Log cabins are often used as club houses for sports clubs. Making playing fields suitable for verifiable competitions with other clubs in many team sports be it football, basketball, American football, handball, tennis, badminton, or others requires specialists that know exactly about the exact specifications of the playing fields, possible surfaces, elasticity, how high a ball has to bounce off from the surface and many more specifics that have to be in a certain range to enable a level playing field for competitions.
However, we have all played fascinating and exciting games of football on any old grassland available, with any shape or size and goalposts at a fantasy distance apart. Fun of playing games lies not in competition and perfection alone, however it might still be good, if certain conditions were met, to make the games enjoyable.
So we want to dedicate the following article to you, if you use your log cabin as a main home, as a summerhouse, or as a holiday home and you would like to give your children a place to play a bit more than just the basket hanging at the wall of the house next to the garage.
How to plan a playing field near the log cabin?
You will not start such a project without an idea how much space there is near the log cabin, what games should be played on the playing field, and thus you will have an idea about the sport, the playing field should be suitable for.
So one of the first things to decide is: Will you go for a playing field in official sizes that are mostly globally standardized for each sport, or are you also happy with just any suitable size that enables an interesting match?
Another idea that can work out for a private log cabin is to make a field suitable for a variety of different sports by painting borders and internal markings in different colours. Like a basketball field in white, a badminton field in yellow and a tennis court in bright green or orange.
So, the first thing you need to know is the size. The next step is to evaluate if you already have a plain area of this size or if you need to do some earthwork levelling out an area of an appropriate size. If you need to do extensive earth deposits, you also need to plan ahead for several months because the raised parts will sink in during the next few months. Compression, even with heavy machinery will only go so far. In the end, you will still have to wait a few months.
You might make the level area for your new playing field at your log cabin during summer, let the ground sink until next spring and then you are probably good to proceed to the next step.
Playing field at the log cabin – Ground works
From the level the log cabin sits on you will have to go down about 20 to 30cm. You might also make a mixture of digging a flat pit let’s say only 15cm down and use the earth to erect a wall all around the outlines of the field to end up with a flat 20 to 30cm deep pit. This procedure also has the advantage, that the playing field will be slightly above the ground level of the log cabin and rain water will more easily flow off, in case that you choose a watertight surface.
The best way to go would be to have a surface that will let rain water drain through it. Turf, artificial turf, a mixture of both, or fine gravel are usual options for that. In this case you need a perfectly flat pit with a constant gradient of about 0.5 to 0.8%. For larger fields, lasers can be used to ensure that the ground is plain. Depressions in the middle of the ground, where water might gather are to be avoided.
During the planning stage you will already have decided where the water will flow off. In most cases a drainage layer as the second layer in the pit will do, if you can give the water a way out at the lower end of the gradient. If this seems to be difficult, it might be necessary to drain the pit with trenches, deep enough to house drainage pipes covered with roofing felt in coarse gravel.
If your log cabin already has a well dimensioned drainage, you might also be able to connect the drainage of the playing field to its outlet.
Consistent flatness is the key to a good playing field near the log cabin
Usually the soil near log cabins will have some plants and be more or less fertile. So, in most cases a sub-base layer of clean sand of 5 to 10cm will form the bottom of the playing field in order to prevent seeds or roots from penetrating the layers above. Already for this layer constant flatness under even compression is the main rule for a good playing field. The same rule applies for the proper drainage layer that goes on top of the bottom sand layer.
This layer might consist of gravel from rock, lava rock, or granulate from glass foam. Already here you might decide to include a miniscule raise in the middle of the playing field to make very sure that there will be no puddles on the field at any time during or after heavy rains.
For a top playing field at the log cabin get some advice from the pros
The top layer needs just the right consistency to ensure that water passes through it easily. At the same time you must have resistance against frost in mind. Very clean fine gravel might be right for some sports, turf, artificial turf or even materials that are bound together by resin might be employed. Compression must again be very uniform across the whole field, and not too strong to maintain the ability to let water drain through it.
With certain sports in mind that you want to play at the log cabin, you might also give professionals a call who make playing fields in the professional sports area. Maybe they can give you some advice on what materials they use in which thicknesses, and about suitable procedures in the building process.
The final steps before the matches can start at the log cabin
Once the top layer is properly in place, you might think about the surroundings and the markings needed for the specific sport. Posts need to be erected, nets, goals, grass can grow on the slight inclines around the rims. Maybe you will need some garden furniture to put on the terrace of the log cabin so that you can watch the games relaxed from the side.
For any questions, please contact us or call Oliver at 020 3807 0369!