Ready to become the talk of the town? You’ll impress neighbors and make new friends by joining in the pickleball craze — with a bespoke backyard court, that is. Hungry to replace country club visits and destination adventures in recent years, we’ve been clamoring for creative ways to bring our favored modes of recreation home. Today, these 3 experiential amenities are the new gold standard for homeowners intent on weaving pleasure into their everyday lives. Play on.
Pickleball is the rapidly rising favorite of America’s elite, who are addicted to the game’s low-key combination of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong. Famous fanatics like Brené Brown, Leonardo DiCaprio and even the Kardashians regularly partake, while others have opted to bring the fun to their own backyard. Rumor has it the Bush family has an at-home pickleball court, as do Washington power couple Greta Van Susteren and John Coale.
What makes the sport so appealing? For starters, you don’t need any equipment besides a ball, paddles and some motivation. And because the court is a petite 20 by 44 feet, no intense sprinting is required. The close proximity between players means games can be more social without intense physical strain or technical know-how. Backyard courts let you get in on the game while maximizing real estate value, hence why construction firms have seen a growing request for the recreation design element du jour.
For the leisure player more interested in documenting for Instagram than achieving athletic excellence, brands from Anthropologie to Maisonette are ready to equip you with ultra sleek accessories, like lightweight honeycomb polymer paddles in gold ombre or white marble. Once you’ve tried your hand at this addictive sport, don’t be surprised if you find yourself plotting out the ideal spot for a court of your own.
In lieu of travel to faraway cliffs or even local rock-climbing gyms, amateurs and rock ninjas alike have been transforming garages, rec rooms and even bedrooms into personal bouldering zones. The adrenaline-boosting, cardio-strengthening blast of rock climbing has long attracted celebrity devotees from Jimmy Chin to Jason Momoa. The newfound luxury — and thrill — of scaling your own walls, however, has brought renewed attention to the sport.
Gone are the days of the clunky eyesore that was the nineties-era rock wall. Instead, architects and builders are crafting installations that double as both exercise equipment and high art. Avant-garde sustainable fashion designer Nicole McLaughlin’s 10-foot wall, designed by Utah-based Grasshopper, “operates as both an unconventional art piece and a part-time stress reliever,” letting her clear her mind and chase a quick sweat. The company’s state-of-the-art adjustable walls use a hydraulic pulley system to shift angles for constant challenge, with an elegant sculptural design that blends seamlessly into a small-scale environment.
Families with children will dig California designer Regan Baker’s 8.5-foot wall situated in a Menlo Park abode. It boasts brightly colored handholds that can be rearranged for different difficulty levels or adjusted to match interior color schemes. For those wanting to get out of the house, perhaps the answer is actually to consider going up.
Take one look at the luxury estates hitting the global market, and you’ll notice a common trend. Nestled in between the alfresco sport courts, conversation fire pits and pro-level pizza ovens is the cocktail pool, a combination spa/pool that can function as either an oversize Jacuzzi or a miniature lap pool, typically clocking in around 12 by 14 feet.
Enviable features include jets, heaters, benches, wave makers, cascading waterfalls and even solar-heating panels for a sustainable edge. HGTV personality Tarek El Moussa and Selling Sunset star Heather Rae El Moussa note that their “spool” (spa plus pool — another common nickname) lets them heat things up to hot-tub temperature for the kids and, when combined with powerful directional jets, also stands in as a lap pool for aerobic exercise. For those seeking to maximize time, space and elegance, cocktail pools are truly a game changer.