Recycling and Repurposing – How to Build an In Ground Basketball Hoop

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

Recycle and Repurpose

It has become trendy to repurpose items and materials. The facts are clear that it is actually fiscally and environmentally responsible. If you add the fact that it is also a lot of fun, well, now you just hit a 3 pointer. We recently decided to build an in ground basketball hoop, by resurrecting a fallen basketball hoop and supplementing it with some recycled and repurposed parts. Join us on this green project that’s a slam dunk!

Going Green and Saving Green – Hoop, There It Is!

Our little community has a social media platform for people to ask neighborhood questions, post items for sale or free, post about cats – there are a lot of posts and updates about cats. In the midst of another highly anticipated cat update, a young couple posted that their basketball post and hoop broke and fell during a storm. You can see where the metal weakened just above where the lower section of pipe was filled with cement.

recycle and repurpose
You can see how thin the lower wall is and how it was eaten away over time.

They had a nearly 3-year-old daughter and simply wanted the tetanus hazard removed from their yard. It was free to anyone who would come and take it away. While I would like to say I was working from an altruistic concern for safety, that might not be completely accurate. I also saw an opportunity to reinforce, repair and install this set up at our house. To Recycle and Repurpose some materials – and have some fun in the process.

For the record, I did go back to remove the 2 foot section of cemented pipe that remained in their yard. Removing the jagged, rusted, metal/cement post was the right thing to do for our neighbors and their daughter. They were thankful to not need to pay to have it removed and I was thankful to have another project – I was running dangerously low on projects around the house.

Recycling Centers to Supply Parts for Your In Ground Basketball Hoop

There are ‘official’ recycling centers where you can take your aluminum cans, copper pipe, etc. and get money in return. Some of these centers will allow you to exchange your recycled materials for some of the other items in their yard. For example, you might take in a load of scrap and opt to take out some angle iron or box tubing in trade.

recycle and repurpose
Henry has a system but it requires space and time. He has both. Notice the ‘Last Resort’ sign hanging up.

There are also ‘unofficial’ recycling centers, like my friend Henry. Henry is a retired doctor, current farmer, and compulsive scrapper/recycler. He will take anything metal that you have and he will separate the types of metal and recycle it. Henry made an appearance in the DeWalt Impact Driver review and this is exactly where I found the two pieces of round steel tubing that my in ground basketball hoop project needed.

recycle and repurpose
He will sort, save and scrap everything that is dropped off at his farm. And he gladly shares his treasures – like two sections of steel pipe that I needed.

Grinding and Prep is Essential

The ground-clamp is essential in completing the electrical flow when you bring your wire feed close enough to arc. The arc creates the heat needed to weld. If you aren’t grounded the electrical circuit is open, thus stopping the flow needed. If there are layers of paint or dirt, this will serve as a barrier to the ground contact and electrical path. So I use my Makita angle grinder to grind a spot of fresh, clean metal and attach the ground clamp.

welder grounding
Here is a shiny new spot that I ground clean for a solid contact with the MIG welder ground.
recycle and repurpose
The ground clamp for welding units are very similar to battery jumper cable ends. They ‘bite’ down and make contact.

Just like the need for clean metal for a good ground contact, I need to grind the areas that I am planning to weld together. By grinding away any paint, rust, and/or dirt, I have reduced the amount of contaminants and created a better electrical conduit for the circuit that we are creating with the arc.

recycle and repurpose
I ground a 2 inch path around the pole before sliding the recycled steel pipe over top to weld.

With the aid of two collapsing sawhorses, I put the work surface at a comfortable height for welding and grinding. For this project, I was happy to use the No Gas MIG welder and the repurposed sections of pipe to add both length and structural support to the base of the pole.

recycle and repurpose
Taking time to set up a work area that is clear of obstacles and clutter is important. My garage isn’t cleaned out enough to work on such a large project.

Welding Your Basketball Hoop Pole

Major tools like welders are items that only one person in your circle of friends needs to have. It is like an engine hoist, you don’t need an engine hoist every week, but you sure need a friend who owns one the time you do. I have a few welding connections of varying degrees. I have access to a 220 amp Arc/stick welder and two versions of MIG (metal inert gas) welders. MIG welders have a continuous feed wire that moves through the gun, creates spark upon contact, melts and creates the weld between two metal surfaces.

