How to create your own Petanque Terrain

If, like many people all over the world, you have become a Petanque enthusiast, you might have considered how easy it is to make your own Petanque terrain. Perhaps the location of your residence limits how often you play? Or, having enjoyed a game at someone else’s private residence you have the urge to set up your own private terrain, enabling you to host parties and tournaments for friends and like-minded Petanque enthusiasts? Creating a Petanque terrain is certainly achievable, but it will require a lot of organisation and, potentially, funding.

When making your decision, one of the first things you should consider is the potential location of your new terrain. How much space do you have available to create it? Is that space flat, or will you need to hire a landscaper or other expert to create flat space? Will you need to get planning permission to make a terrain? All of these questions should be considered before you make the decision to look into further costs of the terrain. In terms of the dimension required for a terrain, you should be looking at around 3 metres in width and about 15-16 metres in length. In terms of the official specifications, a terrain which is 12m x 3m (minimum) is suitable for regional competitions, and a minimum requirement of 15m x 4m is for national or international competitions. If you only want to create a terrain for your personal use and for entertaining, use the measurements at your discretion.

A similar sport, and one which is a lot more popular in the US than Petanque, is Bocce (known as the Italian version). Bocce courts are very similar to Petanque terrains: though they have high backboards which you will not need. Furthermore, the surface material of a Petanque court should be a lot rougher than that found on a Bocce court.

When you get to the question of total cost, there are a variety of factors which will affect the cost implications. This means that you could be looking to spend in between hundreds of $ and thousands of $! As such, it is not easy to estimate a figure for an average cost of a terrain, rather it is more useful to give you some of the range of factors that will affect the cost to you:

Weather conditions

Where you live alters the cost dramatically. If you live in an area of the world with particularly heavy rainfall, you need to factor in the costs of an effective drainage system, and the maintenance of the terrain. How quickly, after a storm, will you need the pitch to be ready for playing? In addition, the materials that you use to create your terrain need to be carefully considered as failure to use the right ones will result in extensive damage and constant replacement materials and maintenance. In addition to rainfall, the level of snow and freak conditions will need to be analysed to ensure that you use the right materials. If the pitch is liable to freeze, once more, the surface material needs to be considered.

Surface materials

The great thing about Petanque, is that, although it is often played in public parks or pathways, it can be played on a wide range of surfaces. When you design your court, you may want games to be played on soil. Sand, dirt or clay also provide good playing surfaces and although the costs to purchase and maintain them differ, they can offer a unique and aesthetically pleasing variation to some of the more standard games that you witness either in your local area or on television. Consider what will affect the material that you choose before making that decision (e.g. cost, maintenance, etc), and you will not end up disappointed.

Topography

One of the main requirements for Petanque, is that it is played on a flat surface. There is little point in playing a match where the ball keeps rolling down the hill and you lose control of your game! If your intended location is flat, then you need not think about this any further. However, good terrains can still be created by using land that is on a hill. Part of a hill can be dug out, or you could construct a retaining wall, depending on the budget you have available. Once more, rainfall and other weather conditions can affect your design. If your terrain is close to a hill, is there a high chance that rainwater could roll down and end up flooding it?

Standard

You might have grand designs for a terrain that has the best quality surface, a shed where you can keep the Petanque balls and maintenance equipment (in addition to a bar area for the post-match Pastis), as well as luxury chairs and facilities for spectators. However, are you able to afford all of these things?! Keeping up with the Jones’s is never easy, and not always cheap. Creating a terrain that stands out in your neighbourhood might include all of these luxury items, so factor them into your budget.

There are many guides online for Where To Play design and create your terrain. Some respected guides state that you a good terrain involves three layers of different size stones before you add a playing surface of limestone on to the top. Once you have finished installing your terrain, it is recommended that you leave the materials to form or ‘bind’ for a while prior to playing. This ensures that you don’t cause any unnecessary damage.

A protective surround which is well-fixed and at least 12.5 cm high (with 5 cm thickness) are recommended to ensure that spectators are protected.

There are many different successful ways of creating a Petanque terrain, and each one is completely unique. Following our guide of factors to consider will help you create a terrain which gives you many happy years of play.