Bringing the fun of a basketball hoop to your driveway is a rewarding experience, but one that can seem overwhelming if you do not know what you are doing. Instructions that come with the unit are often wordy and intimidating, but this should not hold you back from completing your mission. The truth of the matter is regardless of what brand you are installing, there is a basic framework that all models follow to function seamlessly.
Know Your Surface Area
Erecting your hoop is an exciting time, but it is essential not to put the cart before the horse and be well versed in the area with which you wish to dig. Your utility companies should always be notified before you disturb the ground, as lines may be running underneath that you can potentially adversely affect by your installation. A simple telephone call will inform you of the proper safety measures that should be taken as well as spaces you should avoid at all costs. If your grounds have a line or more close to where you plan on digging for the hoop, mark them using lawn flags to keep you abreast during the process.
Although setting up your hoop is more or less painless, it is a good rule of thumb to be prepared as it pertains to supplies so it does not turn into a bigger job than it needs to. Not being ready can also become an endless money pit, so have all the resources you require from the beginning instead of gathering them during the process. Having a few extra bags of concrete in particular is wise, in case you make a mistake and have to reset it. A few of the more essential tools recommended include:
- Post Hole Digger
- Tape Measure
- Open End Wrench
- Socket and Ratchet
- Garden Hose
- Wheel Barrow
Depending on the brand you are putting in your driveway, a few steps may vary, but ultimately most follow a similar system to ensure that installation is completed to perfection. Using the post hole digger, pull the ground up at least 2 feet deep. If the hoop you have uses a pole instead of a base, this depth can sometimes be less, and is typically indicated with a ‘bury line’ displayed on the pole itself. The difference between a standard pole and base is that the pole variety is just the piece of metal with minimal washers and connectors, if any. A base, on the other hand, brings nuts and bolts into the fold.
Before you even penetrate the ground, be mindful of overhang. Because a hoop extends outward instead of going straight up, it is a good rule of thumb to dig at least a foot from the edge of the pavement. All dimensions should be calculated with a tape measure, as basketball is a game that relies on a level foundation and rim. Eyeballing any measurements can cause improper installation, which will not only negatively affect a shooter’s shot, but induce massive reverberation when the ball hits the backboard. Inaccuracies will result in an unpleasant playing experience.
Next, you are going to want to have a frame for your anchor system. The anchor system, as the name suggests, is the base of the basketball hoop that will be solidified with concrete. A frame 20 inches in diameter in both directions can be easily created using 2×4’s drilled together. Once the 2×4’s are parallel to the court, mix some concrete by placing it in a wheel barrow and adding water. The cement is ready to pour when its consistency resembles a solid paste. When dumping the concrete into the hole, routinely shift it around with a shovel to guarantee there are no empty pockets. A trowel should be used when the pit is full to even out the concrete on top.
Once you have established a smooth surface, penetrate the concrete with the anchor plate while it is still wet. Upon being pushed all the way down, use your level to properly align it. It cannot be stressed enough that this step should not be skipped, as doing so will cause the hoop to tilt. If you are installing a brand that uses a pole instead of an anchor plate, rest the level on its top to confirm it is even. Before proceeding, the cement should rest between 48-72 hours so that it does not crack and the base is durable and strong.
Securing The Hoop
It is highly encouraged that more than one person locks the hoop onto the base, as the task can be especially cumbersome alone. The hoop should attach itself to its home with either a wrench or socket and ratchet. One would be remiss not to mention that it is advisable to avoid the temptation to over-tighten the screws. This is especially prudent if you are required to attach the backboard to the pole because it serves as a pivot point. Pivot points are beneficial because they minimize vibration when the ball makes contact with the rim.
Installing On Uneven Ground
Driveway basketball hoop placement is twice as important if the ground you are using is on an incline. To avoid this potential pitfall affecting game play, it is prudent that you incorporate a larger overhang during installation. The thought behind this action is that it limits the slope to the best of your ability. You can also circumvent this issue by obtaining a model that offers adjustable height. A more versatile structure is recommended to provide you more autonomy in its placement. Erecting a basketball hoop on slopped driveway does not mean that it cannot provide an accurate court. Establish a ‘free throw line’ and level the hoop from this point. A regulation free throw line is 15 feet from the backboard. In doing so, a player’s shot will not be altered, regardless of how steep the surface is.
With a few simple tools and a bit of dedicated work, a flawlessly aligned hoop can complete your driveway in the matter of just a couple of days.