The answer is “Yes!”
A well-meaning mom with no experience can build a basketball area in the backyard for her kids using paver stones.
As the mom of two boys, I spend a lot of time on sports-related things. I really never thought I’d build a small basketball court in the backyard for them, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!
When we moved to our house, it had a lot going for it. What it didn’t have was a place for my boys to play basketball. And they love to shoot basketball.
Since our driveway slopes down to the street in the front, the backyard was the only option for a basketball goal. Some friends from church gave us an almost-new goal after their daughter left for college. The kids were happy to have it, but it’s hard to dribble on grass!
We debated a solution for a while. Pouring a concrete basketball court would be a big investment. My husband was busy at work and didn’t have time to take on a DIY project.
Finally I decided I could build a basketball area myself by laying paver stones that would connect to the existing covered patio. My hubby thought I was crazy for volunteering for that job, but I finally I convinced him I should give it a try.
After he agreed, I started clearing the sod from the area. I recruited the kids to help some. It was a good arm workout for all of us! I thought that would come in handy for lifting the 16-inch square paver stones and setting them into place.
Little did I know how much more arm strength I really needed! My trip to Home Depot to buy the materials made me realize that I needed a new deal with my hubby: if he would buy all of the paver stones and sand for the underlayment and transport them to the backyard, I would do the rest.
He was sure I would be asking for more help and he would be spending all of his time off work laying pavers for me, but I was determined to get that part of the project done all by myself. Somehow I made it happen!I’m not gonna lie. It was hard work, and it took me a long time to get it done. The project did not follow the fast pace of some of the done-in-a-weekend tutorials I had read. (If you need a full how-to tutorial for installing paver stones, I liked the ones at The Handmade Home, Better Homes and Gardens, and Lowes. Yep, I read a bunch of tutorials before I got started.)
To complete my project, I worked on it a little at a time for weeks. I worked carefully to make sure the base sand under the pavers was really smooth so the pavers would lay flat.
Besides the physical weight of the pavers, my biggest challenge was getting the sand layer smoothed out just right so the court was totally flat. I definitely didn’t want anyone tripping over the stones!
I finally finished laying the stones and sweeping sand between them before the cold weather arrived last fall. When I got that last paver done, I was a very merry mom!
The last stone was hard to install with stones on two sides and the edge forms on the other two sides. I had to kinda drop it in, which messed up the sand layer on my first few attempts. I had to re-level the sand and try again until finally I got it in right. Whew! Getting everything level was a lot harder for me than it sounded before I started on this little endeavor.
I did a happy dance that it was all done! Then I couldn’t wait to usher my kids outside to try it out when they got home from school that day. They were thrilled to squeeze in some basketball time in the backyard when it wasn’t too cold.
As much as I wanted to show off my little basketball court, I didn’t post anything about it here last fall. Since my work was not a by-the-book installation, I wasn’t sure it would hold up. I thought the cold weather might make the stones heave up out of place over the winter.
Now that spring has arrived after our especially cold, harsh winter, I’m happy to report that the basketball area made it through the last five months intact! My boys have been playing basketball on it all spring.
Today I’m finally declaring success building a DIY backyard basketball court from paver stones. And if I can do it, anyone can!
2016 update – A few people have asked if the pavers are holding up well over time since I originally installed them. The answer is yes! After going through a few winters with freezing and thawing, the pavers are still looking good. We have to do some weed control between the pavers from time to time, but this basketball court has been maintenance free otherwise. We did have to buy a new basketball goal, because our original, free goal rusted. We bought the Lifetime 1221 pro-height adjustable basketball system from Amazon (affiliate link) and have been very happy with it. It came with free home delivery, which was handy. The setup took some time, but it’s a nice goal.
Space planning details for our DIY backyard basketball court
Due to the space constraints in our yard, I loosely based our basketball area on a free throw lane. It’s 16 feet long and 8 feet wide.
My reasoning was that the NCAA free throw line is 15 feet from the backboard, so making our court 16 feet long gave us a foot of space for standing to shoot free throws. That worked out to exactly 12 of the 16″ paver stones for the length of the basketball court. I added a border of single bricks around the paver stones to make the final size correspond to our existing covered patio space – and to gain a little more room for standing to shoot free throws.
Although the regulation free throw lane is 12 feet wide, our court is just 8 feet wide.
For us, the size decisions were based on space and budget. With this size, my kids can practice free throws, layups, and inside shots.
Our basketball court definitely would be better if it was large enough to give my kids room to practice 3-point shots, but I keep reminding them (and myself) that it’s better than nothing!
You could really make a court any size that works for your yard. I measured and sketched our backyard basketball court on paper with a couple of size options, then marked it off in the yard before getting started.
Using 16″ square paver stones, I needed 72 pavers for our court (6 rows of 12). I used 16-inch square paver stones with a brick basketweave pattern stamped onto them.
Before buying the basketweave-patterned paver stones, I checked to make sure the basketball would bounce OK on it – and it does. The brick lines in the pavers don’t seem to affect the bounce of the basketball at all.
Are you planning a paver stone basketball court in your own yard? I’d love to hear about your DIY project!
This DIY basketball court project is linked up at some of these link parties.
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