Title:
OUTDOOR SPORTS FLOOR SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An outdoor game court may include a porous sports floor. The sports floor may be configured to allow water to flow through the sports floor to the ground below. The sports floor may also be configured to be easily removed. Thus, the game court may be installed in areas where conventional game courts would not be allowed.



Inventors:
Kotler, Daniel (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/613899
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
12/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SINGH, SUNIL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Holland & Hart LLP (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Claims:
1. An outdoor sports floor comprising: a playing surface, the playing surface comprising a plurality of tiles coupled together; a layer of synthetic separation material positioned under the playing surface, the synthetic separation material being water permeable; wherein the synthetic separation material includes a plastic fabric material; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to travel from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor.

2. (canceled)

3. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 wherein the playing surface is made at least in part of plastic.

4. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 wherein the playing surface includes a repeating pattern of holes to allow the water to pass through the playing surface.

5. (canceled)

6. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 wherein the layer of synthetic separation material is positioned in contact with the natural soil.

7. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 wherein the layer of synthetic separation material is a first layer of synthetic separation material, and wherein the outdoor sports floor comprises a second layer of synthetic separation material positioned under the playing surface.

8. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 comprising a layer of fill material positioned between the playing surface and the layer of synthetic separation material.

9. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 wherein the layer of synthetic separation material is a first layer of synthetic separation material, and wherein the outdoor sports floor comprises a layer of fill material positioned between the first layer of synthetic separation material and a second layer of synthetic separation material.

10. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 comprising a plurality of support panels positioned between the playing surface and the layer of synthetic separation material, the layer of support panels being configured to support the playing surface.

11. The outdoor sports floor of claim 1 wherein the playing surface includes a plurality of interlocking tiles coupled together and the layer of synthetic separation material is a first layer of synthetic separation material, and wherein the outdoor sports floor comprises a second layer of synthetic separation material; a layer of fill material positioned between the first layer of synthetic separation material and the second layer of synthetic separation material; a plurality of support panels positioned to support the plurality of interlocking files, the plurality of support panels being positioned between the plurality of interlocking tiles and the second layer of synthetic separation material.

12. An outdoor sports floor comprising: a playing surface, the playing surface comprising a plurality of tiles coupled together; a plurality of support panels positioned under the playing surface, the plurality of support panels being configured to support the playing surface; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to travel from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor.

13. (canceled)

14. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 wherein the playing surface is made at least in part of plastic.

15. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 wherein the playing surface includes a repeating pattern of holes to allow the water to pass through the playing surface.

16. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 wherein the plurality of support panels are spaced apart from each other to allow the water to flow between the plurality of support panels.

17. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 wherein the plurality of support panels are porous to allow the water to flow through each one of the plurality of support panels.

18. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 wherein the plurality of support panels are made at least in part of plastic.

19. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 comprising a layer of fill material positioned between the plurality of support panels and the natural soil.

20. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 comprising a layer of synthetic separation material positioned between the plurality of support panels and the natural soil.

21. A method of making an outdoor sports floor, the method comprising: placing synthetic separation material over a piece of ground, the synthetic separation material being water permeable, wherein the synthetic separation material includes a plastic fabric material; placing a playing surface over the synthetic separation material, wherein placing the playing surface over the synthetic separation material includes coupling a plurality of tiles together to form the playing the surface; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to travel from the playing surface to the piece of ground beneath the outdoor sports floor.

22. The method of claim 21 comprising placing fill material over the synthetic separation material, the fill material being positioned between the synthetic separation material and the playing surface.

23. The method of claim 21 comprising placing a plurality of support panels over the synthetic separation material, the plurality of support panels being positioned between the synthetic separation material and the playing surface.

24. (canceled)

25. The outdoor sports floor of claim 12 wherein the plurality of support panels are made at least in part of a rigid support material.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The popularity of outdoor game courts has increased tremendously in the last few decades. They have been installed in public locations such as schools and parks as well as at private residences. Much of the recent growth in game court installations stems from homeowners installing them in their backyards. A game court allows residents to play a variety of sports without traveling to a gym or other sports complex. In addition, game courts may increase the value of a home.

