Many people prefer in-ground trampolines than above-ground ones. And they got a point. In-ground trampolines are easier for children to use, and they offer more decorative ideas. There are many types of in-ground trampolines and each has its own advantage. Some come with safety nets, while others have enclosures around them.
Before you start putting the in-ground trampoline, there are a few considerations to think of. Theses include the available space, safety factors, erosion and drainage, and maintenance considerations. Since most of the parts that require maintaining are underground, maintenance can be a serious issue for in-ground trampolines.
Trampolines come in all shapes and sizes as well. From the regular 8-feet ones to the giant trampolines measuring 15 feet. So which one is suitable for your yard and your bouncing needs? This article answers all your in-ground trampoline-related questions and helps you decide on the best one to buy, how to install it, and how to take care of it through different weather conditions.
Installation Tips and Considerations
We’ll start right off the bat with a few things to consider before you start your newest DIY project, namely to install an in-ground bouncy trampoline in your yard. It’s tempting to start digging a hole in the ground and install the trampoline right away. But if you want to avoid serious trampoline trouble down the road, it’s better to consider:
Size of the Hole
You might think you got an easy answer for that one. Just measure the diameter of the trampoline and dig a hole that size. But that won’t work. Because eventually you’ll need to have enough space to reach under the trampoline and lift it up for maintenance. So make sure the hole is one foot wider than the diameter of the trampoline you intend to install in it.
The Retaining Wall
You can use either of the three wall types, concrete, stone, or wood. For concrete walls, you’ll need to pour the concrete yourself which can be a hassle if you have no experience with that sort of thing. Stone blocks are more convenient, although not that much easier to lay than pouring concrete. You can go wood walls, but they have a problem with durability since wood buried in the ground tends to rot or collapse.
How you will drain your pit when the rain pours in can be the difference between good bouncy fun and a yard infested with insects and stench. Stagnating water in a covered hole is an insect farm and a source of unpleasant odors. It also causes the stilts and springs to rust. Consult the manual that comes with your trampoline for the best solution.
When you land on the trampoline mat, you push air under it. That air needs to escape fast for the trampoline to bounce at all. Consider digging a moat around the buried trampoline to suck the air from under the mat and push it back when you jump up. Or you can install pipes in the hole for ventilation. You’ll need to maintain those pipes and make sure they’re clean.
How Much Does an In-ground Trampoline Cost?
On average, in-ground trampolines are quite affordable. You always have many price options that suit your budget. For a basic 8-feet trampoline you can expect to fork out anything between $200 and $400. Larger trampolines can reach prices of $2000 and above.
Just like any other device or gadget you buy, the price varies depending on the size, weight, and accessories. Adding an enclosure or a safety net will increase the price of the trampoline. In addition, you’ll need to consider the other costs including material for the retaining wall, the ventilation pipes, and the groundwork.
You can save yourself on the costs if you’re willing to do the digging yourself. But other work such as laying stone bricks or pouring concrete would definitely require calling a professional for help. But since a trampoline is a great way for the whole family to have fun and a bit of exercise, you can think of it as a good investment.
How Deep Should a Trampoline be in the Ground?
The depth of the hole is an important factor to consider. This has to do with the ventilation issue we talked about above. Some experts recommend the pit should have the same depth as the height of the trampoline. While that gives the mat enough room to bounce, it can cause ventilation problems.
The recommended depth of the pit should be a little less than the height of the trampoline. This gives the device an extra bounce and eliminates the problem of ventilation. For the exact figures, you should consult the manual since each brand and model has its ideal pit depth.
Keep in mind that a shallow hole means the trampoline will not be totally buried in the ground thus making it a tripping hazard. Consider having an enclosure around the trampoline to make sure nobody stumbles into it at night.
Does a Trampoline Have to be Level?
For safety reasons, it’s better to have a level trampoline. A sloping trampoline increases the risk of injuries even with a safety net around it. That said, if you don’t have level ground in your yard that doesn’t mean you can’t install a trampoline there. It only means you’ll have to do some extra work.
If the ground is not level, then try to either add soil to fill up the potholes or remove soil to make an even surface. In most cases a shovel will do the job nicely. However, if you have mounds in your yard, then you’ll need heavy machinery like an excavator to make it level.
A string level is required throughout this process. Place stakes around the patch of land and use the string levels to make sure the area has no bumps or mounds. Finish your leveling process by raking the surface and compacting the dirt.
Are In-ground Trampolines Safer than Above-ground?
