Tennis is a fantastic sport and brilliant exercise, so it’s no wonder that many UK homeowners are considering adding one to their homes. Building a tennis court is the stuff of dreams for both recreational players and aspiring pros of all ages.
While you typically need a large piece of land to build a full-size tennis court, the owners of smaller homes on private land have been known to club together to buy shared tennis courts.
Tennis courts are not small – a standard court has an overall playing surface of 78 x 36ft for doubles or 27ft for singles only. That doesn’t include areas to the side and back of the court, so the total international minimum standard for the entire court is 114 x 56ft.
In reality, you can get away with a smaller area than that – but it’s still a significant job. This is a guide to the cost of building tennis courts in the UK.
Average Cost Of Installing a Tennis Court in the UK
By collecting price data from 6 primary sources and 4 secondary sources, we discovered the following average costs of tennis courts in the UK.
The prices for laying the surface itself include groundworks and preparatory work, as well as standard fencing. The only other cost to factor into a basic installation is line marking.
|Type of Surface||Cost (110 x 54 feet)|
|Budget Macadam||£25,000 to £30,000|
|Pladek||£45,000 to £55,000|
|Sporturf||£58,000 to £68,000|
|Tenniturf||£59,000 to £70,000|
|Omniclay||£65,000 to £75,000|
Additional Items Cost
|Line Marking||£500 to £1,500|
|Tubular Fencing||£1,500 to £2,000|
|Drainage System||£20 to £25 per linear metre|
|Gate||£2,000 to £8,000|
|High-End Fencing||£50 to £70 per linear metre|
|Floodlights||£1,000 to £5,000+ per light|
|Maintenance||£300 to £500 per year|
To build a quality tennis court, expect to pay over £60,000.
It might seem expensive, but the groundworks required to build a court are significant, and many tonnes of material need to be excavated and moved in the process. If the entire court is not precisely laid, it’ll crack and fail.
Factors Affecting The Cost of a Tennis Court
The main factor affecting the cost of a tennis court is the surface. It is possible to build a budget tennis court with single layer macadam, which will cost more like £25,000 than £50,000 like other surfaces. However, this won’t be much more than a slab of tarmac and won’t boast the qualities of a proper tennis surface.
A tennis court ideally requires a relatively flat surface to start with. Otherwise, groundworks to level the surface will be more costly. If you need extensive levelling, expect to pay considerably more.
Access and Location
Access is a big one, as building a tennis court requires significant groundwork that necessitate the use of diggers and transport trucks. Costs in London and the South East are likely to be highest.
Tarmac and other hard tennis court surfaces don’t drain particularly well, so you may need a drainage system too. This could cost as much as £5,000 or more, but will prolong the life of any court.
Net and Lines
Marking the lines costs around £500 or more, which seems steep, but the lines are typically guaranteed to last for life. A decent tennis net costs upwards of £200.
The quality of fencing is a significant cost factor. PVC-coated chain-linked fences are the cheapest option, but some installers offer hard fences that can also be used as a rebound training wall.
For play at dusk or night, it’s necessary to install floodlights. You’ll need at least two lights, which could cost within the region of £2,500 to £5,000 each.
Types of Tennis Courts
There are many different types of tennis courts ranging from LTA-approved semi-pro and pro surfaces to budget surfaces.
Here’s an overview of the different tennis courts available:
Budget Macadam – £25,000 to £30,000 (110 by 54 feet)
Macadam is pretty much another name for asphalt, which is similar to tarmac. Asphalt is the cheapest tennis court surface, but provides excellent durability and low maintenance. Budget asphalt is the cheapest tennis court surface, costing around £25,000 for the court, including level works and basic fencing.
- Hard court
- No cushioning
- Not the smoothest surface
Pladek And Non-Cushioned Acrylic – £45,000 to £55,000 for 110 x 54 feet
Pladek combines a porous macadam surface with acrylic painting to create a medium-quick surface that plays more like a hard court than macadam alone. Pladek is lower-friction than plain asphalt too, but is still sufficiently gripped for play in damp or wet conditions. These courts can be sprayed with practically any colour.
- Combines macadam with an acrylic painted surface
- Hard court with lower friction than standard macadam
- Can be painted in nearly any colour
- No cushioning
Medium-End Synthetic Grass – £58,000 to £68,000 for 110 x 54 feet
There are various semi-pro or enthusiast-grade surfaces suited to multiple sports, including tennis. These are synthetic grass surfaces, providing a medium-pace surface that is grippy and lightly cushioned. This means it’s better for the joints and provides a higher-performance play surface.
