Tennis Courts

​We at G & H Lillico realise that there are many options to consider when choosing a company to build your tennis court.

We will be able to advise you on the right court or surface which will best meet your needs and will be best suited to site available.

​We at G & H Lillico realise that there are many options to consider when choosing a company to build your tennis court.  We will be able to advise you on the right court or surface which will best meet your needs and will be best suited to site available.

We offer a number of surface types for the construction of your court including a synthetic grass surface, synthetic clay and porous Macadam. Each surface offers a different level of performance and this can be matched to the type of facility and its use. 

Which Surface?

For tennis clubs building or re-surfacing outdoor courts, the choice of surface can look complicated.  The following information may help you to decide.

Of the various factors affecting the final decision, the different playing characteristics of the surfaces are, all too often not top of the list.  Cost is frequently the deciding factor from the outset of a project.  The question of whether courts should be porous or non-porous is usually answered by the British climate, and it is low maintenance surfaces that are in demand.  Unfortunately, no-one has yet invented an inexpensive, porous non-maintenance, long-lasting court which will satisfy everyone from beginner to top player.  There can be no doubt that the traditional surfaces of grass and shale are on the decline.  Many clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain these courts to a high standard and there is an ever-increasing demand for play twelve months of the year.

Court construction companies were experimenting with alternative surfaces as far back as the 1920s, but nothing emerged which could compete with the success at the time of the red shale court.  The 1930s saw the development of a gritted, bitumen-bound surface, which is commonly known as the “grey-green” court, and which was supposedly non-maintenance.  Although it is still seen today this type of surface is not recommended for intensive club use as it can lose its porosity in as little as three years.

“Playmat” a modified form of the macadam surface, introduced in the mid-70s  has become particularly prevalent.  The essential modification was the incorporation of various additives into the macadam mixture which produced a surface with greater resistance to softening in warm weather.  This method of construction allows the surface to be painted much more quickly, usually after two or three weeks.

The 1980s saw the introduction and steady growth in the popularity of artificial grass tennis surfaces, the majority being of the sand-filled variety.  As with most new products these courts had initial problems, but as experience and knowledge grew many of the problems were overcome.  Despite the uncertainties, artificial grass courts have been chosen at many clubs across the country, and the general reaction of the players was very favourable.

Alongside these main surfaces, other types have been introduced in Britain but have not become well established for one reason or another.

Notes on Court Surfaces

The Red Shale Court

A popular loose surface court constructed of crushed rock, gravel, shale or brick.  The surface is comfortable to play on, drains well, but needs regular maintenance such as dragging, watering and rolling.  Given the proper attention the red shale court has a long life.  In spite of an impression to the contrary, supplies of shale would appear to be adequate for current and long term needs.

The Gritted Bituminous Surface – “Grey-Green”

This court is similar to macadam except that with the loose surface one obtains a measure of slide.  The amount of surface dressing varies with manufacturers from a light dust to a fairly heavy sprinkling of green or grey grit.  They are not recommended for club use because porosity can be lost in 3 to 5 years or less.  However, they are suitable for the private user which could reasonably expect a life in excess of 10 years.

The Porous Macadam Surface

The macadam surface is laid on foundations constructed of hard, frost resistant materials.  Existing hard courts can be resurfaced by the laying of a new wearing course of macadam, although the degree of preparation work required will depend on the condition of the existing surface.  The macadam surface is porous, frost resistant, hard wearing and will normally last for 10 -15years before resurfacing is necessary.
Most macadam courts are coloured with acrylic based paints containing slip reducing agents.  A range of colours are available, although red and green or two tone green are generally the most common combinations.  Click here to view the different options available by our main supplier Britannia Paints Ltd. 

Existing tennis courts in good condition can of course be improved simply by painting.  Depending on the amount of use courts should be repainted every 3 to 5 years.  Tennis court paint is spray applied to macadam surfaces, and being a skilled process it should only be carried out by specialists.  A badly painted surface may be very slippery and cannot be easily remedied.