Conventional game courts are often built on a concrete or asphalt foundation. Unfortunately, these materials have a number of serious drawbacks. Possibly the biggest concern is that they increase the amount of water runoff from the property. When water falls on uncovered ground, most, if not all, of the water is absorbed into the ground. It is usually beneficial to have the water enter the ground because it recharges underground aquifers and cleans the water. In contrast, runoff water travels along the surface of the ground and collects contaminants. Also, runoff water collects to form high volume flows that often cause significant erosion damage when they finally reach natural soil. In order to minimize runoff, many municipalities only allow a certain percentage of a lot to be covered with water impermeable materials such as concrete and asphalt. For this reason, these municipalities are hesitant or unwilling to allow game courts to be built that use concrete or asphalt as a foundation.

Concrete and asphalt also suffer from a number of other drawbacks. One drawback is that concrete and asphalt are fairly expensive. Also, once in place, concrete and asphalt cannot be easily removed. Another drawback is that over time concrete tends to crack and degrade while asphalt must be repeatedly sealed. Asphalt does not provide good structural support and may tend to sag and create an uneven surface. Although concrete provides better structural support, it can only be poured weather permitting, which is potentially limiting.

Attempts have been made in the past to provide an outdoor game court that overcomes some of these problems. One such court included plastic tiles positioned on top of aggregate fill that was on top of the natural soil. Although water was able to drain through the court to the ground, the surface of the court was not stable. Over time, portions of the aggregate fill settled to form depressions and uneven spots in the playing surface. Another attempt involved making a similar court except that a layer of tar paper was placed between the plastic tiles and the aggregate fill. This design, however, did not prevent the playing surface from becoming uneven over time and also had the added disadvantage of using tar paper which is not water permeable.

Due to the limitations of the previous game courts, it would be desirable to provide an improved game court that overcomes one or more of these disadvantages.

SUMMARY

A number of embodiments of outdoor sports floors are described herein that are designed to overcome one or more of the problems associated with conventional game court floors. For example, in one embodiment, the sports floor may be configured to allow water to travel downward through the sports floor to the natural soil below while still maintaining a stable playing surface that does not appreciably sag or sink over time. In another embodiment, the sports floors may be removed much easier and quicker than a conventional sports floor that has a concrete or asphalt foundation.

The sports floors may be installed in any suitable location such as a public park, school, commercial outdoor recreational area, backyard of a residence, and the like. The sports floors may be used to play sports such as basketball, paddle ball, tennis, roller hockey, soccer, volleyball, and the like. The size of the sports floor may be adjusted to provide the needed or desired playing surface. The sports floor may be part of a game court that includes outdoor lighting fixed at the top of one or more poles, nets or fences to prevent balls from leaving the game court, basketball standards, and the like.

In one embodiment, the outdoor sports floor includes a playing surface and a layer of synthetic separation material positioned under the playing surface. The playing surface may be formed from a plurality of tiles that are coupled together. The separation material may include a synthetic fabric material. A layer of aggregate fill may be positioned between the playing surface and the synthetic separation material. Another layer of synthetic separation material may be provided so that the layer of aggregate fill is positioned between the two layers of synthetic separation material.

In another embodiment, the outdoor sports floor includes a playing surface and a layer of rigid support material positioned under the playing the surface. The rigid support material is configured to support the playing surface. The rigid support material may include a plurality of support panels. The support panels may be made of any suitable material such as plastic, wood plastic composites (WPCs), and the like. A layer of aggregate fill may be provided under the rigid support material.

