Pickleball may be a fairly recent invention, but you can now find many places where you can play. Some pickleball courts were built by towns or communities, while others can be found as part of gyms and sporting complexes. Some enthusiasts are so passionate that they even build residential pickleball courts or a home pickleball court on their own property. Some estimates pin the number of playing fields at 15,000 across the United States and Canada, all to service millions of fans.
Pickleball court construction comes with its challenges, and building one outdoors presents some unique ones. Thankfully, with some careful preparation and a quality-minded contractor at your side, it should be a smooth experience with a happy pay-off. We will offer some expert advice on how to build an outdoor pickleball court, so you can do the job of a DIY pickleball court right without much stress or trouble.
Pick Outdoor-Friendly Surface Materials
Indoor courts, which can be found inside gyms and recreation centers, have it relatively easy. They only have to endure artificial lighting, air conditioning, the stamping of feet, and dust that can easily be cleared. People have many more options for the materials they can use to construct these pickleball courts because conditions are designed to be favorable.
Outdoor courts, on the other hand, need to be durable. The materials used for the surface cannot melt or get sticky in the hot summer sun. Ideally, they should not be porous enough to absorb moisture and melted snow, which could cause the surface to crack. Concrete is a common choice for all kinds of outdoor playing fields, as is asphalt.
Another factor to weigh, then, is how much regular upkeep the material requires. Concrete is generally easier to maintain, especially if you apply a finish to prevent concrete spalling. Asphalt requires more work, but it is also cheaper to apply — another factor worth considering. Whether you choose the former, the latter, or something else, just make sure that it can handle the outdoor conditions in your area.
Measure the Playing Field’s Size
The commonly held standards regarding pickleball court dimensions must be followed to the letter (or rather, the numbers) when building a playing field. We wrote a blog post on the subject for a reason. Every detail on the measurements defines the rules of the game (at least for serious and competitive play). Even a single inch of difference can make or break a match. Players might not notice if the court or anything in it is not properly scaled, but why risk incurring their wrath?
Firstly, you will need to see if you even have enough space. Naturally, you need to account for the court itself, but you should also factor in the rest of the area. The “out of bounds” zone, which surrounds the court on all sides, is necessary for the function of the sport. It also gives people an open space where they can sit down, rest, watch, and wait for their turn.
Next, make sure that every line on the court is exactly as long and wide as the standards decree. A standard pickleball court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, with the “non-volley zone” comprising the middle 14 feet. The four service areas should be outlined clearly in thick white paint measuring two inches in width. The same goes for the quartet of lines that make up the boundaries.
Hire a Good Contractor
Building a pickleball court often requires laying down a thick layer of material for the foundation and surface, then installing various pieces of equipment. These cases are not exactly jobs that a pair of friends can finish in an afternoon. Instead, the task is largely the purview of a contractor. Whether you want a court for your community, your establishment, or your home, you should hire a professional to construct it for you.
“Build an outdoor court by getting someone else to build it” might seem anticlimactic for this article. However, as the person doing the contracting, you are the only one who can start the process. Before you get just anyone, though, you should put in the work of researching different contractors. Each company may have different prices and requirements.
Moreover, you must ensure that they build the court to fit your needs, as well as the needs of anyone else who will use it. For example, one common and excellent piece of advice goes that you should orient the court so that they face north and south. This layout should keep the glare of the sun from disadvantaging one player more than the other. Instead, both players will be equally inconvenienced.
Get Supplies for Your Pickleball Court
No pickleball court is complete without a net dangling over the middle. This iconic piece of equipment enforces the “non-volley zone” rule while adding some challenge and unpredictability to every match. Something that you should know about the net: it does not emerge fully-formed from the ground when someone paints the lines of a pickleball court.
You will need to order the net, as well as the posts that hold it up. Then, you will either set it all up yourself or hire someone to do it for you. The same goes for perimeter fencing, which encloses the field and keeps balls from flying too far beyond the playing area. Pickleball and tennis court backdrop curtains, windscreens, lighting, benches, outposts, and other accessories may also be useful. Maintenance supplies for the surface materials will be necessary.
Luckily, as we mentioned, the sport of pickleball is growing in popularity. More and more people are taking it up, and more and more courts are opening to give these enthusiasts a place where they can play. Contractors are similarly growing in number to help build these outdoor areas, and dedicated suppliers are popping up to give people the equipment they need.
Pickleball Court Supply is one such company, and we are proud to offer everything you might need to build and maintain an outdoor pickleball court. If you are interested on how to set up a pickleball court, then feel free to peruse our collection of pickleball court supplies today.