Field Dimensions Guide

Finish & Surface Grade

No other portion of a ballfield construction or renovation project has more impact on the success of your facility than the finish grade and the resulting surface drainage pattern. Water percolates very slowly through native soil fields and on infield skin areas. Positive surface drainage is the fastest way to drain these areas. Only a sand-based field can meet or exceed the speed of water moving off a field by surface drainage. When properly designed and graded, positive surface drainage can speed availability of fields after a rain and make field prep a breeze.

Find the right contractor.

Always employ an experienced and qualified sports field contractor who will use the correct equipment to get your expected results. Make sure they:

  • have a portfolio of installations/renovations from the last 2-3 years of natural baseball-softball surfaces, and a list of references.
  • work with conical and/or single/dual slope laser-guided grading equipment to achieve the appropriate grade.
  • ensure proper and full incorporation of any material added.
  • add or remove material as needed in order to meet specified grade.
  • achieve finish grade tolerances of + or – 1⁄4″ or better, and allow confirmation before moving to next step.

Finish grade recommendations.

Grading new construction ballfields are usually easier because you are starting with a clean slate over the entire field. When renovating an existing field, the challenge greatly increases. You will likely have to merge with existing grades at some point. Never grade a ballfield so that it is perfectly flat. All fields — even the best draining sand-based fields — should have some slope to move water across the surface, especially after heavy rains. The following recommendations are applicable for both fully skinned or grassed infields. Recommended slope will depend on whether a field is native soil or sand based, the level of play, and the drainage pattern chosen.