The foregoing and other features, utilities, and advantages of the sports floors described herein will be apparent from the following more particular description of certain embodiments as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an outdoor game court.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the sports floor of the outdoor game court from FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a game court or sports court 100 is shown. The game court 100 includes a sports floor 102 (alternatively referred to herein as a game floor, athletics floor, sports deck, or game deck), opposing basketball standards 104, a volleyball net 105, and lights 106. The sports floor 102 includes a playing surface 108 (alternatively referred to herein as a game surface or court surface) that has markings consistent with a basketball court. It should be appreciated, however, that the playing surface 108 may be sized and/or have markings to make it suitable for other sports such as tennis, roller hockey, soccer, volleyball, and the like. In addition, the playing surface 108 may include overlapping sets of markings so that the game court 100 can be used for multiple sports (e.g., basketball and volleyball, etc.). It should also be appreciated that the game court 100 may include a number of other components that are not shown such as perimeter netting to prevent balls from leaving the game court 100, roller hockey goal nets, and the like.

The game court 100 may be suitable for use in any outdoor setting. For example, the game court 100 may be installed at public locations such as parks and schools. The game court 100 may also be installed at private locations such as residences and private clubs. Unlike most conventional game courts, the game court 100 may be designed to be environmentally friendly. For example, the game court 100 may be configured to allow water to pass through the sports floor 102 to the ground 114 below (FIG. 2). The game court 100 may also be configured to be quickly and easily removed.

Turning to FIG. 2, a cross-sectional view of the sports floor 102 is shown. The sports floor 102 is designed to be porous and thus allow water to flow through it while at the same time being stable and sturdy to prevent the playing surface 108 from becoming uneven. The sports floor 102 includes a perimeter wall or edge 110, a first layer of synthetic separation material 112 (alternatively referred to herein as ground cover material or stabilization material) positioned on the ground 114, a layer of fill material 116 positioned on the synthetic separation material 112, a second layer of synthetic separation material 117 (alternatively referred to herein as ground cover material or stabilization material) positioned on the fill material 116, a plurality of rigid support panels 118 positioned on the second layer of synthetic separation material 117, and a plurality of tiles 120 positioned on top of the rigid support panels 118 to form the playing surface 108.

The perimeter wall 110 serves as a barrier between the natural landscape (e.g., grass, natural soil) and the sports floor 102. In most situations, the perimeter wall 110 is configured to extend all of the way around the perimeter of the sports floor 102. However, there may be instances when the perimeter wall 110 extends only part of the way around the perimeter of the sports floor 102. For example, if one side of the sports floor 102 is bordered by a driveway, bedrock, or other stable barrier, then the perimeter wall 110 may not be needed on that side. The perimeter wall 110 may be made of weather-treated wood or of another weather resistant material such as plastic (solid or foamed), WPC, metal (e.g., stainless steel, aluminum, and the like), fiberglass, and the like.

The synthetic separation material 112 may serve a number of purposes. The synthetic separation material 112 may be positioned over the ground 114 to separate the ground 114 and the fill material 116. It may act as a stabilization material by preventing the fill material 116 from sinking into the natural soil 114 and creating uneven spots in the playing surface 108. The synthetic separation material 112 may also prevent plant growth and facilitate drainage of the water into the natural soil 114.

The synthetic separation material 117 may serve a similar purpose to the synthetic separation material 112. The synthetic separation material 117 may be positioned over the fill material 116 to separate the fill material 116 and the support panels 118. It may act as a stabilization material by preventing the support panels 118 from sinking into the fill material 116 and creating uneven spots in the playing surface 108. The synthetic separation material 117 may also prevent plants from sprouting in the fill material 116.

The synthetic separation materials 112, 117 may be made from any suitable material. It should be noted that the term synthetic refers to materials that are made or produced by humans (i.e., non-naturally occurring materials). For example, synthetic materials include, but are not limited to, plastics, non-naturally occurring metal objects, composites, and mixtures of synthetic materials and non-synthetic materials (e.g., WPCs). Materials such as wood, stone, and the like would not be considered synthetic. In one embodiment, the synthetic separation materials 112, 117 may be made from plastic (e.g., a polyalkylene material such as polypropylene). In another embodiment, the synthetic separation materials 112, 117 may be porous to allow water to pass through to the ground 114. They may also be a woven material or a sheet with holes in it. The holes in the synthetic separation materials 112, 117 may be any suitable size although it is desirable for the holes to be sized to allow the synthetic separation materials 112, 117 to act as an effective barrier between the fill material 116 and the natural soil 114. It should be appreciated that the same material may be used for both of the synthetic separation materials 112, 117. Alternatively, they each may use different materials. Examples of suitable materials may include plastic fabric materials such as landscape fabric or driveway fabric.

