Tennis is a fun sport that anyone can learn. It can be difficult to find a free court in a public park during the summer and some have high court rental fees. Those who want to practice more or a family of tennis players may want a tennis court in their backyard.
Methods aren’t easy regarding how to make a tennis court in the backyard. You must have the space, find a level spot, clear it, rent a steamroller, and decide what surface you want. Then you must paint the lines, put up the net, and possibly put up catch nets to prevent stray balls from hitting a window.
Those who are interested in installing a tennis court in their backyard should read on about how to do it.
Find the Space
You will need a large backyard to install a regulation size tennis court. Regulation tennis courts are 120 feet long and 60 feet wide. That is 7,200 square feet of space.
However, you don’t have to set aside that much space. That is especially true if you are looking at using the court for practice or family fun. You can scale down the footage as long as you keep the 2:1 length to width ratio.
The space you pick must be a level area. All tennis courts are level and you don’t want to have to bring in heavy equipment to make it even.
Clear the Space
One of the most important parts of this DIY project is clearing the space of obstructions. That may be tree roots, big clumps of weeds, rocks, and other hazards. Some may need to be dug up. You will be grateful you did it later because clearing the space reduces the risk for injuries.
Pick the Surface
This is the most crucial part of building a tennis court. The surface is more important than the space. There are four types of court surfaces you can pick from asphalt, concrete, clay, and grass. All are acceptable for tennis courts but all have different advantages, disadvantages, and costs.
The two biggest things to consider are installation and cost. For instance, you would need professional people to lay asphalt, making it the most expensive option. An asphalt court could cost upwards of $40,000. It could cost up to $8,500 if you could do it yourself.
Concrete is easier to install and you could do it yourself. It’s cheaper over too. Even so, you should expect to spend between $5,000 and $8,000.
Clay is an interesting option because you can buy them as bricks, making them super easy to install. Bricks can cost anywhere from $.85 to $15.00 each so you must be careful about what you buy if you want to save money. A clay court can be installed for a price between $2,500 to $5,000.
Grass is the easiest option for a backyard court. You can cut down your own grass to the lowest level and just paint the lines. You can also dig up the grass and plant a type of grass used on professional courts, which is a fairly inexpensive seed. This can be done for under $1,000.
The disadvantage with grass is you will need to maintain it more than the other surfaces because it will need to be mowed and the lines repainted.
How Balls Behave on Different Courts?
It does matter how a ball bounces and it bounces differently on each type of court. When it comes to bounce, concrete tops the rest. You can get a good, consistent bounce on asphalt too but asphalt gets hotter than concrete in the summer and that can make it uncomfortable to practice.
Clay courts have a slow bounce and your ball will have no bounce on grass. It skids instead and can be incredibly inconsistent because of lawn imperfections.
Getting It Level
How you level your court area depends on the type of surface you are installing. Those installing asphalt or concrete will need to dig up all the grass and level the surface with a steamroller before laying the material.
It would be best to dig enough of the dirt out so the court is flush with the surface upon completion. You don’t want players to have to step off onto grass to retrieve balls or leave the match.
Setting Up the Frame
Those wanting to go with a hard surface like asphalt, concrete, or clay will need to build a wooden frame to contain the product and provide structure for the court. Ideally, the frame should go against the dirt wall you’ve created by clearing the sod and leveling the area.
The top of the frame should be level with the surface. That way the court will be flush with the surface once it’s laid.
You can pour the asphalt or concrete within the frame to create the court or use the frame to lay the clay bricks to make sure you keep your shape. The temperature must be above 90 degrees outside for asphalt to set properly.
You may need to cut bricks to keep all within the frame.
Installing a Grass Court
Homeowners who want the same grass as what is on professional tennis courts can lay the seed for that. First, clear out old sod and make the area level. You don’t have to dig down deep for a grass court as you do for other types of surfaces.
You still may want to rent a steamroller to pack the dirt and make sure the area is level.
The grass seed you want is a mix of 30 percent creeping red fescue and 70 percent perennial ryegrass. That is what is used on Wimbledon. Plant the seed and keep it watered.
The court is ready for play once the grass grows to three-quarters of an inch tall.
The disadvantage of a grass court is you must keep it at three-quarters of an inch to get the most out of practice or play. Wimbledon groundskeepers mow their court grass twice a day. That won’t be necessary for you but you may need to mow it more than twice a week if you are using the tennis court a lot.
An advantage of a grass court is that it’s easily reversible to turn back into a yard while it takes a crew to remove other types of surfaces to regain your yard.
Setting the Net
Installing the net is simple but you may need to concrete the two outside posts in, depending on your yard. An interior pipe anchor also requires installing and then you just connect the net.
Do I need a permit to install a tennis court in my backyard?
Most of the time, no. You will want to check with the city and with your Homeowners Association regarding permitting. HOAs can be strict even if you can’t see the structure.
Will a tennis court improve my property’s value?
No, installing a tennis court won’t raise your property’s value. It could make it more marketable in some areas but there is such a niche market for those wanting tennis courts that having won’t help you in resale.
Is maintaining a tennis court difficult?
No, hard courts are easy to maintain as you just swish away pooling water after rain. You will need to fertilize and cut grass courts. The problem with hard courts comes when they age as they may eventually crack and crumble.