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قراءة كتاب Making a Tennis Court

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‏اللغة: English
Making a Tennis Court

Making a Tennis Court

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4

gutter that has been placed under the net. The number of these drain pipes depends upon the sticky nature of the soil. Four parallel rows of them on either side of the net should be sufficient for the poorest kind of soil.

When the drain pipes are laid, and the courts properly leveled with the trap-rock foundation, a three-inch layer of coarse gravel or fine broken stone should be spread over the surface. This must be pounded and hammered down and watered. The water will tend to show any weak places where settling is liable to occur, and the depressions thus formed must be filled up with fresh material. When this layer of coarse gravel has been leveled, pounded, and settled, the top layer, of sandy loam and clay mixed, should be applied. This finishing layer should be at least three inches thick, and four or five is better. Sandy clay and loam must be mixed for the top-dressing, but the proportion of each depends upon the nature of the clay. If the clay is very sticky it will require more sand. It needs to be sufficiently porous to permit the water to pass through easily, and yet not so porous that the surface is too soft. If there is not sufficient sand the surface will be sticky after a rainstorm. For ordinary purposes one part of fine sand to four parts of clay make an ideal finishing surface, but sometimes one and a half parts of sand have to be used.

When the finishing surface is laid it should be leveled off and rolled repeatedly. Watering is also essential, but a good rain will do wonders to settle the surface. Faults and depressions will then develop, and they can be corrected by filling in with new material. Also, if the surface is found to be too sticky, add a little more sand to the top and work and roll it down. It may take several weeks to perfect the top surface of the court so that it is rain-proof.



For garden and home purposes where tennis is played only by members of the household and their friends, the grass court is of course the most artistic and beautiful. The dirt or clay court is more satisfactory for clubs where constant use is apt to wear off the turf. If the green is large enough for shifting the court frequently so that the wear will not all come in certain spots, the turf court may answer all purposes for clubs and parks.

If the natural sod of the site selected for a grass court is luxuriant and the soil favorable for rapid growth, the expense of construction may be very slight. If the natural sod is poor, and the soil thin, it will be necessary to import good soil and purchase rich grass sod from some farm or meadow. If the grass is very patchy, but the soil rich, it may be satisfactory in the end, and certainly cheaper, to remove all the sod and sow down to grass in the late summer, and repeat it early in spring. It would hardly be advisable, however, to use the court much the first year, for the young grass would soon be worn off unless a firm sod was obtained.

A grass court is the best to play on in warm weather. The green of the lawn is pleasing and restful to the eyes, and the soft turf is cooling and soft to the feet. The sweet aroma of the green grass adds to the pleasure of the pastime, and the restful slopes and terraces invite one to lounge on the greensward after or before a game. Dirt courts, concrete, and asphalt, and even wooden courts, may appeal to the enthusiasts intent only upon playing the fastest game, but their glaring whiteness and hard, unyielding surface do not bring the pleasure that grass courts do. For these reasons the turf courts should always be chosen for the summer or country place, and they should be constructed and developed with an eye to their harmony with the surrounding landscape and architecture of the residence.

Grass tennis court

Grass courts are certainly more attractive features of the home surroundings, but for really serious play they need constant care

The construction of a grass court is less difficult than that of a clay court, but if the soil is very thick and heavy, some sort of foundation must be provided to drain the under-soil. On very unfavorable soil, tile drains are sometimes placed down before the turf is replaced. A layer of stones six inches beneath the sod is sometimes resorted to; but usually no such provision for underground drainage is required for the grass court. If side and end drainage is provided, and the soil is not too heavy, water will not collect and remain on the court to any great extent.

The construction of a grass court is simple when no attempt is made to drain it. The first thing to do is to lift the grass sod as carefully as possible and lay it aside for later use. The sod should be cut down as nearly to six inches depth as possible, and should be lifted in squares of fifteen to eighteen inches. Pile the sod carefully on one side and keep moist and partly protected from the hot sun. When the sod has all been removed spade up the soil to a depth of eighteen inches, removing all stones, roots, and obstructions. Rake over carefully and roll down to a level, watering frequently and filling in all depressions. When a perfect level has been obtained replace the grass sods.

These must be put down carefully so that the edges meet snugly. Open cracks and seams must be filled in with smaller pieces of sod. Roll, water, and level the surface until all is satisfactory. Fresh sods may have to be cut and placed wherever thin places appear during the first season. In the spring of the year fresh grass seed may be sown.

If the turf or grass is poor it will be better to omit sodding entirely and sow the surface with seed. It is better in such a case to make the grass court in the fall of the year. The winter storms will settle it thoroughly and reveal weak spots. In the middle of March rake up the surface, level, sow the seed, and roll carefully. It should be sowed twice from different directions, so that an even catch is obtained. Sowing can be made in the fall or spring. About five bushels of grass seed will be needed for the full-size court. Do not use clover seeds in the sowing, nor guano for fertilizers. When the grass is high enough to cut use the scythe or sickle first, and keep the lawn-mower for later cutting. Remove weeds as fast as they appear, uprooting them, or, if the roots persist, rub salt on them. When the grass is tall enough for regular cutting, use the mower at least once a week, and oftener in wet weather.

In many localities worms are very numerous and destructive to tennis courts. By working up to the surface they form little mounds and holes which permit water to trickle through and cause depressions. In regions where the worms are a great nuisance, a layer of finely sifted cinders is placed on the stone foundation of the dirt court or at the bottom of the excavation of a grass court. These cinders will keep the worms from working up, but if placed on the grass court the cinder layer must be at a depth of a foot or more below the surface, so as not to interfere with the grass roots.

One should remember that grass courts wear out more rapidly and require more care than those of dirt, especially when they are subjected to constant usage.

The cost of making tennis courts will vary considerably, as one may readily see. As much as $200 and $300 is sometimes paid for making tennis courts, but others are made at no greater cost than $25 where conditions are favorable and one is willing to do some of the work. The hardest courts to make are dirt ones laid on rocky foundations where blasting is necessary. Grass courts that are nearly level can sometimes be made by removing only a part of the sod and replacing it after digging out some of the under soil. This may cost only a few dollars.