The synthetic separation material 117 positioned on top of the layer of fill material 116 provides a stable foundation for the playing surface 108. The fill material 116 absorbs water that falls on the playing surface 108 and travels through the synthetic separation material 117. The thickness of the layer of fill material 116 can be adjusted depending on the amount of water that it needs to absorb and the stability of the ground 114. The less stable the ground 114, the more fill material 116 may be needed.

Any suitable fill material 116 may be used. In one embodiment, the fill material 116 includes an aggregate fill material such as sand, gravel (pea gravel, crushed stone, creek rock, and mixtures of these materials), shells, chat (e.g., granular mine waste material), and mixtures of any of the foregoing. It should be appreciated that creek rock is generally water worn material that is rounded as opposed to crushed rock, which is generally angular in shape. The fill material may be any suitable size so long as it is capable of absorbing the desired amount of water. In one embodiment, the particles in the fill material 116 may have a size that is no more than approximately 0.75 inches, no more than approximately 0.5 inches, or, desirably, no more than approximately 0.25 inches.

The plurality of support panels 118 provide a hard, flat, even surface to support the plurality of tiles 120. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the plurality of support panels 118 may each be solid but spaced apart from each other to allow water to flow from the playing surface 108 down to the ground 114. The spaces 121 between the plurality of support panels 118 are shown in FIG. 2. In one embodiment, the support panels 118 may be spaced apart approximately 0.125 inches to 1 inch, or, desirably, approximately 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches. Since solid support panels 118 are usually readily available, this configuration may be very economical. In another embodiment, each of the support panels 118 may have a plurality of holes in them to allow the water to flow down to the ground 114. In this embodiment, the support panels 118 may be positioned in contact with each other. This configuration may be desirable because it provides a more stable foundation since the support panels 118 are positioned in contact with each other.

The support panels 118 may be any suitable size and may be made of any suitable material. The support panels 118 are generally sized to provide a sufficient support base for the plurality of tiles 120. In one embodiment, the support panels 118 may have a square or rectangular shape. For example, the support panels 118 may be 3 feet by 3 feet, 3 feet by 4 feet, 4 feet by 4 feet, and so forth. The support panels may also be approximately 0.25 inches to 1 inch thick. Preferably, the material should be weather resistant since the support panels 118 are exposed to heat, cold, water, sun, and so forth. In one embodiment, the support panels 118 may be made of solid plastic. The plastic may include recycled plastic (e.g., post-consumer plastic, and the like) in order to be more economical and environmentally friendly. In one embodiment, each of the support panels 118 is made entirely of recycled plastic. In another embodiment, the support panels may be made from WPCs. It should be appreciated that other suitable materials may be used as well.

The plurality of tiles 120 are configured to be coupled together to form the playing surface 108. The tiles 120 are porous to allow water to flow through the playing surface 108 to the ground 114 below. The tiles 120 may have a repeating pattern of holes so that when all of the tiles 120 are coupled together, they form a surface that is suitable for playing sports games. The tiles 120 may be painted or dyed so that when they are assembled, the desired pattern is formed on the game court 100 (e.g., basketball court lines, volleyball court lines, insignias, and so forth). In one embodiment, the tiles 120 are formed of a weather resistant material such as plastic, WPC, and the like.

It should be noted that for purposes of this disclosure, the term “coupled” means the joining of two members directly or indirectly to one another. Such joining may be stationary in nature or movable in nature. Such joining may be achieved with the two members or the two members and any additional intermediate members being integrally formed as a single unitary body with one another or with the two members or the two members and any additional intermediate member being attached to one another. Such joining may be permanent in nature or alternatively may be removable or releasable in nature.

