DIY Tennis Court: Cost Breakdown

DIY Tennis Court: Cost Breakdown

When was the last time you really wanted to pay for a tennis club monthly admission price?

Never.

Those things get to be outrageous, so you start sizing up the possibility of having a tennis court on your own property, and that’s a good choice.

Not only is the maintenance cost less than what you’re going to spend on a single month of tennis club admission fees (even more if you account for the add-ons they always try to hit you with), but it’s yours.

There’s no better way to keep the game free than just make your own court. The thing is, a home tennis court can cost upwards of $25,000—nobody is looking to pay for that.

Let’s get this DIY court cost broken down to the best of our abilities, and give you a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay and the work you’ll have to put in.

What do You Need for Your Own Tennis Court?

Home Tennis Court

A lot of patience, for starters.

You need a space that’s at least 120’ x 60’ wide that isn’t going to make a mess of your current lawn or yard.

Your court will also have to be as close to perfectly level as possible. At no point should a stationary tennis ball begin to roll in any direction, from any point on the court.

You need space, and you need elbow grease. It’s a tennis court; it’s 7,200 square feet of space that you’re going to be paving or laying down on your property.

Make sure that it isn’t eating up your entire yard, and that it can be spaced apart from your home enough to put up protective netting to prevent a stray tennis ball from shattering the bathroom window.

Which Surface is Best: Clay, Hard, or Grass?

Clay is usually the most preferred surface because of its slowing effects on regulation grade tennis balls.

On concrete or hard surfaces like asphalt, the ball retains most of its momentum since there’s almost no shock absorption.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between each so you can formulate your own opinion on what would work best for you, and your play style, as well as cost.

TypeAsphaltConcrete Clay Grass
CostThis isn’t something you can lay yourself unless you’re extremely knowledgeable of what you’re doing. It’s the most expensive option. For a professional installation, expect around $21,000 to $35,000. For DIY installation, costs will remain around $7,200 to $10,200 on average. The problem with this comes into the installation. Consider the amount of time you will be spending on this and factor it into the cost versus how price-effective it might be to have someone else do it.If you can layout concrete on your own and make it smooth, as well as leveled out properly, then you can expect to pay around $14,000 on the cost of concrete alone, if you are using concrete pads. If you want to buy your own concrete bags and mix it yourself, it’s labor-intensive but cheaper. For this, you might be able to get away with a full 120 x 60-foot court cost of about $3,500 – $4,000.Clay can be purchased in brick form, which makes it super easy to lay down on your own. These bricks can range anywhere from $0.70 per piece to $10.00 each for high-quality pieces. You want to get enough coverage for your court, which is 60 x 120 feet. The ballpark estimate here is $1,500 – $2,500 for a full court.There’s nothing cheaper. With the other three primary options, you have a big stage in between allocating space and actually laying the asphalt or whatever else you’re using. Grass fields require less preparation as well, so you won’t have to spend money on equipment to flatten it out perfectly.
BounceSimilar to concrete, you get a good bounce, which can be used to train yourself to eventually go against other players on clay at a club or a tennis open. Asphalt has a little more shock absorption than concrete, but it’s not enough to avoid using this as a surface. Asphalt will get a lot hotter than concrete in the summer, which could make it a little more malleable (like clay) and ruin your tennis balls by getting residual asphalt on the outside of the felt.Excellent bounce, but sometimes a bit too fast. You’ll be able to see your ball flight with this material. It’s not the most commonly used in pro tennis because the concrete doesn’t absorb much of the kinetic energy from a tennis ball, so it kind of keeps it going and makes it harder to hit the ball back to your opponent. This can be a good thing though; if you train on a concrete field and move to clay when you go up against other players, you’re going to dominate.Clay is considered a premium tennis court material for the reason of bounce reduction. Normally that’s not what you want, but this absorbs just a little bit of the kinetic energy from the tennis ball. When it bounces toward you, it’s not moving at a lightning-fast speed, giving you (and your opponent) more time to react and hit it back.There’s nothing cheaper. With the other three primary options, you have a big stage in between allocating space and actually laying the asphalt or whatever else you’re using. Grass fields require less preparation as well, so you won’t have to spend money on equipment to flatten it out perfectly.
MaintenanceAsphalt is ridiculously easy to maintain, just like concrete. Asphalt is generally laid thinner than concrete, so in extreme conditions, it’s more likely to expand or contract in a less extreme format. There’s a reason they use asphalt strips to patch over concrete when it splits in the winter.What maintenance? You might have to put a new seal on this once a year if you’re in humid environments or up north where you get a lot of snow, but it’s relatively maintenance-free. For extreme temperatures, consider applying inlaid steel rods to the concrete for expansion purposes.Clay maintenance isn’t pretty. You can end up with divots fairly easily, especially if you live in humid climates like Florida. Divots sound simple to fix, but they require a lot of patching that can spoil the integrity of your court. Eventually, it will have to be repaved with clay.Maintenance of these can be annoying and time-consuming, but it isn’t costly like if you had to patch or repave an asphalt court. You can expect cheap maintenance costs here.
InstallationAsphalt is by far the hardest and most expensive to install. It’s a good surface, so we’d love to give it more praise, but it’s damn difficult. You need a kiln or furnace to keep this at a 300°-310° F on a constant basis, or you won’t be able to pour it. It’s harder to pour in general (thicker consistency), and mistakes are more costly. It’s a long process, so we don’t blame you if you want to go with something a bit easier.Laying concrete down is a bit egregious, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Wear a mask, mix it all up in a bucket or wheelbarrow, and start laying it down. The worst part of this is going to be ensuring it’s completely level as you’re doing it, and you can’t really lay this down on a windy day in fall.If you use pavers or clay bricks, it’s not that bad. Installation isn’t extreme or costly, it’s just something that you need to take very slowly and check repeatedly. If you’re using pavers/bricks, which is the recommended way to go, you constantly have to make sure they’re not being laid crooked or making your court oblong.Well, it’s pretty easy to “install” grass, right? These field types are very basic and get the job done, but looking at their bounce and maintenance rates, it’s a hard choice to make. Grass fields can’t be laid as quickly as asphalt, but they’re cheap and don’t take all too long either.