The Artificial Grass Surface

There are a wide range of artificial grass surfaces available on the market, most being of the sand filled variety. These surfaces consist of green polypropylene tufted carpets which are infilled with specially graded sand, although the detailed specification may vary significantly.

Artificial grass tennis surfaces are usually laid on porous macadam sub bases and existing hard courts can be converted, although advice should be sought as to their suitability.  Artificial grass is a porous, virtually all weather surface which can  require a  regular maintenance programme most  of which can be done in house to keep your court in top playing condition .   A life of approximately 10-15 years can be anticipated.

Court Sizes

Below are the three main court sizes.

36.58 x 18.29 – International or full size
34.75 x 17.07 – LTA recommend minimum
33.53 x 16.48 – Large enough for average home players


Most optimum is NNW/SSE to avoid sun shining directly into players eyes.


The LTA recommend a court crossfall of not more that 1 in 150.  We recommend a maximum 12” fall from end to end and a maximum 6” across the court.


It is normal to have a perimeter drain to intercept water at the foot of a cut bank or more drainage can be installed if necessary.


Please see our fencing page for more information.


Need Tennis Courts?

Get in touch to find out more about our tennis courts and other services today

Get in Touch
I have now played on our resurfaced court and it completely lives up to our expectations.  It is very good to play on and the drainage system is proving to be wholly effective with no puddles lying on the court after considerable rain.  Very many thanks to you and your team for doing such an excellent job.

James C A Burnett of Leys, House of Crathes

We still can’t believe the amazing transformation that you have all brought about and equally important and appreciated, the way that you have all been so willing to keep going through some dreary weather and the various things that come up that have needed thinking about and solving.  All of you have been terrific and your good spirits and cheerfulness has made such a difference and we will always remember and be grateful for what you have created here.

Mr & Mrs Petrie, Alnwick

Mr G Lillico and his team are very experienced in this particular type of work.  We found them to be most helpful, particularly when any problems were encountered.  In an organisation such as ours keeping costs to an absolute minimum is vitally important; their experience helped us achieve this goal, without impinging on the quality of the finished job. I have no hesitation in recommending them for consideration of any work of a similar nature.  They are a very sound, well led company.

Boldon Lawn Tennis Club, Boldon

We found that they approached the project professionally, giving help and guidance during the planning process, and they continued to be most helpful in offering advice if we have needed it, subsequent to completion.  We are completely satisfied with the work carried out, which was completed within the projected timescale.  It has proved to be an outstanding facility which has been continuously in use since completion.

Rothbury Recreation Club, Rothbury

Just a line or two to thank you for our new sixth tennis court.  We had an excellent opening day of the season which the new court was officially opened by our club president.  All members were very pleased with the court which I am sure will be an excellent asset to the club for the foreseeable future.  I would like to add my personal thanks to Kenneth and his team for the efficient and trouble free manner that brought the court to completion as promised for the start of the season.

York Tennis Club, York

Our Club first used the services of G & H Lillico, Tennis Court Constructors in 2004 when it built its new three court porous macadam facility in Poynder Place. We considered many options but felt that the Company’s many years of experience in this type of work and the competitive cost of the work was best suited to our needs. What a fine decision that turned out to be as the pre- construction advice was first class and the workmanship quick, efficient and of good quality. The post-construction follow up advice and service was also exemplary.

Kelso Orchard Tennis Club, Kelso

Mr Lillico has put in several courts of various surfaces over the years for my family and I  and recently resurfaced an old tarmac court as well.  George and his team have worked quickly and efficiently, left no mess and the finished products have all been excellent and given many years of play with no problems.

​James Percy, Alnwick Castle

G and H Lillico have constructed two tennis courts for me in the last ten years.  Both Courts were in prominent locations within the grounds of a grade one and a grade two listed building.  I cannot speak more highly of the quality, value for money and responsiveness of the Lillico family business team . 

​Peter Cussin, Northumberland

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