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Whether building a residential, public, or resort facility, a number of important decisions must be made: type of court/surface (clay, concrete, asphalt, or synthetics, court speed and color), drainage, location, orientation, accessories, fencing, and lighting. These decisions will not only affect the cost, but also suitability for specific uses. While some architects and engineers may be able to help you, a Certified Tennis Court Builder is the best consultant. You may get a list of Certified Tennis Court Builders from the office of the USTC & TBA.


Drainage is probably the most important consideration in building a single court or block of courts. The court should be above grade on all sides to prevent water from washing across the court. Indoor courts should always be built with a slope and drain system for cleaning. Outdoor courts should be run in a north-south direction when ever possible. Drainage should be compatible with the surrounding terrain, and whenever possible, the slope should be in the shortest direction, across on single courts, and lengthwise on blocks of three or more courts.


Many factors may determine the type of court to be built. Economics, soil conditions, and personal preference are all serious considerations.

Hard Courts vs. Soft Courts

Well-constructed hard courts are virtually maintenance free. From year-to-year, washing and accessories replacements are normal maintenance, and these are relatively inexpensive. Every 4 to 7 years hard courts will need to be resurfaced and most hard courts will require an overlay every 15 to 25 years. Hard courts may be surfaced with almost any color or color combination. Green, green and red, and light green and dark green are currently the most popular colors. Lighter colors may reflect more light at night or indoors, but lighter colors also show more glare in bright sunshine. Speed of play may be controlled or varied on hard courts to suit the owner.

Maintenance and labor of clay courts has been greatly reduced with the innovation of underground watering systems. Clay court will require a reconditioning once a year, and if properly maintained they will never require the major expenses incurred in resurfacing or overlaying hard courts. Clay courts in the United States are usually constructed of green fast dry materials. Red clay is usually slightly more expensive and may be slightly less stable.

Cushioned hard courts, synthetic grass, and rubberized or carpet are other types of surfaces, which may be very appropriate in many situations.

If the decision has been made to build hard courts, there are still several choices to be made. Asphalt, reinforced concrete, and post tension concrete are the most common types of hard courts built today. Each type of hard court has both advantages and disadvantages and each may be more appropriate in different locations.


The most common type of fencing is 1 ¾ “ mesh, galvanized or vinyl covered chain link. Other types of fencing may be used on either wood or metal framework. Fencing is usually ten or twelve feet high on the ends and wings, and may be lower on the sides to facilitate viewing or access. Fencing posts may be sleeved or direct buried, and may be up against the edge of the court or on the edge of the court itself.


Tennis court lighting usually falls within two general categories; low-level “shoe box” lighting systems and high elevation flood lights. Low-level lights usually provide more even light and less light is scattered to the surrounding area. High elevation flood lights often have uneven “hot spots” but are usually much less expensive.

United States Tennis AssociationAmerican Sports Builders AssociationUnited States Professional Tennis Association
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