Here is the welding tip with the wire feed coming out of the tip. There is a trigger that activates the wire feed and electrical current.

There are a wide range of MIG welders. Some have a bottle of gas, typically Argon, Helium, Carbon Dioxide or Oxygen, that is used in the process. There are No Gas MIG welders that utilize a hollow wire that is filled with a flux. This flux reacts similarly as the Arc/stick welding and eliminates the need for the gas.

welding safety ppe
I have all of the necessary safety equipment on, correct pants and shoes, and my ground is secured. We are ready for take off!

I used a No Gas MIG welder on this project. Proper safety equipment is essential – welding helmet to protect your eyes, gloves to protect your hands, and proper clothes and shoes to protect the rest of your body. While you are welding metal, safety is the first concern. In my opinion, the No Gas MIG welder is the hot glue gun of metal work. It is a very similar, while more sparky and hot, version of running a hot glue gun around a cardboard role. If you don’t have a friend with a welder, or you don’t have the expertise to weld safely (or both), your local fabrication shop would be happy to run two beads of weld for a nominal fee. The low end entry purchase price for a welder is around $200 but you can spend anywhere from $1,000-3,000 rather easily.

grinding the basketball hoop pole weld
The angle grinder skims off the paint to expose the fresh metal for welding. Both pipes need to be prepared for welding.
basketball hoop welding
This model of No Gas MIG is about 2ft X 1ft x 2ft in dimensions. Similar models can cost under $200.

Grinding and Priming for Finish

If you are new to welding, whether arc/stick or MIG, you will need some practice with the settings and speed that you move your hand and welder. The good news is that there is a universal eraser in the field of welding known as the grinder. The grinder is essential in the preparation of the materials but it can be just as necessary in the smoothing out of the welds you create.

Recycle and Repurpose
This cordless Makita made quick work of metal prep as well as weld clean up.

While there are times when I lay down a beautiful bead of weld that needs to be photographed and hung on the refrigerator, there are other times when I am so thankful for the grinder. VERY thankful for the grinder here on this in ground basketball hoop pole, but I was going for function over form here. That is also why I didn’t bother putting any bondo around the seam prior to primer and paint.

recycle and repurpose
There were some issues with the different metals, the ground and a small gap. The grinder let me clean this up and lay down a much better bead – no harm, no foul.

For added strength in the reconstruction, I overlapped the steel tubes by a solid 12 inches. This overlap creates added stability to the overall construction and takes pressure off of the welded seam. I overlapped again when adding a second, larger pipe, over the first grafted piece.

recycle and repurpose
Here you can see the amount of original pipe that I inserted into the new, thicker steel pipe. This adds strength and provides an opportunity to drill and add a bolt through the overlapping section for added security.

I opted for slight overkill in the way I used two steel tubes and scaled them up to make a wider, thicker base. The three different pipes nest in a telescoping way. This allowed me to overlap the sections more, for greater strength, and to add overall weight and length for setting the pole deeper in the ground.

recycle and repurpose
Here you can see the even thicker pipe that I added to the first extension pipe. This added length and weight to the base.

Time to Get the In Ground Basketball Hoop Plumb and Secure

When you have a basketball pole, hoop/backstop, AND an added 75 lbs of extended steel base, it would be great to have a friend or two to help you set it in the ground. In theory, this would be really great. In reality, I did this by myself. This would be a perfect job for a magnetic level.

keson level
This Keson magnetic level holds onto any metal surface leaving both hands free to dial in the tie downs.

Plumb needs to be established on two axis – left to right and front to back. I stabilized the pole with a 2X4 under the hoop and tie downs pulling both left and right. I had a pre-existing pole to tie to on the left and drove in a temporary steel fence post to secure on the right.

recycle and repurpose
When you are working alone – boards, clamps and tie downs are some of your closest allies! Always there in a pinch.

<a href=""><img src="" alt="recycle and repurpose" width="750" height="1000" class="size-full wp-image-49239" /></a> When you are working alone - boards, clamps and tie downs are some of your closest allies! Always there in a pinch.
This clothesline pole will eventually be modified and incorporated into the shudder wall. But for now, it is a great anchor to tie onto.

This particular hoop is adjustable, so I set it at the tallest setting and measured from the hoop to the ground to get the maximum height of 10 feet. With it stabilized, plum and at the necessary height, I was ready to mix the cement for the base of this DIY in ground basketball hoop.

