Creating a basic Bocce Court is very easy. It’s mostly fun to build, although not every step is fun. But always fun to use, bocce is an ancient pastime played on sunny afternoons by Italian men wearing panama hats and drinking jug wine.
Construction requires little more than marking out a large rectangle, doing some digging, and spreading and compacting the granular material. It’s a bit of work, but a court gives your game the predictability that rolling the ball on the lawn will never happen.
First decide how big you want your court. The regulation is 8 to 14 feet wide and 91 feet long. A more reasonable size is 8 to 10 feet wide and 60 feet long. Really, you can make it any size. Once you decide on the size, add the width of its border material to it. For example, if you will be lining the court with 4 x 4 pressure-treated lumber, as we did, add about 8 inches to the width and length of the court.
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Drive a wooden stake to mark the first corner, and use a 100-foot tape measure to mark the first long side of the court rectangle. Play the second stake. Tie a bright orange mason’s line tightly from stake to stake.
Working from this string line, measure the width of the court and drive the third stake at 90 degrees to the first or second stake. Do the same on the opposite end.
Draw another Mason’s line between stacks three and four, giving you two long parallel reference lines. An easy way to check for absolute parallelism is to work with a helper and draw a tape measure from any line and swing the end of the tape in a short arc at various points along the rectangle. The width of the arc is the width of your court.
This is more accurate than simply measuring because it eliminates the need to measure precisely at 90 degrees to the reference line, which would be a pain. Carpenters, builders and millwrights have used the swing measurement trick for generations. If the lines are not parallel, adjust one of the lines accordingly.
Measure the sides, which should be even, using a can of turf marking paint, spray the rectangle onto the grass.
Dig and install the border.
Remove the mason line but leave the stake. Remove the sod with a flat shovel or rent a turf cutter.
How much you dig depends on how you build the court. If the ground is rocky and difficult to dig, building a court makes more sense. If the ground is soft and sandy, and digging is relatively easy, dig down 2 to 4 inches, as long as you have room to put the excavated soil or you can move the soil from one side of the court to another. can be used to equalize This will still keep your court slightly above grade, which is a good thing. The less you build, the more your court will become a rotting ruin in wet weather.
Lay pressure-treated 4 x 4s in the trench, stacking them two high. Backfill the soil to hold the 4 x 4s in place, and attach the 4 x 4s with 10-inch spikes. The hardest part here is maintaining the level and straightness. But remember, you’re building a bocce court, not a house. Draw string lines (from stakes) whenever you need a visual reference to keep the border straight.
To keep the material level, use a 3-foot level for short sections. To test the length, lay the surface upright on an 8-foot 2 x 4.
Put a court.
The play area is built in three layers. The thickest layer is compacted at the bottom and covered with geotextile fabric. The next thickest material is in the middle, and the finest material (the playing surface) goes up. The details of your court materials will depend on what is available where you live. For example, the bottom layer may be 1 inch of washed crushed stone. The top layer can be ¾- or ½-inch crushed stone or gravel.
Place the layers down in decreasing thickness. The bottom layer is usually 3 to 4 inches thick, the next layer half that, and the top an inch or more.