If you love the game of tennis, and you have space, why not bring tennis to your home by building a residential tennis court? You'll have a blast playing whenever you want and inviting family and friends to join you!
Of course, there are some considerations before you get started — you'll need to establish a budget, find out if the space you have will be sufficient, check up on the regulations of your neighborhood, and more. This article will help guide you through the process.
1. Check Zoning and HOA Rules
Zoning can affect whether or not you can build a tennis court, to begin with. If not outright forbidden, you may be restricted to a specific court surface due to laws in your area. This type of restriction is to help prevent runoff and erosion. Some areas only allow grass tennis courts, even though this type of court is very uncommon nowadays.
You may also face restrictions against fencing and lighting. Some communities disallow fences of a certain height, although they may be permitted if you can build your tennis court away from the road, i.e. in a central area of a large property where you can obscure the court from the road with landscaping. The type of bright tennis court lighting necessary for nighttime games is often considered disruptive, so you may need to build an unlit court and use it only during the day.
Best to find these things out now, so you don't end up getting hit with fines and penalties!
2. Measure Your Space
Make sure you know exactly where your property line is, and start measuring the space you'll need for a tennis court. Compare tennis court dimensions against the amount of space you have to work within your yard. If your property layout allows for it, position your court running north to south so neither player will have the sun in their eyes.
Allow for some space around your court as well. Depending on features like elevation and rainfall, you might need to lower the surrounding land just enough for drainage.
3. Choose Your Surfacing Material
The court surface you choose will have long-term effects, as some surfaces require far more maintenance than others, and the cost is also a huge factor for maintenance as well as installation. All court types also play very differently — check out our primer on tennis court surface types for more information. As mentioned, you may be restricted to a certain court type by regulations in your area.
If you're going to be limited in the amount of time you can spend maintaining your court, a hard court may be best. You can build a top-of-the-line hard court that is still quite comfortable to play on using Cushion Court. If time and budget allows for a clay court, we recommend Har-Tru.
Keep in mind that every type of tennis court surface requires specific installation practices that can include a layer of concrete, underground irrigation, and more. There's more information on our individual product pages regarding what each surfacing material needs, and you can also contact Tennis Court Supply for advice. We have 30 years of experience in tennis court construction, design, and maintenance and would be pleased to answer your questions!
Regardless of the surfacing type you choose, you'll get far better results using heavy machinery to excavate and lay the court. Make sure there will be adequate access for construction equipment to reach the court area and move around.
4. Choose Your Tennis Net
Permanent tennis nets are installed in multiple parts for best results. First, ground sleeves are buried within the court surface, with net posts slid down into them. The net itself is then attached to the posts. During bad weather or the offseason, the net and posts can be removed and placed in storage to protect them from environmental damage.
The best tennis net ground sleeves come with caps that you can use to seal them off; this prevents dirt, water, and weather from getting inside the sleeve and also means you can cover the holes in the court and use the space for a different purpose.
If your space and budget are proving too limited for a dedicated tennis court, or you can't sink ground sleeves for some reason, you can also get a portable tennis net system and set up a temporary court in almost any space, even a driveway. There's no need to exclude yourself from the joy of tennis.
5. Fencing and Lighting
Tennis courts need to be surrounded in fencing to prevent balls leaving the court. If you live close to others, your tennis balls could intrude into their yards, and even if you live in an isolated area, you don't want to constantly lose your tennis balls in the woods, fields, river, or other natural areas! Fencing should be added after the tennis court is complete, to prevent blocking the excavation and construction machinery.
Regular chain-link fences are best for surrounding a tennis court, due to the ease of installing windscreens. Windscreens give shade and privacy and prevent balls from getting stuck in the fence! Backboards are another fantastic option that allows you to practice by yourself by providing a surface that returns balls when struck against it. You only need one or two of these, best placed at a far end of the court. Freestanding rebounders are also available that can be placed anywhere.
Lighting is another matter and you must make your lighting decisions early on, as the poles will need to be sunk into the ground similar to the net posts. If local ordinances allow it, the best tennis court lighting is installed at even intervals on both sides of the court area.
6. Total Costs
To arrive at the total cost of your residential tennis court, add up the following expenses:
- Area permits (if needed)
- Excavation and construction costs (hiring a contractor with machinery, etc.)
- Surfacing materials
- Fencing and installation
- Lighting (if permitted/desired)
- Tennis net system (ground sleeves, posts, net)
- You may need a storage shed (for gear and off-season net storage)
- Seating and cabanas (if you want to make the court more comfortable and invite others)
- Maintenance costs (whether you do it yourself or hire a scheduled groundskeeper)
At the very least, you'll need a budget of a $4,000+ with higher-end courts often running into $25,000 or more. Much of this does depend on the type of work that needs to be done to prepare the court surface, as some excavation will be needed to prevent the court from shifting and cracking due to natural movements of the soil layers beneath. Pricing for surfacing materials and other court components are very consistent and you can install some things yourself, like windscreens and backboards (often requiring just two people).
Your dream of owning your own residential tennis court is much closer to becoming reality. You can lower your expenses, while still being assured of absolute top quality, by purchasing your materials and court components from Tennis Court Supply, which offers the best, lowest-priced tennis court supplies in the industry. We're also available to answer your questions all throughout the process and help you plan out your court for the best results.