Backyard Pickleball Courts: A Guide for Beginners

How to set up, play, and enjoy pickleball in your own backyard

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a fun and easy sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It can be played by people of all ages and skill levels, and it only requires a few pieces of equipment. Pickleball is played on a court similar to a tennis court, but smaller, with a net that is lower than a tennis net. The game is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball. The rules are simple: you serve the ball underhand, and you can only score points when you are serving. You win a game by reaching 11 points and leading by at least two points.

Why play pickleball in your backyard?

Pickleball is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and have fun with your family and friends. Playing pickleball in your backyard has many benefits, such as:

  • You can play anytime you want without traveling to a public court or paying for a membership.
  • You can customize your court to fit your space and preferences.
  • You can invite your neighbors, friends, or relatives to join you for a friendly game or a tournament.
  • You can improve your skills and challenge yourself by playing with different partners and opponents.
  • You can save money on equipment and maintenance, as pickleball is a low-cost sport.

How do you set up a backyard pickleball court?

Setting up a backyard pickleball court is easier than you might think. You will need the following items:

  • A flat, smooth, and level surface, such as concrete, asphalt, grass, or artificial turf. The minimum size for a pickleball court is 20 feet by 44 feet, but you can adjust the dimensions to fit your space.
  • A net can be either a portable net system or a permanent net attached to posts. The net should be 36 inches high at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center.
  • A tape measure, a chalk line, and some chalk or paint to mark the court lines. The court lines should be 2 inches wide and include a baseline, a non-volley zone line (also known as the kitchen line), and a centerline. The non-volley zone is a 7-foot area on both sides of the net where you are not allowed to hit the ball in the air.
  • Paddles and balls, which you can buy online or at a local sports store. You will need at least four paddles and four balls for a doubles game. The paddles are usually made of wood, composite, or graphite, and the balls are usually yellow, white, or orange.

How to play pickleball in your backyard?

Playing pickleball in your backyard is similar to playing pickleball on a public court, with some minor differences. Here are some basic rules and tips to get you started:

  • Decide who will serve first by tossing a coin or playing a rally. The server stands behind the baseline and serves the ball underhand, diagonally across the court, to the opposite non-volley zone. The serve must clear the net and land within the boundaries of the court.
  • The receiver must let the ball bounce once before returning it. The server must also let the ball bounce once before hitting it back. This is called the two-bounce rule, and it applies to the first two shots of each rally.
  • After the two-bounce rule, the players can hit the ball in the air or after one bounce, as long as they do not enter the non-volley zone. The non-volley zone is a 7-foot area on both sides of the net where you are not allowed to hit the ball in the air. You can enter the non-volley zone only to hit a ball that has bounced, or to return to your position after hitting a ball that has bounced.
  • The rally continues until one of the following happens: the ball lands out of bounds, the ball hits the net and does not go over, the ball bounces twice on one side of the court, or a player commits a fault, such as hitting the ball in the non-volley zone, stepping into the non-volley zone while hitting the ball in the air, or hitting the ball before it crosses the net.
  • The server continues to serve until he or she commits a fault. Then, the serve passes to the partner of the server, who serves from the other side of the court. If the serving team commits another fault, the serve passes to the receiving team, and the process repeats.
  • The serving team can only score points when they are serving. The receiving team cannot score points, but they can win the serve by forcing the serving team to commit a fault. The first team to reach 11 points and lead by at least two points wins the game.
  • You can play a single game, a best-of-three match, or a tournament with multiple teams. You can also adjust the scoring system, the number of players, the court size, and the rules to suit your preferences and skill levels.

How to enjoy pickleball in your backyard?

Pickleball is a sport that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ability. Here are some ways to make the most of your backyard pickleball experience:

  • Invite your family and friends to play with you. You can play singles, doubles, or mixed doubles, or you can rotate partners and opponents. You can also organize a mini-tournament or a league with your neighbors or colleagues.
  • Play for fun, fitness, or competition. You can play casually, for exercise, or for bragging rights. You can also set goals, track your progress, and challenge yourself to improve your skills and strategies.
  • Learn from others. You can watch online videos, read books, or join online forums to learn more about pickleball. You can also join a local pickleball club or association, or attend a clinic or a camp to get coaching and feedback from experts.
  • Be respectful and courteous. You can follow the etiquette and rules of pickleball, such as calling your own faults, keeping score, and avoiding distractions. You can also be friendly and supportive of your partners and opponents, and avoid arguments and conflicts.
  • Have fun and be safe. You can enjoy the game, the company, and the outdoors. You can also wear appropriate clothing and footwear, use sunscreen and hydration, and warm up and cool down before and after playing.


Pickleball is a sport that anyone can play and enjoy in their own backyard. It is easy to set up, play, and customize, and it offers many benefits for your health, happiness, and social life. Whether you are looking for a new hobby, a way to stay active, or a fun activity to share with your loved ones, pickleball is a great option. So grab your paddle, ball, and net, and get ready to have some fun!

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