.
Bocce players mostly roll their balls, while petanque players tend to lob them in the air. The counting of points and game tactics are very similar between the two games. Overall, petanque is more flexible, and its equipment easier to carry around.
Lawn bowling and skittles resemble indoor bowling, with similar rules. There are smaller versions used in English pubs.
You can get petanque equipment at Petanque America for about $47. For bocce, try Brookstone.com, about $125.
A sport similar to tennis, badminton is played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pair (doubles). Players are positioned at opposite ends of the court, aiming to hit a shuttlecock over the net so that it lands inside the marked boundaries of the court, and keep their opponents from doing the same. Only the server can win points.
For a badminton set, try Target.com, about $40.
A game for two or four players, horse pitching's main object is to ring the pin or throw the horseshoe as close to the pin as possible. Each player stands at one stake and throws two horseshoes at the other stake. A horseshoe encircling the stake is called a ringer and counts for the highest score. A ringer is made when the thrown horseshoe encloses the stake; it counts three points in scoring.
The rules of horseshoes allow one point if no player throws a ringer, for the shoe closest to the stake, as long as it is within the width of a shoe itself. Regulation games are played to a winning score of 50, while informal games are played up to 21.
For horseshoes, try the Smith and Hawken Web site, about $49.
You hit the ball through wickets, hoping to score the highest number of points, a point received for every wicket passed through, in proper order and direction.
For a croquet set, try the LL Bean Web site, for about $49.