A rusty basketball hoop in the backyard

Cleaning an Abandoned Outdoor Sports Area: What to Do

Outdoor sports areas at home often go unused for long periods, according to research. A study by the University of Utah found that “backyards are used for play less than 25 percent of the time” and that “only about 5 percent of children aged 2 to 5 years use backyards on a typical day.” The research also found that “the use of yards for physical activity decreases markedly as children get older.” This could be due to several factors, such as increased screen time or a lack of accessible equipment in backyard spaces.

Unfortunately, keeping an outdoor sports area clean might be easier if used more often. If a site is left unattended for too long, it can become a breeding ground for pests, overgrown with weeds, or littered with debris. The results can be an eyesore, with structures like the basketball hoop and the soccer post gathering dust and rust.

But all is not lost. With some elbow grease and planning, you can clean up an abandoned outdoor sports area and make it usable again. Here are some tips on how to do it.

General Cleaning

Start by doing a general cleaning of the area. This might involve power washing concrete surfaces, sweeping leaves and debris, and removing litter. If there are broken pieces of equipment, like a cracked basketball hoop or a torn trampoline, now is the time to get rid of them.

Unfortunately, large debris can become a hiding spot for pests if it’s not removed. So, it’s essential to clear the area of any potential hiding places for animals or insects.

After the initial cleaning, you should create a regular maintenance schedule to keep the area clean. This might involve weekly sweepings and monthly power washings. Doing this will help prevent the build-up of dirt, debris, and pests.

Weeding and Fertilizing

Removing weeds from outdoor area

If the outdoor sports area is overgrown with weeds, you’ll need to remove them before using the space again. The best way to do this is to pull them by hand or use a weed whacker.

Once the weeds are gone, you should add fresh mulch or bark dust. This will help prevent new weeds and give the area a clean look.

You should also fertilize the grass in the outdoor sports area. This will help it regain its strength and vitality. Use a fertilizer designed for sports fields or lawns.

Repairing Structures

If there are broken structures in the outdoor sports area, like a fence or a gate, you’ll need to repair them before using the space again. You might be able to do this yourself, or you might need to hire a professional. You can also use sandblasting services to remove rust from metal surfaces.

Once the repairs are made, you should inspect the structures regularly to ensure they stay in good condition.

In some cases, it might be more cost-effective to replace the broken structure rather than repair it. For instance, if the basketball hoop is old and rusty, it might be better to buy a new one.

Once the outdoor sports area is cleaned and repaired, you can add new equipment. This might include a basketball hoop, a soccer goal, or a trampoline. You can also add lawn games like croquet or cornhole.

You can find used equipment at yard sales or online if you’re on a budget. You can also check with your local recreation center or school district to see if they have any surplus equipment they’re looking to remove.

Enclosing the Area

If the outdoor sports area is not enclosed, consider doing this. An enclosure will help keep the site clean and prevent animals and insects from getting in.

There are several options for enclosing an outdoor sports area. You can install a chain-link fence, a wood fence, or a privacy screen.

Consider installing a gate. This will allow you to control who has access to the area. If you have small children, you should install a child-proof lock on the gate.

Adding Lighting

You should consider adding lighting if the outdoor sports area needs to be better lit. This will make the space more usable at night and will also help deter criminals.

There are several options for lighting an outdoor sports area. You can install floodlights, solar lights, or LED lights.

It would be best if you also considered adding reflective tape to the area’s perimeter. This will make it more visible at night and will help people see where the boundaries are.


Cleaning an abandoned outdoor sports area can be a daunting task. However, by following these tips, you can get the area clean and ready for use again. It would be best to clean, remove debris, and repair broken structures. Then, you can add new equipment, enclose the space, and add lighting. With some effort, you can turn an abandoned outdoor sports area into a safe and enjoyable space for everyone.

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