It might take a tournament like Wimbledon to get some people excited, but there is really no denying that Tennis is a fantastic sport. Healthy, popular and highly social, it can be a great way to get fit with friends and enjoy the outdoors. Even better, on some days you can take down the net and use the court for any other sports you might fancy!
If you are blessed with the space, you may have thought about installing a tennis court of your very own. While a court can certainly be a worthwhile home feature, a project like this takes careful planning. We can tell you right now that installing a tennis court is not a weekend job; in fact, the work usually takes several months and even after the surface is installed you will still need to wait a few weeks before being able to play.
As such, it will be important to think about your investment and plan the job carefully. Choosing where to place your court, what surface to install and which extra features to add are just a few of the considerations you will face. An estate agent may even tell you that such a project will devalue your home, so you will also need to consider the long term implications before making a commitment.
This kind of work will usually be organised by a landscape designer, who can arrange the groundwork, materials, surface installation and so on. They should also be able to recommend Pros for fencing installation, turf installation, outdoor lighting installation and anything else you need. However, you should first make sure that your Pro has experience in installing tennis courts. This is the only way to ensure a top professional finish!
At this point, you are probably wondering exactly how much it will cost to have a tennis court installed. The answer can vary considerably, usually between £15,000 and £40,000. It will depend on your choice of surface, as well as the amount of groundwork required. The price will also depend on optional extras, such as fences, floodlights, seating, or maybe even a water fountain!
The first step in installing a garden tennis court is choosing where you are going to put it. Don’t just say ‘in my garden’, because unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple! Tennis courts are typically 78 feet long and 27 feet wide (36 wide for doubles). In other words, you will be losing a large chunk of your land, assuming you have enough space to begin with. Experts generally advise that if you have less than an acre and a half going spare, this type of project may not be for you.
In terms of placement, you will want your court to be far enough away from your house that you can still enjoy your garden (and avoid sending errant balls through your windows). Ideally there will be trees and hedges to shelter your court, though you can always plant these at a later date. You may also want to consider trimming back any overhanging plants, as these will litter your court with leaves and other debris. Ideally, you will be able to install a north-south facing court, as this will rescue you from oppressive sun glare in the evening.
You will also need to think carefully about the timing of your project. Generally it is better to have the work start in the colder months, so that your Pros can start laying the surface as the weather gets warm. Then, hopefully, you should be able to enjoy your court in the summer.
Finally, ensure that you contact your local authority before getting booking your project. You will be subject to local planning laws on features like fence height, change of land use (if agricultural), drainage, and so on. If you live in a listed building, a conservation area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it may well be that a project like this will not be permitted.
One of the most important aspects of installing a tennis court is deciding on what kind of surface you want. Many players will tell you that your choice should reflect your play style, but budget-conscious homeowners will say that it is more important to know the pros and cons in terms of long term costs and maintenance. Synthetic surfaces in particular can be worth thinking about, as not only are they cheaper and easier to take care of, they can also replicate the feel and colour of other materials such as grass, clay and cement.
Before the actual installation work can started, the site will first need to be cleared. This can be a highly complex and expensive job depending on how much access you have; will your workers be able to get heavy tools and equipment in? Will they be able to deliver materials to where they will be needed? If not, the work could take much, much longer than it would otherwise.
The surface for your tennis court cannot simply be installed on bare grass. The site will need to be excavated and levelled in order to ensure a flat play surface and proper drainage. A sublayer will also need to be installed (in addition to other layers, depending on whether you need extra cushioning).
Throughout the project, make sure that you listen carefully to your project manager. Do not interfere with the work area until everything is signed off, even after the playing surface is installed. Remember, the last thing you want to do during an expensive project is to needlessly drag it out.