The tiles 120 may be configured to interlock together to form a suspended modular floor surface. Any suitable method may be used to couple the tiles 120 together. For example, in one embodiment, each tile 120 may be square and have two adjoining sides that have male coupling structures and two other adjoining sides that have female coupling structures. Suitable examples of tiles 120 that may be used can be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,860,510 and 4,930,286, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties. In the event of a conflict, the subject matter explicitly recited or shown herein controls over any subject matter incorporated by reference. All definitions of a term (express or implied) contained in any of the subject matter incorporated by reference herein are hereby disclaimed with the understanding that the closing paragraphs of this specification dictate the meaning to be given to any term explicitly recited herein.

It should be appreciated that numerous modifications may be made to the sports floor 102 shown in FIG. 2. For example, in one embodiment, the second layer of synthetic separation material 117 may be removed so that the support panels 118 are positioned directly on the fill material 116. In another embodiment, the sports floor 102 may include the first layer of synthetic separation material 112, the layer of fill material 116, the second layer of synthetic separation material 117, and a second layer of fill material positioned on top of the second layer of synthetic separation material 117. The support panels 118 may be positioned on top of the second layer of fill material. In another embodiment, the support panels 118 and the tiles 120 may be configured as integral pieces. For example, the support panels 118 may be thicker and include a plurality of holes on the top that form a pattern similar to that on the tiles 120. In yet another embodiment, the support panels 118 may be eliminated from the sports floor 102. The tiles 120 may be positioned directly on the second layer of synthetic separation material 117.

The sports floor 102 may be constructed using the following process. Initially, the ground 114 is prepared by removing any vegetation and loose soil. The ground 114 may also be leveled to make installation of the sports floor 102 easier. Pockets of weak soil may be excavated and replaced with aggregate fill material. If desired, the ground 114 may be further compacted using conventional compaction equipment. Once the ground 114 has been prepared, the perimeter wall 110 may be constructed. In one embodiment, the base of the perimeter wall 110 may be formed using a 4″×4″ beam 125 of weather resistant material such as wood that is treated to be weather resistant, WPC, plastic, and so forth

The first layer of synthetic separation material 112 is positioned on the ground 114. A layer of fill material 116 is positioned over the synthetic separation material 112. In one embodiment, the fill material 116 is pea gravel. If desired, the layer of fill material 116 may be compacted using conventional compaction equipment. The layer of fill material 116 is leveled and the second layer of synthetic separation material 117 is placed on top of the fill material 116. The support panels 118 are placed in a spaced apart configuration on top of the second layer of synthetic separation material 117. The layers of synthetic separation material 112, 117 may be fastened to the top of the beam 125 around the perimeter of the game court 100 using any of a number of ways such as with adhesives, staples, nails, etc. A piece of trim 123 may be fastened to the top of the beam 125 thereby sandwiching the edges of the layers of synthetic separation materials 112, 117 between the trim 123 and the beam 125. This provides a nice finished look to the perimeter wall 110 of the game court 100. The plurality of tiles 120 are placed on top of the support panels 118 to form the playing surface 108.

ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Reference is made in the following to a number of illustrative embodiments of the subject matter described herein. The following embodiments illustrate only a few selected embodiments that may include the various features, characteristics, and advantages of the subject matter as presently described. Accordingly, the following embodiments should not be considered as being comprehensive of all of the possible embodiments. Also, features and characteristics of one embodiment may and should be interpreted to equally apply to other embodiments or be used in combination with any number of other features from the various embodiments to provide further additional embodiments, which may describe subject matter having a scope that varies (e.g., broader, etc.) from the particular embodiments explained below. Accordingly, any combination of any of the subject matter described herein is contemplated.