What do You Need for a Clay Surface Tennis Court?

Well, you can use pavers and clay bricks, which will last the longest (and it’s what we recommend), but there are other ways to get this done as well.

New technology and chemical productions have made it easier than ever to lay flat clay down like cement, and let it harden over.

The thing is, in the spirit of keeping DIY costs cheap (otherwise you’d just be paying someone to do it), the latter option is not recommended.

If you’re not using a chemical clay asphalt-like substance, you need levelers and a slight bit of concrete to put bricks together and pave your court.

Apart from that, you’re going to need to make an edge to it (which you can use clay bricks for) in order to prevent it from shifting from extreme play.

How to Prepare Your Field

DIY Tennis Court

First thing’s first: find a very good spot.

You should try to keep it 10-20 ft away from your home.

If you already have a designated backyard space with furniture and perhaps a pool, then you’ll want it to be a good space away from them.

Next, measure out 120’ x 60’ so you have more than enough space for your full court.

That’s what you’re going to pave, with the understanding that the playable court space will not be the same size.

Remove what’s in your way. Whether that means mowing the lawn and ripping up grass, tree stumps, what-have-you; remove it all. You need this space to be fully cleared out.

Next, you’re going to want to get a rammer or a steamroller. Yeah, renting a steamroller seems a bit much, but a rammer won’t run you nearly the same cost.

The rammer will allow you to pack in the soil quickly without a high expense. You can purchase one or rent it from a hardware store if you have no further need for it.

How to Draw Your Lines

While we discussed the average size of a court being 120’ x 60’, that is the total amount of space including the outer areas of the paved space.

The actual court lines are 78’ by 36’—that gives you some more leeway if you don’t want the fully proper court size when you’re constructing it.

To get your lines just right, install the net first by measuring at the 39 ft mark in the center of the court.

Your doubles alley should be 39 feet by 4.5 feet.

Your doubles sideline should be 39 feet by 4.5 feet.

Your “No Man’s Land” spots should be 18 feet by 27 feet.
Your ad court and deuce boxes should each be 21 feet by 13.5 feet.

But what do you draw the lines with? You have two options: light-grade colored asphalt, or chalk. Asphalt is harder to lay down in general, but especially in a straight line.

Find waterproof chalk so you aren’t repainting your tennis court every single time. You might have to repaint once every six months.

That’s how you make a regulation-size professional-looking tennis court right in your own backyard.

Follow the line guidelines on sizing, and pave it with the right material, and it’s going to suit you well during your entire span of use.

How to Install the Net

Depending on what net you got, there are two ways to install it, and you’ll quickly see which is the easier method.

Standing nets are perhaps the best tennis nets for a DIY project. They include durable aluminum or steel frame stands, but they don’t need to be driven into the material on the ground.

This retains the structural integrity of the court you just paved/cleared, but you will be responsible to take this net down when it begins storming.

It’s made of the same grade of aluminum that in-ground nets are made of, but they’re still hollow, so winds will send these flying (and scratch up the court).

In-ground nets cannot be installed until your court is completely paved, and that can be a bummer.

Unless you somehow manage to perfectly drill a hole in the material of your choosing without cracking or splitting it (which even professionals end up doing), you still have to dig a hole in the dirt.

If you get the measurements wrong, you’re left with a damaged court and no way to fix it, so you have to be precise.

These net types obviously aren’t going anywhere, but you should still take the net down itself if a storm is inbound.

What is the Average Cost of DIY Tennis Courts?

Taking Money From Wallet

It depends on the materials, but considering the average DIY tennis court is made out of concrete, we will use that as a jumping-off point.

Assuming that you can lay the concrete by yourself, you still need to get the right material to paint the lines.

If you’re skilled, you can do this with asphalt, but waterproof chalk will also work. Then there’s the net to consider.

Considering you will be doing most of the work, you can expect a concrete court with a net and proper lining will run you $5,000.

That’s important to budget for because even though it could be on the lower end of that, are you really going to want to go inside and cook?

Get yourself some takeout and a six-pack while you do this because while the end result is going to be great, it can be an aggravating journey.

If you want to include back netting to prevent tennis balls from hitting the road or breaking your windows, that’s a big cost.

You’re looking at about $1,200 to $1,600 extra, bringing the total cost just south of seven grand.

Your Court, Your Rules

Are you ready to pave this thing and get the show on the road?

There are massive benefits to owning your own tennis court.

You can have matches with your other half, friends or simply practice with a tennis ball machine, and there’s nobody there to take the court away from you when your time is up.

Clubs can be fun, but they can also be overrated; they’re better for the social aspect of tennis than anything.

But you’re not all about the meet-and-greets, are you?

You want to play hard, train harder, and develop your skills into a professional level. That’s what we’re here for.

Between this court and all the other pieces of tennis equipment you need, we’ve got a guide on just about everything. It’s time to get serious about your game.

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