Research by the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) indicates that tennis participation rose roughly 1% to 17.9 million players. This is hardly surprising because tennis is a lifelong sport; one that you can start playing as a child and continue well into your later years.
If you’re a tennis fanatic who frequents your local YMCA or tennis center to play competitively or just hit some balls, maybe you’ve thought about what it would be like to have your own tennis court at home. This may seem like a pipedream (and it might be depending on your budget), but if you’ve got the budget and the patience, you can have a tennis court right in the comfort of your own backyard.
Make no mistake, installing your own tennis court isn’t a cheap endeavor. Laying down an asphalt court can run as high as $45,000 and concrete (which is a more durable option) runs as much as $100,000 and you’re going to have to hire a contractor to pour it.
So here’s how you can have your own tennis court in your backyard in 10 steps:
- Pick a medium: As previously mentioned, asphalt and concrete are two options for your court and are the least expensive in terms of maintenance. You have other options such as grass or clay, but these require a lot more maintenance. Clay can crack without consistent care and grass needs to be maintained to avoid turning into a dirt field.
- Clear out the area: Before any foundation is poured, you need to clear your yard of debris, roots, trees and anything else that’s going to affect the setting of whatever surface you choose. Failure to do so can result in roots popping up and cracking the court surface.
- Do some measuring:Before you lay anything down, you’re going to need to measure out the space for the court. Keep in mind that the playing rectangle of a court is 78 feet long by 36 feet wide. You might also want to measure out extra space for courtside seating such as outdoor benches, fencing and space behind the baselines.
- Level the area: You need to level the area with a tractor, but keep in mind that you also need to have a slide grade from net post to net post (think about an inch or so for every 10 feet). You’ll need some grade to allow water to run off your court and not pool up.
- Lay down the court: Once you’re cleared the area, framed it out and leveled it, lay down the foundation. Keep in mind that if you’re using concrete, you can mix color into it, making it green or blue or whatever color you desire.
- Mark the posts: You also want to mark and then set your net posts, figuring that they need to be about 42 feet across the court’s width. From the center of the court, posts should go 19 feet to either side.
- Pour the surface: When you pour your surface area, you ideally want it to be about five inches thick. If your budget is really tight, you can go thinner.
- Let the surface breathe: Once you’ve poured the surface, give it time to set. Don’t seal it either. This helps prevent water from pooling in it and helps the court dry faster.
- Paint your lines: Use a wheeled line painter to put your lines down. A good rule of thumb is to keep lines about two inches wide, but no more than four.
- Put the net in: You can get a net from your local sporting goods store. Make sure it’s pulled tight and is 39 inches tall at the ends and 36 inches in the center.
Once you’ve done that, install tennis benches or something like benches all the other tennis equipment you need. Stock up on all your tennis gear—balls, rackets, a ball carriage to name a few things. With benches and a properly installed court, you can enjoy tennis in the comfort of your own home.