Backyard Ideas: Sports Field + Game Court Ideas {Guide}

Part of designing your backyard to meet your needs includes making sure you incorporate spaces that are dedicated to favorite hobbies or having fun with your family and friends.

For many homeowners with active families, this means including tennis courts, ping pong tables, putting greens, horseshoe pits, or other courts and fields used for sports.

Depending on what else you would like to have in your backyard, you will also need room for outdoor entertaining areas, an outdoor kitchen or built-in barbecue grill, your vegetable garden, walkways, a lawn area, flower beds or a fountain.

In some cases, a particular space can do double duty and meet more than one of your family’s needs.

For example, an artificial grass lawn can be used as an open play space for kids and pets, and then quickly transformed into a volleyball court or badminton court when your friends arrive.

When creating courts, fields and play spaces for backyard fun, the overall functionality of your yard should be a primary focus, but safety and visual appeal are just as important.

To find some inspiration to help you choose the backyard design that works best for you and your family, check out the following game courts and sports fields ideas that take into consideration safety, functionality and the overall appeal of your yard.

Backyard Game Areas: Things to Consider

Before we dive into various options that might work well for your family and in the space available in your backyard, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding what will work best for you.

Here are 5 things to consider when designing a game or sports space for your backyard:

1. Do you have enough extra space to dedicate an area for a particular use?

You may have a large yard with plenty of room for a basketball court — or even a baseball diamond — but if space is at a premium, you may need to consider designing a space that can be used for more than one purpose.

2. Can your design idea grow with your family?

Playground equipment is perfect for younger children, but it does not work nearly as well for keeping teenagers occupied with positive activities at home.

When you design a sports or play space, consider how that space can be transformed over the years to continue to meet your family’s changing needs.

Removable athletic court surfaces, courts that can be used for multiple purposes, or large areas of artificial grass that do double duty as sports fields are examples of backyard game spaces that can keep up with your growing kids.

3. Do you prefer portable or permanent surfaces and equipment?

Portable games and surfaces are usually less expensive, can be stored when not in use and are easy to change out for something else if your kids switch from baseball to football or outgrow their trampoline.

However, permanent structures and surfaces are usually more attractive and are often safer.

4. Choose a safe ground cover or court surface.

Roughhousing youngsters and competitive adults are sure to slip, fall, scrape their knees and bruise their elbows when playing games or sports in your backyard.

You cannot completely avoid your family members and friends getting a few bumps or abrasions, but you can provide them with safer surfaces by opting for synthetic grass or athletic courts designed for backyard use.

5. Can you transform an existing space to better meet your needs?

If our ongoing drought has you thinking about removing your water-hogging natural grass lawn and replacing it with something a bit more earth-friendly, this might be the best place to install your artificial turf putting green or athletic court.

If you have an old concrete patio that has seen better days, it still might be in good enough shape to convert to a multi-game court with a rubber surface placed over the concrete.

This could save you the expense of demolishing the concrete patio and provide you with a backyard sports area that better suits your family’s needs.

10 Backyard Game Courts and Sports Fields Ideas

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1. Putting Green

A putting green is a great addition to any golfer’s backyard, particularly if you want to work on your short game or are hoping to encourage your kids to take up the sport.

Artificial turf is a common choice for at-home putting greens and is the best way to ensure a proper putting surface without the tripping hazards, holes and hills that come with natural grass.

A synthetic grass putting green also allows you to get in a few swings whenever you have a chance without having to worry about wetness from sprinklers or rain.

2. Horseshoe Pit

Horseshoe pits are pretty standard in homes where social gatherings are frequently held.

If you want to be fancy and have a regulation court, you will need a rectangular area that is six feet wide and at least 46 feet long.

However, unless you plan on hosting tournaments, you can create a court of any size that works with your landscaping design to give you and your pals a place to pitch some shoes on the weekend.

The actual pit should be sand, dirt or clay, but that long stretch in between the pits will look better, be less dusty and be less of a tripping hazard for inebriated players if you opt for artificial grass or pea gravel.

3. Tennis Court

Backyard tennis courts are hugely convenient for serious players and for families with budding tennis stars.

Traditionally, tennis court surfaces are made from clay, grass or asphalt, all of which are available for backyard court construction.

Opting for synthetic grass makes for an all-weather court that provides a lower-impact playing surface for which your knees and ankles just might thank you.

