Building a tennis court can be a great way to not only add to your life experience but to increase your home’s value. Depending on what type of court you choose to build and how you build it, a tennis court cost will vary between a few to several tens of thousands of dollars. Maintaining a tennis court after construction is completed can incur costs as well, particularly if the court is made of grass or clay.
The 2008 Wimbledon Men’s Singles final is considered by many tennis fans to be the greatest tennis match of all time. On one side of the court, you had Roger Federer, the most dominant force in tennis, who had controlled the game since his first major in 2001. On the other side of the net, you had Rafael Nadal, the then second-ranked player in the sport.
Known as the King of Clay, Nadal had quickly risen through the ranks by dominating on clay courts, and he had also started winning on hard courts, such as the ones in the Australian Open. However, he had yet to defeat Federer, particularly on the legendary fast courts of Wimbledon, which were made of grass. In a match that lasted nearly five hours, Nadal finally won by three sets to two, cementing him as a force to be dealt with on all types of courts.
That day, whether you were at Wimbledon sipping on a Pimm’s Cup or watching the game from the comfort of your living room, you and millions of other tennis fans around the world may have been struck by the same thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to build a tennis court in my backyard?”
Why should I build my own tennis court?
Building a tennis court has two potential advantages. Firstly, you’ll get ultimate bragging rights and entertainment out of such a posh structure that’s so fun to play on. Secondly, tennis court installation can add value to your home should you ever decide to sell it.
When building a tennis court, the most important cost factor will be the type of surface on which it’s built. Grass and clay will cost considerably more than the average hard court. The amenities surrounding the court, such as fences, lighting, and water stations, will also add to the overall tennis court cost. And the city you live in may charge you extra fees for permits and taxes.
However, if you go about the building process the smart way, installing a tennis court in your home can be a lot of fun, and it can even make you some money.
Tennis court surfaces
So you want to build a tennis court in your backyard, whether to actually start playing tennis or to increase the value of your home. But you’re not sure which surface to choose for your new court.
There are three main tennis court surfaces, each of which differs from the others in terms of playability and tennis court installation cost: grass courts, clay courts, and hard courts.
Grass courts — the type used in Wimbledon championships — are the original tennis courts, dating back to the days of the British Empire. They consist of low-cut grass, meaning they require significant maintenance. On a grass court, the ball does not bounce very high nor for very long. Traditionally, grass courts have favored players who like to “play fast,” with a serve-and-volley game that encourages quick play (think Pete Sampras).
Generally, grass tennis court construction will cost you $50,000 to $150,000 to install upfront, though expect that cost to be in the six-figure range. Furthermore, after the cost of building a court come significant maintenance costs to keep it in good condition, which we will discuss later on.
If grass courts are for fast play, clay courts are for slow play. On a clay court, the ball bounces high and slow, which means matches on clay courts typically take longer to play.
Players who make incredible use of topspin, like Rafael Nadal, tend to have a huge advantage in the clay court game. Clay is the type of surface used in the French Open, and it is popular in southern Europe and Latin America.
A clay court will cost you between $50,000 and $80,000 to install, plus the maintenance costs for the upkeep of the court over time.
Hard tennis courts are the most common type of tennis court in the United States. They serve as a sort of middle ground between grass and clay courts. The ball will bounce higher on a hard court than on a low-cut grass court but significantly lower than on a clay court.
Hard courts are also considered “fast courts,” so players with a large serve have an advantage on this type of surface. Novak Djokovic’s all-around game has made him a master of hard-court Grand Slams. The two most prevalent types of hard-court surface in the U.S. are asphalt and concrete.
Asphalt courts are very popular among hard courts. The only real downside is that they’re prone to cracking. An asphalt tennis court costs between $40,000 and $100,000 to install.
A concrete tennis court is similar to an asphalt court, with one important difference: it’s not as susceptible to cracks. This added benefit will cost you a bit more: concrete courts cost between $60,000 and $120,000 to install.
Tennis court add-ons
By now, you probably have an idea of the surface you want for your tennis court. Great! But the court itself is only the beginning. You’ll also need to consider the add-ons that a proper tennis court comes with. Here are some of the amenities you may want to include with your new tennis court.
If you live in an area with a cold climate or you want to be able to play tennis when it gets chilly, you might want to consider building a tennis bubble. Tennis bubbles are enclosures that can be used to turn outdoor courts into “indoor courts” whenever the weather gets cold.
The price for a tennis bubble can vary, but typically it will range from $6,000 for a basic dome to $150,000 for a higher-end tent. You can even match the color of the bubble to your tennis court paint color!
It’s a blast to play tennis after the sun sets, particularly if you involve a couple of Pimm’s Cups. Of course, if you want to play on your own court after dark, you’ll need to install tennis court lighting around it.
The cost to install a single light pole on a tennis court is $1,000 to $2,000. Most tennis courts need at least four of these poles to ensure maximum lighting, so if you’re planning to regularly hit backhand slices close to midnight, expect your tennis court lighting cost to be between $4,000 and $8,000.
