Do you have some free space in your backyard and you have no idea what to do with? Are you tired of trying to find a free tennis court in a tennis club? Maybe you want to build your own personal court but have no idea how? If so then this article is for you. We’re going to give you the gist of it all from the different surface types you see, to the size of the court, the tennis court cost, and everything you need to know to build your own tennis court. And remember, before you do proceed with building a tennis court make sure you check your local planning in your area to see if permission is needed.
How much space do you really need to build your tennis court ?
Let’s start off by seeing if you have enough space to build your backyard tennis court. A full-size tennis court is 78ft long with the service line 21ft from the net on either side. A single court is 27ft wide while a doubles court is 36ft wide. A regulation-sized court’s total space is 2,106 square foot for a singles court, and 2,808 square feet for a doubles court.
Overview – Our estimated costing for building different surfaces
|Level of Coach
|$18 - $25 per hour
|$25 - $40 per hour
|$25,000 to $30,000 per annum
|$100,000 to $150,000 per annum (plus incentives)
What type of tennis player are you?
Now that we know that you have enough available space to build your home court, you should know the different types of tennis court surfaces available in the game, and decide what is the best option for you. We will also try to link them to some tournaments and players so that you have a better understanding of what is best for you.
For all you tennis enthusiasts you must know that Rafael Nadal is known as King of Clay and that is because he has won Roland Garros, The French Open, 14 times. Roland Garros is famous for their wonderful clay courts.
Clay courts are made of crushed shale stones or bricks and usually, if not always you will find that a clay tennis court is an outdoor court. These types of courts are good for slower-paced balls and better for people who like to play ripping top spin like Nadal. This is because the clay itself slows the ball down as soon as it hits the surface it grips, making the ball bounce quite high.
It depends on your style of play, but If you are considering playing a slower game and just want to enjoy playing then maybe go for a clay court. It is worth mentioning that bad weather would affect your playing time on this type of court because when the clay is when it forms clumps and you have to wait for it to completely dry before you can play. The price range for this type of court would be between $40,000 to $75,000
Moving on to the next grand slam court type and that is a grass court, as seen in Wimbledon also known as Roger Federer’s playground seeing as he won the tournament 8 times. The grass tennis court is considered the original playing surface of tennis dating back since the late 1800s. Grass courts are the opposite of clay courts. They are considered the fastest courts in the game of tennis because the grass keeps the ball low and does not allow for a high bounce. Grass also takes the slice shot well and many great players have been successful with the serve-and-volley tactic.
So if you like a fast game and are quick on your feet, having a grass court would be just the thing for you. Grass courts are more expensive than clay courts because the specific grass has to be grown and maintained. Synthetic turf or artificial grass is considered the better option in the long run when building a grass tennis court because it is very durable, needs less maintenance and could last up to 10 years. These are also cheaper to install at $30,000 – $80,000.
A real grass court requires significant time, love and maintenance to keep in good playing order. The other thing about grass is almost all courts are outdoors so you need good weather conditions with a lot of sun for the grass to grow and remain dry (just look at the washouts at Wimbledon over the years). A typical grass outdoor tennis court would cost somewhere between $60,000 to $110,000 to build depending on the material cost.
Last but not least let’s take a look at hard courts or hard surface courts and these are also seen in major grand slam tournaments like The US Open, and The Australian Open. They are also the most common types of courts seen in the United States. It is said that Novak Djokovic is the best player on hard courts, he enjoys the fast pace and regular bounce of these courts and seems to dominate all opponents on these courts. In our opinion, these courts are the perfect mix between grass courts and clay courts because it combines the speed of grass courts as well as the high bounce of clay court.
There are two different types of hard courts, concrete tennis courts, and asphalt tennis courts. When we say an asphalt court we mean that a 2 layers of asphalt surface totaling 5 inches are placed on top of a 6-inch crushed limestone base material. Over time the asphalt tends to crack and this would require higher maintenance costs, but if you are up for the challenge then this is the court for you and it ranges between $40,000 to $100,000 to build. The second type of hard court is the concrete court and they are less likely to develop cracks in the long run. Concrete courts require concrete slabs as thick as 4 to 5 inches in order to build a court in good condition and these courts require low maintenance throughout the years and it will cost between $60,000 to $110,000 to build.
