Know Your Zoning Laws
Before you even begin to dream of backyard shredding, you need to find out if it's legal in your neighborhood. Every city, town and municipality has its own zoning laws that regulate the construction of certain "accessory structures" like fences, gazebos, tool sheds, wheelchair ramps -- and yes, skateboard ramps [source: City of Berkeley].
There are zoning laws that regulate the height of backyard structures, their use, and their proximity to neighboring property. If your vision of a backyard skate park runs afoul of these rules, you will need special permits to proceed, which can cost extra money. One dad in Fairfax, Va. ended up paying $1,800 in permits and fees to construct a $1,400 tree house for his two sons [source: Starnes].
If you've thought about charging local kids a small fee to use the backyard skate park in order to defray some of the cost, think again. Doing so would convert your family fun time into a business, which would fall under strict regulation [source: Gilje]. Plus, you would have to apply for a commercial zoning permit, which is often impossible in a largely residential area.
If you get the green light from the local zoning board, don't forget to check with your homeowner's insurance agent. If the backyard skate park is exclusively for your family and you promise to wear helmets and pads, you should be fine. But if you tell your agent that you plan to open the skate park to the whole neighborhood, you could face a steep hike in your premium or a loss of coverage entirely [source: Fernandez].
Once you get your legal questions answered, you can start scouting locations for your backyard skate park.