April 13 2017 03:00 AM

A new trend is starting to get noticed by landscape contractors who do a lot of design/build work on residential properties: people are asking for bocce courts. If you haven’t heard of bocce, also called lawn bowling, it’s a bit like curling without the ice. One player tosses a small ball onto a court, and then players compete to throw their larger balls closest to the target. It requires a special landscaped area to play, and the game’s popularity has been driving business.

Greg Rowland, owner of Grow Land LLC., Scottsdale, Arizona, says that many of his clients have been asking him to install bocce courts. “In the last six months, I’ve done more residential courts than in the last year and a half,” he said. “A four-year-old and an 84-year-old can play this game, so it’s a great intergenerational activity.”

Bocce courts are generally 10 feet by 60 feet, and are installed on level ground. They require three layers of material, a drainage system, and usually come with a decorative material. The bottom two layers are usually stone, but the top coat can be anything from crushed oyster shells to sand to tennis clay to turf.

A few finishing touches, like benches, custom scoreboards or outdoor lighting, can really add to the ‘wow’ factor. According Missy Henriksen, spokeswoman for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, bocce courts are just part of a larger trend in outdoor living. “The uptick in queries for contractors goes along with a general trend we’ve noticed, of people personalizing their outdoor spaces.”