Aside from the necessities, there are a variety of additions you can make to your tennis court. Some examples of amenities you might want to add to your tennis court include a practice wall, a water station/bar, and a first aid station. If you’re planning to play some serious tennis on the court, it may also be worth adding showers, locker rooms, and stalls.
Obviously, the cost of amenities will vary depending on what you want to include with your tennis court, but you can reasonably expect to pay anywhere between $50 for a couple of water coolers and $150,000 for a full bar and locker room.
Permits and planning for tennis courts
You’ve decided on the type of court you want and the amenities you want to add to it, and you’ve budgeted for material costs and labor costs. But don’t forget that you may need to acquire permission to build the court as well.
Generally speaking, most areas will allow you to build a tennis court on a piece of land you own without having to acquire a full permit. However, be aware that building a tennis court could still incur extra fees due to zoning and a homeowner’s association.
Depending on where you live, you may have to deal with zoning regulations related to the construction of a tennis court. Your county or municipality will be responsible for enforcing these rules. If you’re planning to include tall structures on your court, such as lights, you will need to check with your local zoning authority about the rules in your area, as you may have to pay for a zoning permit.
If you live in a planned community, then you are likely a member of a homeowner’s association (HOA). HOAs are notorious for their cumbersome application processes to build structures on property within their communities.
Before you build a tennis court in your backyard, it’s best to check the rules of your HOA. For a project such as a tennis court construction, you may be required to pay a fee to your HOA, either in a lump sum or in increments over time.
Maintenance costs of tennis courts
Maybe the reason you want to build a tennis court is not just to have fun and show off to your friends but to improve your game. You can shine like Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer while avoiding the disappointing three-and-done Grand Slam fate of Andy Murray. However, as mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind that tennis court maintenance costs will vary depending on the type of surface you choose for your court.
Grass courts require plenty of maintenance, as you need to trim the grass regularly to keep it short and “playable.” Overall, grass tennis court costs will run you about $3,000 to 5,000 per year.
For a clay court, fresh clay must be consistently brought in to keep the court playable. Same as a grass court, you’ll need to budget for labor costs to keep your clay tennis court well maintained. The annual cost to maintain a clay court will be between $5,000 and $7,000. However, some of the expenses for clay court maintenance, such as rakes, will only need to be made once.
Hard courts are the cheapest type of court to maintain, as they require less maintenance on a regular basis. The average cost of maintaining hard tennis courts, including the cost to frequently pressure wash tennis courts, ranges from about $1,000 to $2,000. For a hard court in the U.S., expect to pay about $1,800 a year in maintenance costs.
How to finance a tennis court
If you don’t have the cash (or prefer not to spend your savings) to pay for a tennis court, you can finance it with a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a home equity loan, a personal loan, or even a credit card (if you have amazing credit). Another option if you don’t have the cash flow to make monthly payments or you have a high debt-to-income ratio is to use a shared equity agreement. Shared equity agreements don’t require monthly payments. They are not even technically a loan.
Regardless of the financing method you choose, make sure you compare multiple lenders before you make a decision. The comparison tool below is a good place to start if you are considering a home improvement personal loan.
Will installing a tennis court increase my home’s value?
Adding a tennis court to your backyard can be a fun way to invest in your home. By installing a tennis court, you can increase your home’s value substantially compared to other similar properties in your area without a court. A property with a tennis court can sell for a premium to the tune of $150,000 above its original value.
Looking to buy a home where you can install a tennis court? Here are some of the mortgage lenders we recommend.
What is the cheapest tennis court surface?
The cheapest tennis court surface is a hard surface (either asphalt or concrete). These surfaces are much easier to install and maintain compared to the more expensive options of a clay tennis court or a grass tennis court.
How big is a backyard tennis court?
A standard backyard tennis court is 120 feet by 60 feet.
How much concrete do I need for a tennis court?
If you decide on a concrete tennis court, the amount of concrete you’ll need will vary. It’s best to consult with a contractor familiar with your area and building needs.
Can I build my own tennis court?
Yes, provided you have all the necessary permits and can afford the tennis court materials needed for the project.
Can you use asphalt for a tennis court?
Yes, you can use asphalt to build a tennis court. However, bear in mind that asphalt tends to crack, so if you can afford the extra cost, concrete may be a better choice for a hard court.
How long does a tennis court surface last?
That depends on the type of surface and how much you play on it. With normal usage, a tennis court should last you about four to eight years.
- When building a tennis court, you’ll need to choose the type of surface you want: grass, clay, or hard.
- Hard courts are the cheapest type of tennis court to build and maintain. These can be built with either concrete or asphalt.
- Amenities such as lighting, tennis bubbles, and water stations will add to the cost of building a tennis court, as will any permits and fees required before construction.
- Be aware of zoning and HOA regulations in your area before you build a tennis court.
- Installing a tennis court in your backyard may be a smart (and fun) investment to increase the value of your home.
View Article Sources
- How Much Does a Tennis Court Cost? – HowMuchIsIt.org
- Tennis Court Cost – ThePricer.org
- Tips for Budgeting for a Tennis Court Installation Project – Classic Turf
- Operational & Capital Budgeting for Clay Courts – 10-S Tennis Supply
- Home Court Advantage: The Value And Luxury Of A Tennis Home – The Agency