A total playing area of 34×64 is recommended for each court. One-fourth of a standard tennis court is 30×60 which is the minimum recommendation (34×64 preferred). If a compromise on the size must be made, the width is more important than the length.
The perimeter fencing is typically 10 feet high, the same as a tennis court. That works out well most of the time. At that height, a ball might still occasionally go over the fence. On a wider pad, you can get away with a lower fence.
Low fences between the courts are recommended. Without fences or some other barrier, stray balls can interrupt play and be a potential safety hazard. A 4-foot fence usually works well. Padding on the top rail of a 4-foot fence is recommended.
How Much Will it Cost?
You are probably looking at a range of about $10K per court to $50K per court depending on a lot of variables as described below. It can be done for much less with volunteer labor.
The techniques used for building pickleball courts are identical to the techniques used for tennis courts. Your best bet is to get quotes from local tennis court contractors.
Some of the variables that can affect your costs are listed below. It helps a lot if you just “go bare.” In other words, trim it down to the bare essentials and eliminate some of the extra-cost, optional items.
- One of the biggest local variables is site preparation, grading, and drainage. Certain types of unstable soils require additional preparation. Almost every court installed in our area has run into delays from the city and county because of drainage problems or reviews. You can’t make any changes to a site without dealing with drainage and sometimes that gets expensive. The extent of local bureaucracy can be a big factor. Do they require the expense of drainage studies?
- Type of surface… concrete or asphalt. In our area, post-tensioned concrete is the preferred choice. Asphalt is less expensive, but can present higher maintenance costs, more cracking, and low spots.
- Are there existing trees or other landscaping to deal with?
- Is there an existing sprinkler system that needs to be reworked?
- What type of landscaping, if any, is planned?
- Will there be perimeter fencing? How high? Will it include windscreen?
- Will there be court separation fencing?
- Are there access considerations during construction?
- What are the access consideration considerations for players and spectators? Will there be walkways to and around the courts?
- Will there be spectator seating and seating for waiting players?
- Will compromises be made on the size of the pad?
- Do you require lighting? We have found that evening play is almost as popular as play during the day, especially during the hot months. Lighting can be expensive.
- Do you plan on shade for spectators and players?
- Are there architectural, zoning, or CC&R restrictions?
- Are there easements for water, electric, or gas lines? Are there setback requirements?
- Will there be water for water fountains or hose bibs for cleaning the courts?
- Is electricity needed for lights or court-cleaning equipment? If plumbing and electrical are not in the area, the cost of getting it there can exceed the basic cost of the court.
- Will proximity to local residences require walls or landscaping for sound attenuation or visual separation?
Example of Costs and Difficulties
One example of costs on the high end is the city of Surprise, AZ. They had projected a total cost $640,000 for 12 courts including lighting and most of the stuff above. Cost was also inflated when a tennis player on the city council insisted on a sound wall between the courts and the local tennis center. The entire project got scrapped when the economy turned sour and the city experienced a budget crunch.
It can be done for a whole lot less if you don’t have too much local bureaucracy and you keep the requirements to a minimum. Construction costs can also vary with local wage rates and the extent to which the contractors are hungry.