View Full Version : What's it cost to build a residential tennis court ?

SC in MA
04-18-2005, 02:10 PM
Just curious. Does anyone know the average cost to build a residential hardcourt tennis court ? How about a clay court ?

I seem to remember a thread about this a long time ago, but I did a search and couldn't find it.

04-18-2005, 05:26 PM
I'm not sure; I've heard around $17,000 for hard courts, but I may be completely off.

04-18-2005, 05:49 PM
I would also like to know...we're spending like 50 grand to expand the house...I wish we'd just build a court instead...

04-18-2005, 05:52 PM
Hmm, I'm curious too. Also, what I'm thinking is if you have to get some kind of zoning permit to build one. But probably not since it's like a basketball court which is just concrete and a hoop. 17k huh? I have no idea if that's correct or not, but geeze. pretty expensive..

Hmm, after a quick search on google I found this (http://www.washingtonian.com/travel/gametime.html)

"A full tennis court costs at least $30,000."

An eBuild (http://www.ebuild.com/guide/resources/product-news.asp?ID=112511&catCode=26) articles says $30k as well.

04-18-2005, 05:54 PM
Wow 17k?! What makes it cost so much? Don't you just like... haha make an area of ground flat and pour on whatever kind of mixture that makes the hard courts and then after it dries paint it up and add net posts :P

Craig Sheppard
04-18-2005, 06:05 PM
Yeah the figure I always heard for a clay court, which supposedly was cheaper than a hard court (don't know why), was about $25k...

04-18-2005, 06:08 PM
Wow. A clay court is cheaper than a hard court? Go figure...

SC in MA
04-18-2005, 06:20 PM
Hmm, I'm curious too. Also, what I'm thinking is if you have to get some kind of zoning permit to build one. But probably not since it's like a basketball court which is just concrete and a hoop. 17k huh? I have no idea if that's correct or not, but geeze. pretty expensive..

Hmm, after a quick search on google I found this (http://www.washingtonian.com/travel/gametime.html)

"A full tennis court costs at least $30,000."

An eBuild (http://www.ebuild.com/guide/resources/product-news.asp?ID=112511&catCode=26) articles says $30k as well.Hey Roger. Thanks for the links !

04-18-2005, 07:01 PM
Just buy a net, some chalk and a good lawn mower. Voila, grass court.

04-18-2005, 07:01 PM
Well I know, that when I used to live in my old house, it cost something like $10,000 to re-pave my semi-circle driveway. There is the cost of the cement truck, digging and making a foundation, making sure the tons of cement is level. Then painting the court, measuring and painting the lines, etc. In addition, the contractors or whoever cost a lot and then the workers need to get payed.

04-18-2005, 07:29 PM
There is a contractor around here that will build a hard tennis court for $20K, but that is cheaper than most. I had a good friend that built a clay court in his backyard and it ran him around $50K. Of course, he had European red clay flown in and installed an underground watering system. I'm sure it could have been done much cheaper, but money wasn't an issue for him.

04-18-2005, 09:55 PM
Wow, underground watering system. Sounds very high-tech.

haha, I like the grass court Idea. But I know that our lawn-mower definitely does not cut down low enough, and it isn't dense enough. I'm sure you'd have to get some special kind of grass other than your run-of-the-mill grass for your front yard.

04-19-2005, 01:51 AM
During my first degree I did labouring work for a firm that built tennis courts. That gave me a pretty good idea that the overall cost is dependent on 1) what type of court you want to install 2) how much land you have 3) who does the work.

If you want something like a hardcourt, synthetic grass, clay or any other surface that does not occur naturally then it will cost a lot more. All of those courts are comprised of several different layers which aids drainage. The 'topsoil' is only a minor component of the overall job, while the underneath is the main component and the most expensive part, not to mention fencing, posts etc.

Best option, if you want to keep the cost down is to be creative in your thinking.

