Installing an in-ground basketball hoop always seems more daunting than it really is. To help relieve these fears, we’ll start by learning how to dig a hole for a basketball pole. This is actually a simple process, you just need to follow the instructions.
For a start, you need to check if the weather conditions are fine, choose an appropriate spot, check for the underground pipes, and get the right tools for the job.
The general guidelines for digging a hole would be to dig a 30” squareish or round hole 8” deeper than the frost depth. With the end goal to have a round column that extends to the frost depth then flares out. Having it flare below the frost is an excellent solution to protect the base from heaving.
Your anchor is properly installed (at the correct depth) when you ensured that it is below the frost line and there is sufficient concrete weight to offset the weight of the basketball hoop.
In this article we’ll also talk about pouring the concrete, handling the potential lighting, digging below the frost and problems you could experience during this process.
Remember, if you can do this, it should all be downhill from there. Now let’s take a look at the five steps you need to do to dig a hole for a basketball pole.
Step 1 – Choosing a location
The first step should be easy. You need to choose the future spot for your basketball hoop. To do that, start with ensuring that it’s located next to and leveled with the playing surface.
Assure that the playing area is clear of any obstacles. The backyard and driveway work well. The pole needs to be far enough from windows and cars to avoid any inconvenience.
In the best case scenario, your playing area should be at least 10 feet wide so that the adults have enough amble space. If you want to mark a three-point line, it’s 23 feet 9 inches from the rim.
Just find the best solution that you can, it doesn’t have to be perfect. After you solved this, the real work can begin.
Also, check these things before starting to dig
Digging the hole means definitely deciding where your in-ground basketball hoop is going to be. That’s why you need to ask some questions to yourself and see if the conditions for digging the hole are good to get started.
Consider the following:
• Underground utilities: Are there could be gas/water pipes in the ground that you might accidentally strike? Call 811 to check.
• Playing area surface: You need a suitable surface for playing basketball – smooth but hard. Something like concrete.
• Playing area size: Will there be enough room to play without any worries for injuries?
• Playing area availability: Will there be cars parked occasionally? Or more often?
• Backboard misses: We already mentioned windows, but there’s also a danger of ball going over the fence.
• Ground markings: If you thought about painting the playing area, is your surface suitable for it?
Step 2 – Making sure that the weather condition is appropriate for digging
Since the quick concrete doesn’t have the same composition as the concrete used on streets, it’s important to watch out from rain or snow. In cold months, quick concrete seems to freeze and chip, developing a greenish color and becoming too weak to support the hoop.
The perfect timing for digging and installation would be with the daytime temperature around 39 degrees. Don’t dig or install basketball anchor and pole if the daytime temperature goes below freezing point. Also, don’t do it if it rained 5 hours before the cement pour.
In wet areas, you’ll often see pits on the concrete, developed with the help of rain. Basically, rain gathers at the lower portion of the hole, which weakens the concrete causing intensified ”aging” of the hoop.
Step 3 – Getting the right tools
– 80 lb. bags of concrete (11-12)
– Post hole digger (1)
– Wheelbarrow (1)
– Concrete form (1)
– Level (1)
– Tape measure (1)
– Garden hose (1)
Step 4 – Digging the hole
There’s a so-called rule-of-thumb that implies that ¼ of the poles length must be in underground and that the hole should be three times wider. Shorting the depth means increasing the width.
Dimensions of the hole should be provided by the manufacturer of your in-ground basketball hoop. Although, there’s not much difference between them. Spalding, Pro Dunk, and Hercules recommend digging a 48” deep and 24′ square hole.
Following the instruction manual, make an outline using wood planks, attaching it using screws or glue. A square hole will give basketball goal and driveway more official look.
Don’t forget to check if the ground is level with your playing area before digging the hole for basketball pole. The internal dimensions of your square need to match the recommended width and length given in the manufacturer’s manual.
Then dig a few inches deep hole that matches your wooden outline. Place the shape in the ground, so that’s it’s flush with court baseline. The wood should be parallel to the surface, make sure it’s perfectly positioned.
Finally, you can dig the hole down to the recommended depth. Ensure that the sides match the wooden piece you’ve laid down. You can eventually bell out the bottom of the hole 26” to give extra stability to the footing. If the frost line in your city is below 48” it is best to dig to the standard frost line.
Step 5 – Mixing the concrete
A large number of basketball hoops has a rebar-mounted anchor which you push into the concrete after it you poured it into the hole. If this is the case with your hoop, mix up your concrete and fill the hole up to surface level.
Use shovel to agitate it every ten seconds or so to fill any voids. When you fill up the hole, place the rebar into the concrete. Ensure it’s approximately in the middle of the square.
What do we recommend?
We recommend buying 11-12 bags of Quikrete concrete mix. This concrete follows the ASTM C387 Standard Specifications for concrete.
While the guidelines state you only need 11 bags, it’s a good idea to have an extra bag or two on hand in the process if the installation gets a little messy. If you’re not familiar with it, the concrete mix can be difficult to move, and you can easily tear a bag.
How to mix?
If you collected all the materials, open a few bags and pour them into a container. Start adding water following the instructions. For an 80 lb. bag, you’ll need 6 pints or 2.8L of water, and for a 60 pound. bag, the appropriate amount is 4 pints or 1.9 L per bag of concrete.
Next thing you’ll do is to create a depression in the dry mix so that you can pour water here. Take hoe or something similar and consistently mix. What you should get is wet, but solid concrete with the solid-like shape.
If it’s too hot outside, you might want to add more water, as it can evaporate quickly. Remember to keep the mix moving. Repeat this until you have a needed amount of concrete.
That’s it guys, the five best ways to dig a hole for basketball pole. Now you just need to finish installing the hoop, and you’re ready to rumble.
Seriously, this is really not that hard, you just need to take time and follow the step-by-step process. We hope we made it somehow more manageable for you with this article. For more on hoops, stay tuned to Improve Hoops.