For a homeowner with a tiny backyard, a soccer pitch will forever remain a dream. However, homeowners with sizable yards shouldn’t shy away from building a soccer pitch because they think it’s expensive.
Setting up a backyard soccer field can be a DIY project you can complete together with the youngest members of your family!
The smallest size of a soccer pitch is 15 meters by 20 meters. If your backyard meets these requirements, then you should start planning right away. Of course, the goal space and a practice area will require a bit more space on the sidelines, so don’t squeeze the pitch right next to the fence.
Furthermore, goals come in all sizes (but not shapes, though). This means that you can install kiddie goals if you lack the space for professional goals. Also, you can have only one goal if there isn’t enough room for two goals.
Fencing off the pitch
We’ve already mentioned the fence but the question arises: should be a plain picket fence? These are perfectly acceptable if their foundations are strong enough to withstand the force of a football. If you wish to erect a new fence, then a chain-link fence is the best option, as it’s both cheap and durable.
The height of the fence should be around 2 meters with the exception of the section right behind the goal(s). Here, the fence should be erected higher by at least a meter or two. The same goes for the side of the field facing the house to prevent windows from getting broken.
“Grass” is a wide term
There are few surfaces that cannot be used to kick a ball around. However, if you have ever watched a professional football game (the 2022 Qualifiers are topical), then you know that the vast majority of soccer fields have grass as the surface.
The term “grass” should be taken in the widest sense possible, as there are many types of grass fields. The two main kinds are natural grass and artificial grass. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, as we shall see from the paragraphs below.
Natural grass is not as green as you might think
Natural grass seems like the obvious solution but it is actually more harmful to the environment than artificial turf. Namely, artificial grass helps limit chemical exposure since it doesn’t require pesticides, chemical herbicides, and fertilizers.
Not only will artificial pollute the environment less but your children won’t have to come in contact with harmful substances. It is enough you store various hazardous chemicals in the bathroom and the kitchen; you needn’t extend the list of toxins stored on your property.
The cost of maintenance
Not having to buy fertilizer all the time adds to the low maintenance cost of artificial turf. However, this doesn’t mean that artificial grass is maintenance-free. Sections of artificial turf get damaged easily and it’s fairly hard to clean them, as muck sticks to the plastic (cleaning individual blades is out of the question).
Natural grass, on the other side, requires regular maintenance but not much more than a backyard lawn. Mowing, watering using a retractable hose reel and aerating the grass isn’t that hard when you come to think of it. After all, being your own groundsman conveys a sense of pride!
The issue of cleanliness
We have mentioned how artificial glass gets dirty easily but the same occurs to natural grass. When players (and pets) run over the lawn, they bring inside house mud and wet blades.
On the other hand, rain washes all the muck away from the pitch but cleaning an artificial pitch is much harder. Therefore, synthetic turf is cleaner only at first sight.
Both teams should be level
Apart from the size of the pitch, you should consider the flatness of the terrain. Bumps and holes are something that can hurt a player, no matter how small they are. That’s why the playfield should be level for both teams, to put it as such.
In this sense, an artificial field is much better, as it comes from the factory flat as a pancake. However, you can always add earth to fill up the holes and level the ground before planting natural grass. Consider renting a roller to level the ground evenly across the entire backyard.
A multipurpose arena
Due to the sheer scale of a soccer field, you won’t be able to use it solely for sports activities. In this sense, an artificial field might have a slight advantage over a natural grass pitch because you won’t have to redraw the lines all the time.
Moreover, artificial grass won’t have mud patches, so you can use it for a garden party, for example. On the other side, natural grass is more inviting and more suitable for children, as it’s soft. When your child falls on artificial turf, there will be nothing to soften the blow.
The legality of a soccer field
You might think that building a soccer field isn’t much of a deal, sans the cost of materials. However, if you live in a historical district, then such a home improvement might not be allowed.
It is wise to consult the city authorities or the local homeowners association to check whether building a soccer field will land you a penalty (and we don’t mean it in a good way).
Order the equipment in advance
After sowing the grass is done, it’s time you turned your attention to the goals and the soccer ball. These should be pre-ordered, so it arrives in time for installation. There are many brands out there but you needn’t order professional goal posts.
However, the football is a different story, as it’s not too expensive. Order a high-end model, so it lasts long. If you build a great backyard soccer field, be sure that your friends and neighbors will gladly come over to your place to play. In fact, you can consider installing floodlights to play after dark!
As you have seen from the points made above, it’s not that hard to build a backyard soccer pitch. The most important decision you have to make is the surface, i.e. the type of grass you wish to sow/lay. Once the ball arrives, it’s time to have some fun.