Have a look around and see what different surfaces you can play on and select one that suits your budget. If you want hard court, there are a number of alternatives far cheaper than omni-court, plexi-pave etc. Actual cement is a totally viable court surface and plays in a way not dissimilar to those two. Ashphalt is another cheap option and easily installed. If you have more than enough room and a good climate then a grass court is easily installed. If you live in an area that is particularly dry then think about installing a dirt court. Over the dirt bed you can put down a clay alternative appropriate to your location. In Australian country towns its not unusual to see courts called 'ant bed', made entirely from the dirt found in the large ant nests (No, Im not joking). Plays like slightly faster clay and, if you have doubts as to its viability, its what Rod Laver and Roy Emerson learnt to play on.

Apart from actually clearing the area for the court, installing fencing and posts etc, then laying the surface the only major consideration is to provide adequate drainage. A natural surface already has that built in while an artificial one will require a slight incline to aid run-off (you probably notice that at public tennis courts).

04-19-2005, 04:39 AM
I remember playing social tennis at a friends house on modified grass in the posh leafy suburb of brighton. Everytime i went to rundown short angled shots i was worried i would fall head first into the nearby water pond. I'm a tennis player not a duck, damnit.

So make sure you include extra land space for the required distances around the outside of the court. On some surfaces balls will bounce higher and you will require more distance to back fences.

04-19-2005, 05:05 AM
This might help have a good look through this site.


04-19-2005, 08:41 PM
Hardcourt with fencing approx. 35K I had one put in my backyard by the same contractor Lisa Raymond used. Always get several contractors to submit estimates and call references. One guy gave me a rough estimate of 60K! Once he realized that I knew a lot about tennis courts and was shopping around he fell off the face of the earth. He never submitted the estimate in writing as he probably had his tail between his legs for trying to screw me over and me knowing.

New Balls
04-20-2005, 12:54 AM
Maybe his 60k included lessons with former USO champs...?

04-20-2005, 02:58 AM
lol for thatm it would want to.

04-20-2005, 09:24 AM
I built my own court 4 years ago. It is a hardcourt with black vinyl coated chain link fence. Retaining wall at one end. It also has very good lights. Looks like daylight when the lights are on. Cost for everything was $50,000. The lights alone were $10,000. There is also a covered viewing/relaxation deck on one side. Integrated backboard to hit against, and electricity to run my ball machine, etc.

I just started playing again 4 years ago after an 18 year layoff. Having a blast with the court. If you can swing it, I would recommend having your own court.

04-20-2005, 08:04 PM
Sounds nice! I'll grab my bag and be over in a few minutes!

04-21-2005, 03:34 AM
In my part of the country (South Carolina ), expect to spend between $20,000 and $25,000 for a hard court. Labor costs have closed the gap with clay courts and clay courts require constant maintainence, another cost. There is a lot more involved than going out and laying down asphalt.

04-21-2005, 05:14 AM
Estimate $50,000 AUD per court for Classic Clay because of rising popularity.

Bill K.
07-04-2005, 10:31 AM
Good thread here on tennis court construction...my two cents could be half a book I think on this. I started a clay court tennis project about 1 1/2 yrs ago doing practically all the the work myself (with some help from my kids and not much else.)

To contract out, I think some the figures mentioned here are accurate but it could vary alot since much depends upon the existing levelness, base structure, amount of root removal, and natural drainage on the site you have. I think you're looking at $20k - 25K minimum if you contract it and use "local clay" and the site is almost perfect. It goes up from there if you need lots of dirt work and you think you want Har-Tru (green clay) shipped from Virginia. Then you're probably looking at $30K plus I would suspect. If you want concrete hard-court...yes lower maintenance (but less novelty & harder on joints?)...I think you could easily go $30K - 35K given the cost of a good concrete slab.