According to one embodiment, an outdoor sports floor comprises: a playing surface; a layer of synthetic separation material positioned under the playing surface; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor. The playing surface may include a plurality of interlocking tiles. The playing surface may be made at least in part of plastic. The playing surface may include a repeating pattern of holes to allow the water to pass through the playing surface. The synthetic separation material may include a plastic fabric material. The layer of synthetic separation material may be positioned in contact with the natural soil. The outdoor sports floor may comprise a layer of fill material positioned between the playing surface and the layer of synthetic separation material. The outdoor sports floor may comprise a layer of rigid support material positioned between the playing surface and the layer of synthetic separation material, the layer of rigid support material being configured to support the playing surface.

According to another embodiment, an outdoor sports floor comprises: a playing surface; and a layer of rigid support material positioned under the playing surface, the layer of rigid support material being configured to support the playing surface; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor. The playing surface may include a plurality of interlocking tiles. The playing surface may be made at least in part of plastic. The playing surface may include a repeating pattern of holes to allow the water to pass through the playing surface. The layer of rigid support material may include a plurality of support panels laid out flat adjacent to each other. The plurality of support panels may be spaced apart from each other to allow the water to flow between the plurality of support panels. The plurality of support panels may be porous to allow the water to flow through each one of the plurality of support panels. The plurality of support panels may be made at least in part of plastic. The outdoor sports floor may comprise a layer of fill material positioned between the layer of rigid support material and the natural soil. The outdoor sports floor may comprise a layer of synthetic separation material positioned between the layer of rigid support material and the natural soil.

According to another embodiment, an outdoor sports floor comprises: a plurality of tiles positioned to form a playing surface; and a layer of synthetic fabric material positioned under the playing surface; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor. The plurality of tiles may include a plurality of interlocking plastic tiles. The outdoor sports floor may comprise a layer of rigid support panels positioned under the playing surface, the layer of rigid support panels being configured to support the playing surface; and a layer of aggregate fill material positioned under the layer of rigid support panels; wherein the layer of synthetic fabric material is positioned under the layer of aggregate fill material.

According to another embodiment, an outdoor sports floor comprises: a plurality of tiles positioned to form a playing surface; and a layer of rigid support panels positioned under the playing surface, the layer of rigid support panels being configured to support the plurality of tiles; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor. The plurality of tiles may include a plurality of interlocking plastic tiles.

According to another embodiment, an outdoor sports floor comprises: a playing surface; a layer of rigid support material positioned under the playing surface, the layer of rigid support material being configured to support the playing surface; a layer of fill material positioned under the layer of rigid support material; and a layer of synthetic separation material positioned under the layer of fill material; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor.

According to another embodiment, an outdoor sports floor comprises: a plurality of tiles positioned to form a playing surface; a layer of rigid support panels positioned under the playing surface, the layer of rigid support panels being configured to support the playing surface; a layer of aggregate fill material positioned under the layer of rigid support panels; and a layer of synthetic fabric material positioned under the layer of aggregate fill material; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to natural soil beneath the outdoor sports floor.

According to another embodiment, a method of making an outdoor sports floor comprises: placing synthetic separation material over a piece of ground; and placing a playing surface over the synthetic separation material; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to the piece of ground beneath the outdoor sports floor. The method may comprise placing fill material over the synthetic separation material, the fill material being positioned between the synthetic separation material and the playing surface. The method may comprise placing rigid support material over the synthetic separation material, the rigid support material being positioned between the synthetic separation material and the playing surface. The synthetic separation material may include a plastic fabric material and wherein placing the playing surface over the synthetic separation material may include coupling a plurality of tiles together to form the playing the surface.

According to another embodiment, a method of making an outdoor sports floor comprises: placing rigid support material over a piece of ground; and placing a playing surface over the rigid support material; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to the piece of ground beneath the outdoor sports floor. The method may comprise placing a synthetic separation material over the piece of ground, the synthetic separation material being positioned underneath the rigid support material. The method may comprise placing fill material over the piece of ground, the fill material being positioned underneath the rigid support material. The rigid support material may include a plurality of support panels and wherein placing the playing surface over the synthetic separation material may include coupling a plurality of tiles together to form the playing the surface.

