Tennis is one of the most popular games, not only in our country but in the whole of the West. To play tennis you need special courts, structured according to precise rules that define the measures and characteristics. Although they have a considerable extension, they can be easily set up in the gardens, provided that they have adequate extension to accommodate a tennis court regulatory. Let’s see what these requirements are and what materials are used to build a tennis court in the garden.
Tennis was once called stringball: it was played indoors, the net was a thread and the ball was hit with the hand wrapped in leather. From the 16th century onwards, a racket was used instead of a hand and a net was used instead of a thread. But real tennis was born in Wimbledon in 1877, thanks to Major Wingfield who officially presented it to Queen Victoria.
MATERIALS FOR BUILDING A TENNIS COURT IN THE GARDEN
The surface of the tennis court can be made of different materials and is very important: the bounce and speed of the tennis ball depend on it.
The most common materials for this purpose are:
- Wrought earth
- Red earth
- Synthetic materials
Each of these materials has different costs, different construction times and even specific maintenance; they also allow different types of play between them.
ASPHALT AND BEATEN EARTH
On the asphalt, the ball behaves constantly and can give the players the opportunity to predict the game of the opponents, because the ball does not travel at very high speeds; it is a cheap material for a tennis court and is suitable for beginners. Wrought earth is a surface that makes the ball very slow, but causes high and unpredictable rebounds.
Asphalt and beaten earth are materials widely used for the game of tennis, but it is preferable to avoid them in the garden, because the asphalt is aesthetically unpleasant, while the beaten earth is very dusty.
The tennis court made of grass is not widespread because it requires a lot of energy and speed in the game: the ball travels fast and the rebounds are low. The grass is aesthetically pleasing, but also difficult to maintain: moreover, the climate of our country does not allow an adequate maturation for the preservation of the turf.
Red earth is the ideal material to make up an ad hoc tennis court: pleasing to the eye, cheap, fast (about 30 days), but requires some maintenance.
The red clay court is made by covering a layer of 20-30 cm thick drainage ballast on a slope for the drainage of rainwater, with a filtering cloth. Above the latter is placed the red earth’s mantle.
The synthetic surfaces can be made of resin, rubber or similar and have been available for years. They are ideal materials because they are trauma-free and therefore very safe, do not require any maintenance and can last even more than 10 years. Acrylic resins are suitable for any type of terrain, made with a mixed substrate of quarry for 20-30 cm on a slope. To prevent this substrate from flaking, it is advisable to apply a layer of non-woven fabric and then a double layer of very thin asphalt.
The resin finish is made with addictive substances containing pigments resistant to sunlight and plasticizers. The field made of resin does not require any maintenance if all these operations have been carried out. The rubber is very elastic and therefore allows to reduce effort and muscle fatigue; it is the right compromise between red earth and resin.
The rubber substrate is composed of a mixture of 20-30 cm quarry, hanging at the right point, then a layer of non-woven fabric and then a double layer of asphalt. The rubber covering is then made of granules mixed with polymers, which adhere to the surface through the use of polyurethane glues; finally, a pouring of polyurethane resins must be applied. The final finish can be achieved by applying aliphatic or coloured paints. Synthetic grass is scarcely homogeneous in its rebound: it is made up of polypropylene fibre sheets, mounted on a binder asphalt substrate, and is little used, even if drainage is guaranteed thanks to the micro-holes in the sheets.
NECESSARY SPACE IN THE GARDEN
The ideal garden for the realization of a tennis court must have medium-large dimensions, as the field for only two players must be rectangular, 23.78 metres long and 8.23 metres wide; in any case, these dimensions can be reduced at home, but not by too much, so as not to risk that the two players find themselves stuck together with only the net in the middle, without being able to play a lively game.
The net must be in the middle of the field, at a height of about one meter from the ground, with the poles fixed outside.
Around the tennis court it is a good idea to make a shielding hedge that also has the task of stopping the balls. The pictosphora is a genus that includes 150 species of small trees and shrubs, evergreen and semi-rustic, and therefore very resistant, with shiny green leaves and spring flowers also fragrant, and for these reasons they are also very decorative plants.
The pictosphora is also suitable for forming hedges of any kind and is therefore ideal for fencing a tennis court, as it is thick enough to block the balls and shield the sunlight, but not too compact to prevent air circulation. It is to be planted around April-May, in a well drained and fertile soil; in order to make sure that the hedge is created, the plants are to be placed at 50 cm one from the other.
During the first year of life, it is necessary to cut the pictospheres at the apexes at least twice. Then, in the period between April and June, it is sufficient to even out the heights once the plants have reached full maturity. The most ornamental species and therefore also recommended for hedges at the edge of the field are the tobira and tenuifolium: light yellow flowers perfumed orange for the former, purple flowers perfumed vanilla for the latter.
Alternatively, around the field, we may prefer compositions of gravel and stones, which allow us to find the ball immediately, with plants such as
- Dwarf Nandina
- fire power