Another benefit of choosing artificial turf for your tennis court is that it will be easier to transform into something else if your kids lose interest or you decide to overhaul your landscaping design and use the space for something else.

Tennis courts take up more space than almost any other common backyard athletic court, so unless you have an unused space that is at least 130 feet long, a backyard tennis court might not be an option.

4. Baseball Diamond

Most homeowners are not going to have the space to install a regulation-size baseball field in their backyard, but a small diamond might be an option if you have some extra land.

If not, you can also downsize your diamond dreams and opt for a batting cage and an area of lawn large enough for some serious games of catch.

Fake grass provides a level, sturdy surface for your outfield without the tripping hazards and mud that come along with natural grass playing fields.

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5. Basketball Court

Most homeowners opt for a half court that will fit a little better in the space they have available and still provide a great place to shoot some hoops.

If you are interested in a full court, you will need a space that is at least 60 feet wide and 100 feet long, which means this type of amenity is going to take up some serious real estate.

However, if you opt for a half court you only need a space that is about 60 feet wide and 60 feet long.

More importantly, if a half court will fulfill your basketball needs, this really opens up your options for installing a multi-game court your family can continue to enjoy as interests change.

6. Volleyball Court

Volleyball is commonly played on grass, sand or a soft, solid surface.

Regulation courts are 30 feet wide and 60 feet long, which might make them a bit large for some homeowners, but you can always shrink the size a bit if you are just playing with friends in your backyard.

A sand court is a great choice if you have a beach theme in your backyard or live close to the coast.

Volleyball is also a good candidate for a multi-game court, and is a great sport to play on artificial grass.

Choosing a synthetic grass court provides a cushiony, even surface for running, jumping and landing after the perfect spike.

7. Badminton Court

A regulation badminton court is just 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, which makes this a nicer fit for suburban backyards.

Of course, as with other backyard sports, you can always shrink the court even more so that it will better fit your overall landscaping design if you are not concerned about having a regulation-size playing field.

This is another one that works well on a multi-game court surface or on artificial turf, which can help you save space and avoid taking away from the overall look of your landscaping.

Casual games of badminton can also be immensely enjoyed with a simple, portable badminton set that can be set up quickly on your lawn, so no designated court is necessary for this one.

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8. Bocce Ball Court

Bocce ball is an easy, low-impact game that can be enjoyed by all ages, which makes it a popular choice for backyards.

Courts for this sport can be constructed of clay (like a tennis court) or manufactured grass, which provides that ideally level surface necessary for a great game.

There are two additional benefits to installing a backyard bocce ball court: They can be installed in underused areas of your yard, and they look great.

A fake grass bocce ball court requires very little maintenance and looks like a lush, green stretch of lawn when not in use.

Because bocce ball courts are long and narrow, they can often be installed along the side of your yard, which is often underused or even in a side yard to better use that space.

9. Football or Soccer Field

A full-size soccer field or football field is much too large for most backyards, but miniature versions are popping up in suburban yards across the country as youth soccer and football programs continue to gain popularity.

Artificial grass is a no-brainer for this one, particularly when you think of all the mud, grass and dirt that would be tracked into your house on little feet if you used natural grass for your backyard sports field.

One nice thing about installing an area of synthetic turf for this purpose is that you can easily change between soccer goals and football goals, and you can even buy combination goal posts designed for playing both sports on the same field.

10. Street Hockey Court

Most homeowners are not going to have room for a regulation-size street hockey court in their backyards, unless you just happen to have an unused space that is about 60 yards wide and 100 yards long.

But that does not mean you cannot enjoy a little roller hockey in your backyard, particularly because so many street hockey enthusiasts have never played on a court that size anyways.

Public basketball courts and parking lots are often the sites of makeshift roller hockey courts, so there is no reason you could not make a large multi-game court surface work for this.

Backyard Sports: Final Thoughts

Depending on the types of sports your family enjoys, it is likely that all you need is an artificial grass playing field or a multi-game court surface to meet your family’s needs.

Either of these options help you avoid having mud tracked into your home and are durable choices for high-traffic areas, which is where natural grass sports fields typically have large brown or dead spots.

Manufactured grass is a low-maintenance option that looks lush and inviting when not in use as a sports field.

It is a safer surface for physical activities and allows you and your kids to enjoy your favorite games or sports without worrying about wet grass, dirt or mud.

Do you have a athletic court in your backyard? How did you make it work with your landscaping design?