According to another embodiment, a method of making an outdoor sports floor comprises: removing a layer of vegetation and/or soil from a piece of ground; placing synthetic separation material over the piece of ground; placing fill material over the synthetic separation material; placing rigid support material over the fill material; and placing a playing surface over the rigid support material; wherein the outdoor sports floor is configured to allow water to pass downward from the playing surface to the piece of ground beneath the outdoor sports floor.

The terms recited in the claims should be given their ordinary and customary meaning as determined by reference to relevant entries (e.g., definition of “plane” as a carpenter's tool would not be relevant to the use of the term “plane” when used to refer to an airplane, etc.) in dictionaries (e.g., widely used general reference dictionaries and/or relevant technical dictionaries), commonly understood meanings by those in the art, etc., with the understanding that the broadest meaning imparted by any one or combination of these sources should be given to the claim terms (e.g., two or more relevant dictionary entries should be combined to provide the broadest meaning of the combination of entries, etc.) subject only to the following exceptions: (a) if a term is used herein in a manner more expansive than its ordinary and customary meaning, the term should be given its ordinary and customary meaning plus the additional expansive meaning, or (b) if a term has been explicitly defined to have a different meaning by reciting the term followed by the phrase “as used herein shall mean” or similar language (e.g., “herein this term means,” “as defined herein,” “for the purposes of this disclosure [the term] shall mean,” etc.). References to specific examples, use of “i.e.,” use of the word “invention,” etc., are not meant to invoke exception (b) or otherwise restrict the scope of the recited claim terms. Other than situations where exception (b) applies, nothing contained herein should be considered a disclaimer or disavowal of claim scope. Accordingly, the subject matter recited in the claims is not coextensive with and should not be interpreted to be coextensive with any particular embodiment, feature, or combination of features shown herein. This is true even if only a single embodiment of the particular feature or combination of features is illustrated and described herein. Thus, the appended claims should be read to be given their broadest interpretation in view of the prior art and the ordinary meaning of the claim terms.

As used herein, spatial or directional terms, such as “left,” “right,” “front,” “back,” and the like, relate to the subject matter as it is shown in the drawing FIGS. However, it is to be understood that the subject matter described herein may assume various alternative orientations and, accordingly, such terms are not to be considered as limiting. Furthermore, as used herein (i.e., in the claims and the specification), articles such as “the,” “a,” and “an” can connote the singular or plural. Also, as used herein, the word “or” when used without a preceding “either” (or other similar language indicating that “or” is unequivocally meant to be exclusive—e.g., only one of x or y, etc.) shall be interpreted to be inclusive (e.g., “x or y” means one or both x or y). Likewise, as used herein, the term “and/or” shall also be interpreted to be inclusive (e.g., “x and/or y” means one or both x or y). In situations where “and/or” or “or” are used as a conjunction for a group of three or more items, the group should be interpreted to include one item alone, all of the items together, or any combination or number of the items. Moreover, terms used in the specification and claims such as have, having, include, and including should be construed to be synonymous with the terms comprise and comprising.

Unless otherwise indicated, all numbers or expressions, such as those expressing dimensions, physical characteristics, etc. used in the specification (other than the claims) are understood as modified in all instances by the term “approximately.” At the very least, and not as an attempt to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents to the claims, each numerical parameter recited in the specification or claims which is modified by the term “approximately” should at least be construed in light of the number of recited significant digits and by applying ordinary rounding techniques. Moreover, all ranges disclosed herein are to be understood to encompass and provide support for claims that recite any and all subranges or any and all individual values subsumed therein. For example, a stated range of 1 to 10 should be considered to include and provide support for claims that recite any and all subranges or individual values that are between and/or inclusive of the minimum value of 1 and the maximum value of 10; that is, all subranges beginning with a minimum value of 1 or more and ending with a maximum value of 10 or less (e.g., 5.5 to 10, 2.34 to 3.56, and so forth) or any values from 1 to 10 (e.g., 3, 5.8, 9.9994, and so forth).