Mine?...I think I'm keeping close to $12K. This is probably rock-bottom and I would think doable only by doing most of it yourself, having a solid, good-drainage site, and using only local clay. This is complete with irrigation and eight 1500 watt 220 volt halogen lights on 20 foot post set-ups. It's taking quite awhile but has been very satifisfying. Do not plan on anything this cheap unless you have your own tractor with implements which I have and are willing to do almost endless hours of root removal and leveling (since this area has big trees nearby and had heavy brush/trees). The state-of-the art metal halide lights were too pricey but if you're playing more than one or two nights a week with them it might be worth it since the operating costs are much lower than halogen. My project is also extreme on the side of saving money since I have actually used a 75 foot pine tree that fell on the property as my posts...25 posts with an angled-corner court to support poly fence netting on steel cables top and bottom (ten feet tall on ends and corners and almost 5 feet on sides). To cut posts, used an inexpensive "beam machine" attachment to an 18" Stihl chain saw to make rough-cut posts about 5" x 5". To treat posts I used many gallons of a copper napthenate product made by Jasco. I checked out and is safe to use. All in all, alot of work making your own posts, treating them, and installing...maybe not worth it if I had to do over but that part is done now. Other advantage I have in terms of a clay court is a 3 acre pond nearby which I am setting up irrigation with a 1 1/2 HP sprinkler pump. The final steps to trench, and hook up irrigation and electrical is mainly all that's left for me. Wiring for this project alone ran at least $1000 for 9 250' rolls of 10/2 wire, 1 roll of 12/2 for the pump, & a bunch of conduit. Concrete foundations for the tennis net posts alone took 32 bags of 80 lb. ready-mix...got to support that heavy tension on the net! Each fence post used anywhere from 2 to 4 bags depending if a taller or shorter one. As far as the clay, I must have had about 15 loads of heavier clay (maybe 250 tons) plus 4 loads of red sandy-clay for a one-inch plus top surface. It is probably a crap-shoot on the using local clay, but I think I got very lucky on that. "Local clay" can be cheap but again you've got to do some research which is not easy since low-tech "dirt pits" aren't always in the phone book or on the internet.

I'll wrap it up...I'm excited to hit balls. Have been hitting some but will be great of course to get the lines in and the fence netting up. I'd like to hear other experiences anyone has had...I'd be glad to share more on this if you're interested. Unless you really like construction projects and already have some tools (& maybe a tractor), not something most would want to take on. Of course, someone could be their own general contractor and contract out parts to keep down costs.

07-04-2005, 10:55 AM
Keep in mind hardcourt maintenence charge is a lot cheaper then grass/clay!

Bill K.
07-04-2005, 12:52 PM
I agree...hardcourt is far more practical from a maintenance standpoint. Everything I've heard & seen about a grass court, it is way too costly & time consuming to maintain for most. At least a clay court is doable at least in more humid climates. Besides, alot of the maintenance is just me riding a lawn tractor pulling a roller or a drag and holding a beer, assuming you are not getting bad wash-out problems & regularly losing top surface.

The other major consideration for me was that a quality concrete slab is probably beyond the ability of most do-it-yourselfers. Therefore, contract out and then I'm in a higher price range to get it done.

07-05-2005, 06:04 AM
IN my neck of the woods, price's range from 35k-50K. Had someone quote me $45k w/o lights.

07-05-2005, 06:16 AM
haha, I like the grass court Idea. But I know that our lawn-mower definitely does not cut down low enough, and it isn't dense enough. I'm sure you'd have to get some special kind of grass other than your run-of-the-mill grass for your front yard.

I think my lawn-mower could cut down low enough with enough density also, but I will check. If I do get that working, do you think I could buy a different kind of grass seed? This is really kind of a joking matter, but it would be great for me to do this if possible.

07-05-2005, 07:38 AM
Well, we didnt do anything that sophisticated but have two courts, 1 grass and 1 ant bed that conform to competition standard and are more than adequate for me to teach on as well as play on. Total costs were roughly 5000 per court. My own labour but just making use of what is native to this area (grass and ant beds) and taking it from there. Biggest difficulty was in erecting a netting for the grass court which we close over the top of it after use (otherwise the birds get in and pick at the court).

The key to our keeping costs so low - apart from doing it ourself and using local materials- was in owning a large enough parcel of land (4 acres) to not require an elaborate means of separating the court from the neighbours. So we didnt have to worry about a metal fence and use netting for both.