Bocce is a great way to spend time having fun with friends and family. This time-honored activity has been played for centuries in other parts of the world. In many countries, this game is taken quite seriously as a sport. Unfortunately, regulation size bocce courts are typically too large to fit most American backyards. We’ve scaled this version down (click here to see the plans) to about 1/3 the regulation size, making it perfect for family fun.
Gather the Materials
To make this bocce ball court, scoreboard and ball holder, you will need: bocce ball court plans / fourteen 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 10-foot pressure-treated pine boards / two 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 12-foot pressure-treated pine boards / 2-inch wood screws / weed cloth / shovel / paver base / decomposed granite / pea gravel / crushed oyster shell or oyster flour (optional) / stain and/or sealant as desired / two 1/2-inch galvanized floor flanges / one 1/2-inch galvanized 45-degree elbow / one 1/2-inch galvanized threaded pipe, 1-inch or smaller (close) / one 36-inch threaded pipe / four 1/2-inch wood screws
Attach the 46-inch board (H) to the inside edge of the 72-inch board (F) by inserting two wood screws through the 72-inch board and into the end of the 46-inch board. Attach the opposite end of the 46-inch board to the inside edge of the 12-inch board (K). Attach the 13-inch board (J) to the outside of the 12-inch board by inserting wood screws through the 12-inch board and into the 13-inch board. The two boards should be flush on the end away from the 46-inch board and the 13-inch board should extend 1 inch past the joint of the 12-inch board and the 46-inch board. To start construction on the court frame, attach the ball holder to one of the 10-inch boards by inserting two wood screws through the 72-inch board (F) and into one end of the 10-inch board.
Building the Frame
Insert two wood screws through the 10-foot board and into the 12-inch (K) and 13-inch (J) boards. Add a 60-inch (B) board to the back of the 10-inch board and attach by inserting wood screws through the 60-inch board and into the 10-foot board. Attach the other 60-inch board to another 10-foot board by inserting wood screws through the 60-inch board and into the 10-foot board. Attach the opposite end of the 72-inch board to the other joined 60-inch and 10-foot boards by inserting two wood screws through the 72-inch board and into the end of the joined 60-inch and 10-foot boards.
Completing the Frame
Now attach the 73-inch board (E) to the 72-inch board (F) by inserting wood screws through the 72-inch board and into the 73-inch board. One end should be flush with the end of the 48-inch board (G) and the other end should be flush with the end of the 72-inch board. Continue attaching 10-foot boards to the overlapping pieces inserting wood screws from the inside of the court to the outside boards. Finish with a 59-inch boards (C) on both sides of the inside of the court. At the end, attach the 58-inch board (D) to end of both 59-inch boards (C) by inserting two wood screws through the 58-inch board and into the end of the 59-inch boards. Finish by attaching a 60-inch board (B) to the outside inserting wood screws from the 58-inch board and into the 60-inch board. Secure joints by inserting two screws from the outside of the 60-inch board and into the ends of the court sides.
Preparing the Ground
Lay the frame out and mark the ground where you will dig using powdered chalk or flour (they will wash away with just a bit of water). Have someone help you move the frame out of the way. Using a shovel, dig out the space for the frame deep enough so that at least 2 inches of the frame will be in the ground. Make the hole as level as possible.
Place the Frame
Place the frame in the hole and check to ensure that it is level. Distribute the soil inside the frame evenly. It should be no higher than 4 inches from the top of the frame. Add weed cloth to the top of the soil and smooth out.
Pour Paver Base
Add a layer of paver base at least 1 1/2 inches deep, making it as level as possible (about .75 cubic yards).
Add decomposed granite to the paver base. You will need enough to cover the surface and at least 2 inches deep (about 1 cubic yard). Smooth out surface and compact it so it is quite firm.
Level it Out
To make a level playing surface, attach a 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 4-foot board the center of a scrap 6-foot board with wood screws.
Smooth Out the Court
Flip it over with the 4-foot board inside the court and the 6-foot board flush against the surface of the frame. Spread decomposed granite over the surface and get a helper to help you shimmy the boards back and forth from one end of the court to the other to ensure that the granite is evenly distributed and level.
Fill the Ball Holder
Add weed cloth to the ball holder and fill with pea gravel (about 1.25 cubic feet) to about 1 inch from the top of the frame. Distribute the gravel evenly.
Make the Scoreboard
Place two 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 14-inch boards (I) side by side. Add the 2-inch x 2-inch x 10-foot boards (L) to the back about 2 inches from the top and bottom. Insert wood screws through the 2-inch x 2-inch boards and into the 6-inch x 14-inch boards. It is best to pre-drill these spots to prevent splitting.
Make the Scoreboard
Attach the 2-inch x 2-inch x 10-inch board (M) to the front of the scoreboard by inserting wood screws through the back of the scoreboard and into the 2-inch x 2-inch x 12-inch board on the front.
Installing the Scoreboard
Add a galvanized floor flange to the very center of the back of the scoreboard using 1/2-inch wood screws. Attach another galvanized floor flange to the bocce court frame where the ball holder meets the side of the court (see diagram). Screw the 36-inch galvanized pipe into the flange attached to the court and attach the 45-degree elbow to the top of the pipe. Add the close pipe connector to the elbow and then screw the flange attached to the scoreboard onto the connector, making it quite tight.
Your Court is Complete
As the decomposed granite settles you may wish to add more, leveling the surface each time. The granite is suitable for play, but for a smoother, faster court you may wish to add a layer of crushed oyster shell (typically found at feed and seed stores).