Californians are blessed with great weather almost every time of year. Is your boring backyard keeping you from enjoying it? From basketball and bocce ball courts to trampolines, gyms, and more, there are a ton of sporty backyard landscaping ideas to turn your lackluster backyard into a fun, active space to enjoy anytime you want. Here’s a look at seven sporty backyard landscaping ideas just about everyone can implement for year-round calorie burning and fun.

1. Basketball or Sports Court

Home sports or basketball courts are popular backyard additions for several reasons. They can be used for basketball, dodgeball, and just about anything requiring a little smooth concrete. If you have a large backyard, you can go big with a full-court basketball court, which measures 60 feet x 90 feet. However, for smaller spaces, a 30-foot x 50-foot half-court can be just as fun.

The court itself can be made of poured concrete. Traditionally, this is the most popular choice. However, today, co-polymer tiles and rubberized Plexipave materials can also be used. As far as the hoop goes, you can permanently install a nice hoop with a glass backboard and anchor it into the ground, or you can opt for a portable hoop you can simply roll out of the way when using the court for something else.

When installing a basketball court, you should also consider the time of day you expect to play most often. This will allow you to situate it to avoid shooting into the sun. You should also trim any low-lying tree branches nearby that may interfere with your shot. Since sloping backyards are quite common in California, you can also construct a retaining wall and tuck the court into the side of the slope to create a little extra space.

2. Trampoline

Everyone loves trampolines. They’re a ton of fun! Plus, they’re a great form of exercise as well. Best of all, they’re pretty easy to install and don’t take up a lot of space. In fact, the largest trampolines only measure about 14 feet in diameter, making them viable for backyards of all sizes.

Unfortunately, due to lack of sunlight, lawns don’t fare well underneath trampolines. So, if you opt for an above-ground trampoline, it’s best to plan and prepare your trampoline area ahead of time by laying gravel or decomposed granite.

An in-ground trampoline may be a great option as well. Not only will it be safer since it isn’t as high up off of the ground, but it will be easier to use and likely get used more often as well. Plus, with an in-ground trampoline, there’s no need to install unsightly safety nets. In fact, you can even do a little excavation and surround it with natural grasses to make it almost completely out of sight.

Just keep drainage in mind. Otherwise, you may end up with a water-filled pit every time it rains. Fortunately, in comparison to other parts of the country, the California coast is blessed with minimal rainfall, so this may not be much of an issue.

3. Bocce Ball

Despite its Italian roots, bocce ball is becoming increasingly popular in the states. The long, narrow court should be made of materials like sand, decomposed granite, or crushed oyster shell for minimal bounce. These materials also don’t require any water, which is a plus in the California climate.

The standard bocce ball court measures 90 feet x 13 feet, so it’s perfect for both long and narrow or short and wide backyards. Depending on how serious you take the game, you can also shorten the court to 60 feet. As with in-ground trampolines, proper drainage is critical to avoid puddling on the court. Crushed gravel and French drains with perforated pipes and canvas sleeves work great.

In terms of court construction, you can use concrete blocks or rail ties 12-18 inches in height to form the perimeter walls. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Whether you choose the backyard or a side yard, you can have it ready and ready to get your bocce ball on in no time at all.

4. Putting Green

A backyard putting green won’t help you burn many calories, but it will help you improve your golf game and always give you something to do. Like pool tables, they’re great for entertaining and socializing as well. When installing a putting green, make sure to place it near the house to get the most out of it both personally and socially. However, since errant chips shots may occur, make sure to place it a safe distance from windows.

As far as materials are concerned, artificial turf is best, because it has a consistently even surface and doesn’t require constant watering and maintenance. Artificial turf also drains well and cleans up easy after a “pet mess.” Considering that an artificial turf putting green only costs a few dollars more per square foot than one made with regular turf, it’s a smart option all the way around.

When creating your backyard putting green, don’t be afraid to make a challenging. A flat oval putting green with a single hole can get boring really fast, so keep things interesting by including some undulations, a sand pit, and a few holes. Additionally, include some landscape lighting for some after work fun and stress relief.

5. Volleyball Court

Volleyball is a fun activity for family, friends, neighbors, and anyone else you want to join in. A standard volleyball court measures 50 feet x 80 feet, but you can make it smaller to accommodate almost any size yard. In addition to the poles and net, make sure to include back lines and sidelines. For this, you can use rope, garden edging, or weather-resistant wood.

When creating a sand volleyball court, which is most popular for backyards, you’ll need to excavate the court area down to two to three feet and install a drainage ditch tor French-style drains to minimize puddling. Then, lay a one-foot layer of smooth gravel and a layer of landscape fabric or burlap overtop. Finally, place a foot or so of beach sand on top and rake it to create a smooth, level playing surface.

Since a tight net is a must for volleyball, make sure you have sturdy poles in place to support it. Whether you choose galvanized metal poles or poles made out of treated lumber, they should be anchored into the ground with concrete footings to keep them straight and in place. After all, no one likes a sagging net!

6. Horseshoes

Horseshoes is a fun game everyone can’t help but love. It’s also one of the easiest sporty backyard lawn ideas to implement. It can be played on sand, gravel, decomposed granite, or even the lawn. With so many different terrains in central California backyards, this makes it a perfect option.

When making a horseshoe “pit,” you’ll need to place two stakes approximately 40 feet apart. Then, you just drive the stakes into the ground and draw a couple of lines to pitch behind. That’s really all there is to it. However, you can also include rebounds boards made of pressure treated lumber or rail ties behind each stake as well. This will help keep sand in its place and the horseshoes from scattering all over the yard.

7. Gym

In central California, you’re blessed with great weather most of the year, which means you can take your workouts outside. If you have a covered patio big enough to fit your equipment, you’re in luck. Not only do you have adequate floor space already in place for your equipment, but you’ll be covered from the weather. You’re able to work out in the fresh air virtually any time you want.

If not, you can put up a gazebo or another shade structure. If you’re really serious, you can also pour a concrete patio slab or install pavers to create a level, sure-footed space for both you and your workout equipment. This will also give you a place to place slip-resistant mats and do aerobics, yoga, pilates, or tai chi.

If privacy is a concern, you can incorporate reed fencing or put in a privacy screen. You may want to also consider lighting, especially if you like to work out early in the morning or in the evenings after work.

K&D Landscaping, Inc. – Your commercial and residential landscape design, installation and maintenance company serving Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley & Watsonville, CA.