How to Design a Football, Soccer, or Lacrosse Synthetic Turf Field

02/02/2021

When planning for a synthetic turf field, there are quite a few balls in the air that your team will need to tackle to prepare accordingly for a smooth and efficient build. A big consideration, and often the most exciting part of the planning, is what you want your field to look like! What logo should be used, what colors in the end zones, maybe additional logos in other locations on the field? There are also items, like sports lines, that are vital to getting right in order to keep competitions within regulations. It’s important that you know what is possible and recommended when considering these design pieces for your artificial turf field – and that’s why you plan your field with a knowledgeable team!

Our turf field design guru, Amber Moore, pulled together some of the most commonly asked questions she hears from owners mapping out the look of their field. She shared her recommendations for ensuring your synthetic turf surface is designed to meet your needs and is in line with the rules!

What are the options for permanent lines on the field? What considerations should be taken for lines that run through logos or end zone letters?

You will want permanent lines for the sports that are most often played on your field, but sometimes too many different colored line markings can prove to be confusing for players. Tick marks make a great option for multipurpose fields where several different sports will be played. Tick marks are permanent 4’’ squares of turf in a contrasting color that denotes where to paint lines for a particular sport. 

When it comes to logos and end zone letters that may obstruct permanent line markings, you do have a few options. You may decide to have permanent shadow lines installed through these graphics. Shadow lines are ½’’ permanent lines in a contrasting color that clearly identify the obstructed lines. You may also choose to install the permanent lines themselves over top of the logos. Please keep in mind these two options will permanently alter the appearance of your graphics. Another, more temporary option, is to have a staff member paint directly through the graphics prior to any games played. Either way, keep in mind that all lines, including hash marks, must be clearly identifiable to all players and officials.

What is the maximum number of lines that can be incorporated onto a field for different sports?

There really isn’t any specific rule regarding the number of sport markings a field can have, but too many lines may prove to be confusing for players.  When multiple sports are being played, you may want to share lines whenever possible. (For example, soccer and women’s lacrosse dimensions can vary, making either a great candidate for sharing another sport’s sidelines or end lines.) Tick marks are a great option as well, that will allow for ease of painting markings. For high school boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, consider unified lacrosse markings.

Are there certain colors to choose from to match team colors or are custom colors available? Are any colors not allowed on a field? 

Synthetic turf is available in a variety of colors that will fit the needs of most owners, but can vary slightly depending upon turf product. In some cases, custom colors may be desired, but keep in mind this option can prove to be costly. Take into account that each sport marking will need to be shown in a unique contrasting color. These colors should not be the same as any end zones or team boxes these lines will run through as they won’t be clearly identifiable.

What is the field footprint needed to work within? Are there requirements for dimensions and field size?

There are a few things to consider when it comes to the field footprint needed. The most important factor is to determine what particular sport, or sports, will be played on your field. Some sports, for example football or field hockey, have set dimensions that may not vary. Other sports, for example soccer or women’s lacrosse, have minimum, maximum and optimal dimension requirements. Also, many sports require a minimum amount of runoff, which refers to the space between the field of play and the nearest obstruction. For example, high school girls’ lacrosse requires a minimum of 4 meters, or 13 feet, of runoff. Also keep in mind that some sport’s tournaments have specific field dimension requirements. It’s best to refer to the sport’s handbook for your particular governing body for specific information or reach out to a Field Consultant for more details.

Are there options for a football border around the field?

When considering football borders for your field, you have a few different options regarding width and color. The width of a football border can vary anywhere from 4’’ to 6’ wide. One thing to consider is that a 6’ wide border can take the place of the dashed restraining lines, also known as media lines, to give your field a cleaner look. Football borders can also be shown in any color, as long as at least 4’’ of white is shown to denote the field of play.

What factors are important to consider when planning field logos? Are there dimension requirements?

Logos are a great way to enhance the look of your field and there are several different logo options you may consider. Mid-field logos can make a big visual impact. Just keep in mind that logos should be less than 55’ tall on a high school football field, or 40’ tall for college, to avoid football hash marks. When used on a field with soccer or woman’s lacrosse, you will want to keep the logo to a size smaller than the 60’ diameter center circle to avoid line interference. Smaller logos may also be placed on the field of play, like on the 25 yard line for example.  You may even want to consider logos in the end zones for a different type of look. Depending on the size of your field, sideline logos might make a great location for a shorter, wider logo. Consider providing advertising space on your field with a donor logo to provide some additional revenue. Whatever logo option you decide, take into account that all field marking lines, including hash marks, need to be visible by either permanent shadow lines or painted lines. Also, bear in mind some sports have restrictions on the number of logos you may have on your field. For example, college football fields are limited to one large mid-field logo and 4 smaller flanking logos, and are limited to the type of logo that may be shown. It’s best to refer to the sport’s handbook from your particular association for specific information or reach out to a Field Consultant for more details.

What is there to consider when it comes to end zone letters?

There are many design options to consider when it comes to end zone letters for your football field. Letters may be any size so long as no graphic is closer  than 2’ from any white football line (or 4’ for college fields). However, it is recommended to keep letters at a height of 15’ when used on a field with additional sport markings to keep line interference to a minimum. When used in conjunction with soccer markings, consider keeping the soccer length to 348’ which will frame up letters nicely in the end zone. Letters may be in any desired font or color and may be solid, outlined or even shadowed.

If you have further questions on how to design your synthetic turf field, or would even like to speak with a professional on how to approach planning for your field project, send our Field Consultants a quick note at the below form to get started!

Cleo Montgomery

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