Build It and They Will Come

Having your own pickleball court is a dream for some picklers! I checked in with Sylvie Beauregard who spent this last year making her "pickleball" dream a reality. In this article, she'll share how it all came about along with the resources she found particularly helpful. This "pickleball house" in Paso Robles has rooms available for visitors, and Picklebilly guests can stay for 50% off. Look for the info at the end of the article.

1.   You now have a lovely pickleball court in your backyard.  How did it all happen?

It all started with a dream of not only having our own private pickleball court but also having a place where our friends would gather to play, stay for a drink… and a meal… maybe even spend the night.

My boyfriend Gary and I discovered the game of pickleball Memorial weekend 2014. We have been hooked ever since. We also both enjoy spontaneous entertaining, the kind that requires little planning, just an open door mentality…

So in 2018-2019, we went on a quest for a property that would have a usable yard big enough for a pickleball court but yet not too far out of town. Most properties on acreage tend to be in the countryside so we knew it would be a challenge. It also needed to be big enough but yet not too close to neighbors who might not enjoy the “pok-pok” noise of pickleball. We found a house that was bordering the freeway and backing to a commercial lot. Bingo! Located less than three miles from downtown Paso Robles, the property was on the market for nine months, largely seen as undesirable because of the noise from the freeway. But to us, it was perfect.

2. Can you describe the process of having the court built?

Our due diligence work started by visiting other homeowners in the area who had gone through the process (which in our locality was two). Pinterest was not much help as very few examples of home courts could be found. However, the site has a 140-page guide you can download for a fee that gave us a good road map. The orientation, the slope, the surface (concrete or asphalt), net, fencing, lighting, etc, were all things we had to consider.

My landscaper recommended a concrete guy who turned out to be the perfect fit for the job. He had never done a pickleball court or even heard of pickleball but he possessed unparalleled attention to details which went splendidly with my “perfectionist” personality! He was also solution-oriented and came up with a brilliant drainage system adapted to the yard topography. The work started September 5th, 2019 and the slab was poured approximately three weeks later.

We had to wait another five weeks or so before completing the final surface. All in all, nine layers of cleaning, etching, cushion master, and paint were applied. I could hardly breathe during the final application of colors. For one, I picked colors that were very controversial. I wanted the “kitchen” to be yellow and the court blue to match the ceramic tiles on the existing pizza oven. “I know, I know the yellow might be a little bright” I argued, ”but it will match the Mediterranean style of the house perfectly!”. To this day, wearing sunglasses is recommended and the use of lime or pink color balls is ideal. And second, I really wanted all the measurements to be exact. Did I mention I’m a perfectionist?

3. What were some of the challenges you encountered?

At that point, we started playing on our beautiful court but without a fence and windscreens, it was really frustrating. Also, winter was knocking at our door. It got cold and rainy. So it took a few more weeks, if not months, to complete the fence and windscreen, the large pergola, the fountain, the spa, and the landscaping.

When we started the project, we knew we would enjoy having a private pickleball court in our backyard. But we never could have imagined how popular we could have become when the Coronavirus pandemic hit and all public courts closed. The “yellow kitchen” court was the sunshine of our lives when sheltering in place was otherwise forcing everyone through pickleball withdrawal.

We continued to play on a regular basis in small groups of four making hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes available. We worked out an informal scheduling system between Gary and me, allowing foursomes to come and play when the court was not in use by both of us. Because evening play was also possible, we had at least two groups a day playing. Literally, the “yellow kitchen” court became our salvation.

However, having a “ready” court available in our backyard can also lead to abuse on our bodies. Both Gary and I are purposely pacing ourselves. It is one thing to be “tournament ready” but it’s a fine line to remain injury-free and healthy. We are also still very much aware of the threat of the virus. We will wait patiently for the official guidance from USAPA to resume competitive/tournament play.

4. How does the pickleball house fit with the mission of Picklebilly?

Since May 2019, the property is also home of Salut Bonjour Lodging, two guests bedrooms that can be found on Airbnb under Follow us on Instagram @thepickleballhouse aka #theyellowkitchen court #stayandplay.

We love having guests that come for the purpose of playing pickleball while visiting the wine country of Paso Robles. We offer a 50% discount to Picklebilly travelers; contact Sylvie directly @ 805-712-4278.

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