Here is an idea that might be fun for some of you to create in a fairly small space- a backyard Bocce court.
We have little girls at home and my husband and I talk all the time about ideas to make our house the fun house. 😉 We love to entertain ourselves but I also want to think ahead as our girls get older and figure out ways to make our house the one the kids want to be at. I can keep a close eye on them and feel like I know what is going on without being super overbearing or controlling.
If our house has a cool hang out space- hopefully as the kids get older they will want to invite their friends over instead of going who knows where. As far as I can tell to accomplish this takes two key elements. The first is a full refrigerator. The second is finding stuff they can do.
So with that in mind, my Dad decided he wanted to build a Bocce court in his side yard and I jumped at the chance to come over and help out as he built his court. I think this might be something we consider ourselves as Bocce is so fun and simple and everyone can play together. We have played Bocce as a family many many times on vacations and such- you find lots of these courts in California wine country which is close to where we live.
So to get on with it- there are a few tiny modifications to this court as it is both Bocce and horseshoes together. But hopefully this tutorial will help you if you want to create your own Bocce court.
My Dad estimates he spent about $350 on this project with the wood and the gravel.
A Bocce court by regulation standards is 13′ wide and 91′ long. You can absolutely adjust this to accommodate your own yard. The one we built is 45′ long and 4’6″ wide.
What is important is a nice level surface. So you will want to start by digging up any grass or brushes so you have a dirt surface to work with. We used a sod cutter to pull up all the grass and dirt.
You will want to use a level to be sure the ground is nice and even. We raked up extra rocks and things and used a level to be sure the surface was flat.
Next you want to frame the court. This is similar to building garden beds. We used 4×6 pressure treated wood to build out the frame. You will want to bury at least 2 inches of the wood into the ground to keep it nice and secure. Because of the angle of the yard, one side of the court is a little taller to create a retaining wall for the rest of the yard that is sloped. We dug a trench and buried a 4×6 and then attached a second 4×4 on top using lag bolts. You can see from the picture above the 4×6 is buried.
At this point if you think weeds and plants might become an issue with your court, you might lay down some weed cloth over your rectangle. We skipped this step.
We poured about 4 inches of decomposed granite over the rectangle. The decomposed granite works nicely as it compacts together so it won’t disrupt your Bocce balls like a standard stone or gravel might.
You can hunt down some oyster shell flour as a top dressing for your court. It can be found at landscape supply stores and works nicely to increase the speed of the Bocce ball. We didn’t use the oyster flour but will likely top of the court with it at some point.
Now for the back of the Bocce court. For a standard Bocce court, you can just leave the back with the 4×4 frame you already built and call it a day. Since this court is also used for horseshoes, we made a 15″ high backboard out of (2) 2×6 pressure treated boards attached to the 4×4 Bocce frame. We used heavy duty book shelf brackets to support the weight of the wall.
And the last little piece of work is a tray to hold the Bocce balls. Again this is optional but we took a piece of redwood and used a 2 inch drill bit to drill shallow holes onto the front of the board. Those little circles hold the balls perfectly in place.
Here are a few things that might come in handy if you’d like to make your own Bocce Court:
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