For International competition and National Championships the minimum dimensions of a single lane is 15M x 4M with a dead boule line a metre from any barriers (see diagram above), so for one full size lane in your garden you will need an area 17m x 6m if the playing area is surrounded by a brick wall or timber sleeper. However, these dimensions are frequently altered for club and leisure situations to take account of limited space available. Many club terrains are built to have the minimum allowed lanes or 12m x 3m.


Pétanque may be played on any surface but grass  is not recommended, gravel or hard earth is the favoured surface.
In the UK we try to recreate the dusty village squares or areas where Pétanque is played in France, however we tend to have a wetter climate so it is for this reason we construct areas similar to our gravel driveways so we can play when the weather is inclement.

To construct a pétanque terrain that is satisfactory to play on in all seasons it is first necessary to select a reasonably well drained area.

The topsoil should be removed to a depth of 6-8 inches (150 - 200 mm) and a layer of hard-core, brick rubble, stone etc. laid in the bottom.  This should be compacted down to approx. 4 inches (100 mm) thick using a vibrating compactor which can easily be hired. The area can now be filled with crushed quarry stone 1 1/2 inches (12.7mm) down to dust all in. This is known as type 1 sub base or scalping. A heavy roller or vibrating compactor over this will provide a hard firm surface. However, if played on at this stage the large stones will come to the surface. The area will need subsequent rolling and watering to settle the stones down.

A solid surround of some sort is usual to a playing area to prevent boules that are out of play rolling considerable distances or causing injury. A wide variety of items are used for this purpose, most commonly, old railway sleepers, planks, old kerb stones, old telegraph poles. 4" (100mm) x 2" (50mm) timber etc. Depending on the size of the edging available it can be incorporated at any stage after digging to leave 4-6 inches (100 - 150 cm) above the finished playing area.

Once the material has been very well compacted a thin layer of quarry dust 1/4 inch (6mm) to dust should be spread over the area and rolled.

The overall surface should not be "Billiard Table " level or smooth as this is Pétanque not Bowls. During play a certain amount of thought should be needed to cope with the odd small irregularities in the surface.

Common Construction Mistakes
The most common mistake made by people building a terrain is to put far to much topping on it. This can make playing easier but shooting will be difficult as the pointed boule dig in.


 - International Umpire (FIPJP, BPUB)


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