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Bocce Ball Court Construction Tips

Get tips on bocce ball court construction including planning for drainage, material selection, and seating.

A video transcript featuring Scott Cohen, The Green Scene

You know side yards are so often forgotten, but it's a great place to set up a little sport activity for the family, in this case, a bocce court. Now this bocce court is in construction. One of the most important things that we set up first are the bones for the bocce court, and that involves drainage.

Drainage system design
Drainage is very important; we've got to make sure the water gets off the course quickly so that we can play, and we do that by installing a French drain below the bocce court, and this is set in a bed of gravel. French drains are not really invented by the French, but actually by an American named Dr. French. They're installed by using pipe that has holes that have been cut in the pipe. A lot of people make the mistake of installing these drains with the holes facing up but, in fact, the holes face down and these French-style drains are actually hydrostatic relief drains. What that means is as water pressure builds in an area, it seeks the path of least resistance, and French drains provide that path of least resistance. The water fills from below and carries off through the pipe. So this goes below into a bed of gravel, it's covered with a fabric material, a giant sock actually, that protects the pipe from being filled with gravel and dirt. That goes below the course, then we grade about 4 inches of gravel over that and then, depending on the course, on the homeowner's preference, we'll install decomposed granite or crushed oyster shell or sand as the play surface.

This will get a wall down about 60 feet to raise it up to about 12 inches, and then we're going to build an 18-inch wall cut into the hill to create a seating area all the way down the course. So this will be the bocce court built in about four weeks time from now.

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