Want to add anything else?
Now that you are done with the first step and you know which court surface you would like to have for your new tennis court, let’s take a look at some other things you could add to make your court even better. Speaking from experience, you will definitely need lights surrounding your court, you do not want to get hit by a ball just because you couldn’t see it coming straight at you. So the average cost of installing a light post is between $1,000 to $2,000, I would say you need at least 4 posts, but if your eyesight is as bad as mine you would need more. Maybe take it upon yourself to add a first aid kit because all great tennis players get injured, and you want to be ready.
Now if you live somewhere cold and want to play on your court all year round, it would be a good investment to buy tennis bubbles. They are large dome-like structures that are pumped with air to cover your tennis court and allow you to play during any weather. They could cost anywhere between $6,000 to $15,000 depending on the size of the bubble.
If you have any additional space next to your tennis court you could build a small locker room where you could keep extra tennis balls , have a shower, and even add a water cooler for the summer. This will allow you to play on a regular basis with maximum enjoyment with friends and family.
What about maintenance costs?
Let’s say you chose your court, you installed it, you play almost every day and you’re loving it, but you notice that a year later you need to pay just a little more money to maintain the efficiency of the court.
Maintenance costs will depend on the surface you chose. If you chose a grass court that would require quite a lot of maintenance so that you could keep the grass fresh and cut at a level where the ball bounces high enough to play. Think of it as a garden, you need a gardener to water the grass every day to keep it fresh and green, you need to keep it cut to an exact length every time you want to play. The lines need to be marked out as they wear away with play. Real grass tennis courts will cost you between $3,000 to $5,000 a year to maintain also depending on whether or not you have artificial turf or real grass.
Similar to grass courts, clay courts need to be maintained thoroughly. You need to add clay constantly to replace the clay that flies off with the wind, you need to water the court to keep it stable and firm, and you need to brush and redistribute the clay after playing to keep the surface smooth. Most of the costs with clay courts are labor costs of doing these activities, the cost of the brush and the rake are paid once. This could cost you anywhere between $3,000 to $7,000 a year.
Now hard courts are the easiest to maintain because there is not much to do, think of it as a regular road. Every year you would just have to pressure wash the courts and that would cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000 a year, so if you are looking for less hassle maybe build a hard court tennis court.
So you are all set?
The first step in building your own tennis court is seeing if you have enough space for it, if you have over 2,000 square feet of free space then you should definitely invest in a tennis court. It raises the value of your property, it allows you to practice throughout the entire year and will help you keep in shape.
Next you should know which surface you feel comfortable playing on. If you like slower-paced balls and like to take your time with each groundstroke then go for a clay court, I would choose this because I also like to slide on the court and I feel like clay courts give more flexibility in movement with less injuries and you can do all of its maintenance on your own to save up some money.
If you want a very high-end court and something that not only feels good, but looks good then go for a grass court, they are a real show-stopper. You will get a fast low ball and that will help you be quicker on your feet, you will have to rely more on playing towards the net with this type of surface and be comfortable volleying. Make sure to take care of this court because if you don’t water it every day and give it enough sunlight, you will find yourself playing on sand.
Finally if you want a nice mix between the fast paced ball of the grass court and a higher waist level ball of the clay court, then definitely go for a hard court. You will have to move fast and make sure you don’t slide so you don’t get injured. This court offers the best of both worlds and the least amount of upkeep.
It is an expensive exercise to get a tennis court built in a backyard. It is worth explaining that we have provided wide ranges of pricing in this article because the build price and cost of building depends on so many factors, not dissimilar to building a house (we have just done this and the builder said to me ‘you never know what is under the ground so be prepared to pay’!).
What is the access like to the site? will there be any demolition? what is the surface that will be dug up and re-laid? so many factors will depend on the final cost of the court.
At Tennis Pursuits, we think it is worth it though, if you love the game and are prepared to invest in looking after the court it will reward you in so many ways and your tennis will improve quickly! happy playing.