- Synthetic turf surface
- Light cushioning
- Plays more like a hard court than grass still
High-End Synthetic Turf – £59,000 to £70,000 for 110 x 54 feet
High-end synthetic turf, including brands like Tenniturf, are sand-filled synthetic turf. It’s a high-performance surface optimised for tennis. Tenniturf is often used for tennis clubs, universities and schools. It provides a more turf-like cushioned surface that plays at a medium pace.
- High-performance surface
- Lightly cushioned
- Plays more like grass
Artificial Clay – £65,000 to £75,000 for 110 x 54 feet
If you’re looking for a clay surface, artificial clay is an excellent choice. It has excellent drainage characteristics and plays well in all weathers. It plays like a clay court, but without the maintenance associated with one.
- Synthetic clay court
- Low maintenance
- Excellent all-weather performance
- Plays like a slower clay surface
Some tennis court installers offer their own brands. For example, Playrite offers a surface called Grandplay. Check what surfaces are available with your local installer and have them explain the advantages and disadvantages.
Why Build a Tennis Court?
Tennis courts are an attractive investment for homeowners with sufficient space to build them. Tennis is a popular sport and provides an excellent path toward regular recreational, semi-professional and professional play.
If your family and children enjoy playing tennis and you have enough disused land on your property, this might be a great choice of how to use it. Houses with sports facilities are worth more than those without, and a tennis court could pay for itself from the eventual sale of a house.
Here are some of the benefits of building a private tennis court:
- Tennis is a brilliant form of exercise
- For families, tennis is a team sport that can be played in singles and doubles
- Families whose children are budding or aspiring tennis players benefit from giving them somewhere to practice and train regularly
- Tennis courts can boost home value by some £75,000 or more
- Homes with sports facilities are becoming more desired in the UK
- Tennis courts are much cheaper than easier to maintain than other sports facilities, including swimming pools
How Much Land Do You Need to Build a Tennis Court?
A few factors affect how much land you need to build a tennis court. Some questions to consider are:
- Do you want a singles only or doubles court?
- Do you wish to erect a fence around the court?
- How much land do you have spare? The tennis court cannot take up more than half the land on your property (more on that shortly)
In general, a tennis court requires an absolute minimum of 108 by 54ft to 120 by 60ft. If a singles-only court is required, the width can be reduced to 45 feet. This ensures enough space at the sides and rear of the court. If possible, it’s best to meet the minimum international standard of 114 x 56ft.
Positioning a Tennis Court
Tennis courts are ideally positioned on flat land with no nearby trees or foliage. Clearing the court of leaves and other dead foliage is a hassle worth avoiding. Also, any large trees or bushes may spread their roots under the court.
Moreover, it’s best to position the length of the tennis court from north to south to avoid the sun from getting in either player’s eyes, as the sun rises in the east and settles in the west.
Do You Need Planning Permission for Tennis Courts?
In most situations, you won’t need Planning Permission for a tennis court, providing you have substantial enough land to build one. Tennis courts usually fall under Permitted Development and don’t require Planning Permission.
The Planning Portal defines tennis courts as outbuildings like sheds, greenhouses and swimming pools for the purposes of PDRs.
PDRs don’t automatically apply to the following areas:
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Conservation areas.
- Conservation areas and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
- National Parks.
- Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.
- World Heritage Sights.
- Homes built on Article 2(3) land usually have standard Permitted Development revoked.
The following conditions also apply:
- Your home isn’t listed
- Significant civil engineering works are required to level or change the land/
- The court would be more than 50% of the garden or total land around the property.
- The land must be a garden – and not a field intended for agricultural use.
- Separate rules apply if you intend to erect a fence over 2m in height.
If you intend to build any extras, such as a clubhouse or floodlights, these factor into PDRs and other rules. Floodlights usually count as an elevated outdoor light source and generally require Planning Permission.
Why Not Turf?
If you want a grass court, why bother with synthetics? Well, grass tennis courts are challenging to maintain and without proper maintenance, the surface will inevitably fail. They’re also prone to getting muddy and wet. Even Wimbledon’s grass courts look worse for wear after the final weekend!
To Sum Up
Tennis courts aren’t particularly cheap to build, and there’s no hiding the fact that these are exclusive, high-end additions to a home. However, they do promise to boost home value and can pay for themselves over time.
For a decent singles tennis court with medium-end fittings, expect to pay over £60,000, ranging up to £75,000 or more. For a high-end installation, spending over £100,000 is certainly not out of the question.