Cement Shoes for the In Ground Basketball Hoop

It is possible to simply pour in the dry contents into the hole, cover with dirt and let the moisture from the ground saturate the concrete mix. As anyone who has gone for a bag of concrete only to find that it absorbed moisture and is now a sold block in the form of a bag knows – this WILL work.

<a href=""><img src="" alt="recycle and repurpose" width="750" height="1000" class="size-full wp-image-49239" /></a> When you are working alone - boards, clamps and tie downs are some of your closest allies! Always there in a pinch.
These bags cost less than $5 each. They are ready to use and easy to load and haul for smaller cement jobs.

I chose to utilize the available wheelbarrow, my inheritance from dad, and a conveniently placed spigot to premix before pouring into the hole. You can mix one bag at a time to make the batches smaller and easier to maneuver and pour. The hole that I dug out held the post and 3 bags of Quikrete fast-setting concrete mix. I made sure to keep the cement below ground level so I could cover it with some dirt afterwards.

concrete mixing
I doubt they were thinking about wheelbarrow heights when they installed this spigot – but they really nailed it!
recycle and repurpose
You want to add water slowly while mixing with a hoe or shovel. You can add more water but it is hard to take it back out once it is too soupy.

Finishing Touches To Make the In Ground Basketball Hoop Project a Slam Dunk

I used ‘rust stopping’ primer on all the metal that was ground, welded and unpainted. To finish it off, I used a simple black spray paint to unify the different parts of the post. And, at the risk of spoiling our children, I splurged on a new net for the hoop. The old hoop was close to becoming a literal basket – a rigid basket that could hold and carry goods.

recycle and repurpose
A quality ‘rattle can’ paint job, just like the body work I did as a kid.
recycle and repurpose
I didn’t Bondo over the welds and found that the hoop adjusted and rejected my shots just fine.

With the cement cured, the paint dried and the new net in place, our “new” in ground basketball hoop was all set up for countless games of PIG and HORSE. This is our family version of March Madness. This all started with a neighbor posting that their basketball hoop had fallen. Now their yard is a better fit for their family and our driveway is a better fit for ours. . . well, almost.

recycle and repurpose
While it was horizontal on the sawhorses, I took the opportunity to grind and paint the backboard too. It’s a lot easier when you’re standing on the ground.

Bonus Project

You may have noticed the two windows in my next-door neighbor’s garage. They are perfectly placed to ‘catch’ any missed 3-pointers or wayward passes. This was the one and only place that I could install the basketball hoop, so there was the added bonus of an additional problem to solve with this project.

There is a local antique/consignment/architectural/beatnick shop not far from my house. I noticed a stack of shudders leaning on the side of the building, so I stopped in to inquire. They were initially talking about $40 per shudder since they have the original hardware on them. I didn’t care about the hardware and really only needed one or two sets to protect the garage windows.

recycle and repurpose
For the money in materials and the time it would take me – these are a great start to a little wall with character.

After some casual back and forth discussion, they offered me the entire stack of 11 shudders for $200. I would have had over three times that in lumber alone, so I agreed and trailered them all home. As a temporary stop gap, I asked permission to lean them against the garage. The second stage of the Shudder Fence will be to support them vertically on their own. But for now, the family and neighbors are safely shooting hoops, having fun and not breaking anybody’s windows.

in ground basketball hoop
No broken windows, a solid, in ground basketball hoop and the makings of another project with the shudder wall!
Photo of author

About Bob

Bob was raised in a DIY household - he later learned it was because they were economically disadvantaged (poor). Bob has worked as a machinist, general contractor, landlord/handyman and most perilously as a high school math teacher. His strongest attribute? He has never been smart enough to be afraid.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

5 thoughts on “Recycling and Repurposing – How to Build an In Ground Basketball Hoop”

  1. for the wing of giving there is taking; for the wing of tears there is joy; for the wing of rejection there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment there is grace; for the wing of honor there is shame; for the wing of letting go there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance.

  2. Hello you are sharing very good tricks, Once time i will try this. Because its very important for me. Thanks Gustavo Woltmann

  3. The result looks very good! I want to do the same, my son’s basketball hoop is screwed to the house and he ruined the entire wall with ball marks.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.