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playing on a backyard bocce court
How do you NOT want to play bocce with these guys?

Croquet is so 1865. Ever since the Queen of Hearts took up her live flamingo mallet and challenged Alice to a match in Lewis Carroll’s story, it’s been the lawn sport to beat.

But it’s a complicated game, and tedious to set up. (And anyone who has tripped over a wicket long after gameplay ends knows it can be a painful game, too…)

If you’re tired of wickets and mallets, but want to add some variety to your backyard entertainment beyond the “bags” boards (aka cornhole) all your neighbors set up on sunny days, we’ve got another sport for you to consider: bocce!

This lawn game came to America with immigrants from Europe where it’s been played since the ancient Roman Empire. The game is a close cousin to bowling but has some things in common with horseshoes, bags and other fun backyard games.

Where should a backyard bocce court be located?

Traditionally, bocce is played on a long, narrow court. Court sizes vary and will depend largely on how much space you have to play, but they’re typically anywhere from seventy-six feet long by ten feet wide to ninety feet long by thirteen feet wide.

Unlike basketball courts and other multi-game courts, bocce courts don’t actually need to be relegated to the backyard. Because they’re so long and narrow, they’re actually well suited to side-yard construction, so if you have some unused space next to your house, maybe that’s an untapped future home for another fun lawn sport!

Beyond the side yard, bocce is a great court for odd-shaped lawns of all types. Whether your land extends long beyond your back door or you have a wide expanse of backyard, a bocce court may fit in perfectly! Neave Sports can help you get the bocce court as of your dreams.

Construction considerations for a bocce court

drainage for backyard bocce court
This photo shows a French drain being installed in a Neave Sports client’s backyard bocce court. Drainage is critical!

The three most important considerations in constructing a backyard bocce court, besides space, are material, moisture, and grade.

The best materials for a bocce court are porous materials that will minimize bounce. Good materials include sand, decomposed granite, crushed oyster shells or even flat, short grass or artificial turf.

Besides minimizing bounce, you should keep your court as dry as possible. (One thing that can help with drainage is a French drain system)

Making sure you have a completely flat surface for your backyard bocce ball court is essential, too! Otherwise, you may end up with your balls in the same corner during every game. You should also be sure to include a nice high border around the court to keep balls in bounds.

Construction is relatively simple, but the details here are especially important, as with many simple things in the landscape. And once you’ve got the basic details nailed down, the fun can really start.

Consider landscaping around that simple, long and narrow bocce court with shrubs, flower beds and even landscape structures like pergolas to add some vertical interest!

Let’s build a bocce court!

Thinking about installing a backyard bocce court in your landscape? Neave Sports can help! Call our office at (845) 463-0592 to start the planning process, or fill out our web form to have one of our designers get in touch with you.

Let’s play!


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Image credit: NYC gov parks

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Bill Neave has been caring for the landscaping at our home for over 35 years, beginning in the days when he pushed his own lawnmower. We have watched his company grow over the years into the major organization that it is today–a true success story, and illustration of the fact that people recognize a job well done. As the business has grown, one thing has remained consistent; a commitment to doing reliable, quality work in a timely manner. With his son, Scott, joining him and Kathy in the family…
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