That is a common misconception. Neither type is safer than the other. Even though in-ground trampolines are aesthetically pleasing since they don’t interrupt your vision and don’t diminish the beauty of the yard, they still have the same injury hazards as above-ground ones.
Some people think that since the underground trampoline is lower than the above-ground one then if you fall off it, you’re less likely to get hurt. But that’s not true. In either case, you’re jumping high above the ground, and without a safety net or an enclosure, any fall would result in injuries.
Moreover, since the hidden trampoline needs a larger hole for ventilation, that extra space outside the boundaries of the outer frame of the trampoline is in itself a hazard. You have a gap of one foot around the trampoline that makes it not safe not to use an enclosure.
How Long Does a Trampoline Take to Set up?
Popular as they are, trampolines don’t come ready to use out of the box. You still need to assemble them as you would a piece of furniture from Ikea. How much time you need to get the trampoline up and ready to use depends on the size and model among other factors.
Some brands are easier to set up than others. Assuming you have the hole, drainage, and ventilation all in place, then all you have to do is put the trampoline together and install it in the ground. For a 10-foot trampoline, you will need anything between one and three hours of assembly time.
The larger the trampoline, the more springs you need to attach to it. So a 14-foot trampoline would take up to five hours to get all the springs in before you install it. Consider buying a trampoline spring tool to help you get this time-intensive process done quickly.
How Do You Keep a Trampoline in the Winter?
Winter always brings unfavorable weather conditions that might damage your in-ground trampoline. Springs are prone to rust when it rains and if your drainage system is blocked, a hole full of stagnating rainwater is the last thing you want to have in your yard all winter.
To solve this problem you can disassemble the trampoline during the winter and store it in a dry place. It would usually take you the same time to disassemble it as it took you to set it up. Don’t’ forget to cover the pit to prevent insects and rodents from crawling into it. You should leave the enclosure or safety net on though to prevent anybody falling into the hole.
If your trampoline is rust-proof, you can winterize it instead. This means you need to remove the frame pads and keep them indoors. When it snows you need to shovel or sweep the snow off the mat since it will weigh it down and stretch the springs. Don’t cover the trampoline since that traps moisture and causes mildew breakout.
Will a Trampoline Ruin My Grass?
Not really, no. With in-ground trampolines, the only grass that gets ruined is the one you dig out to make a hole for the trampoline. Other than that the grass around the trampoline will still get enough sun and nutrition to grow and prosper.
As for above-ground trampolines, they won’t damage the grass either. Even the grass under the mat won’t be ruined. The mat still allows both the sun and wind in which means you won’t have a single dead leaf of grass. The only problem you might have is with mowing the grass. Reaching under the trampoline to mow that patch of grass can be difficult but not impossible.
In fact, trees and not grass should be your main concern here. Tree roots can come in the way when you dig a pit for your in-ground trampoline. Also, tree branches are a safety hazard for anyone who uses the equipment. So make sure you set the trampoline away from trees.
Does a Trampoline Have to be Fenced in?
If you mean in legal terms, then no, there’s no law against having a fence-free trampoline. However, state laws vary as do county and city regulations. So you might want to consult with the local authorities in your state before you decide to do away with the fence or enclosure.
But from a safety point of view, fences are a must. A case in point is insurance companies. Usually, if the trampoline doesn’t have a fence they wouldn’t accept liability for any injuries caused while using it. There’s a risk to have a trampoline without a fence both for those using it and those who happen to pass by.
Can I Put a Trampoline in My Front Yard?
The law was mum on this point. Perhaps the legislators never considered that trampolines would catch up and become as popular as they are so they didn’t bother setting laws for them. Whatever the case, the federal laws don’t prohibit you from installing a trampoline in your front yard.
However, your neighborhood might be more hard-nosed. Depending on where you live, the city or the neighborhood might forbid you from installing a pool or a trampoline in your front yard. Again it’s better to check with the Home Owners Association in your area before you go through the trouble of installing one only to be told you have to remove it.
Backyards are a better setting for trampolines since they are away from the traffic and offer seclusion and protection for the trampoline bouncers. You have little chance of someone tripping over the trampoline on their way to your door when you install it in your backyard.
In-ground Trampoline Pros and Cons
As cozy and inviting as they look, in-ground trampolines are not free of flaws and drawbacks. It’s true they’re hidden in the ground which means they don’t interfere with your landscape. It’s also true that you can come up with decorative ideas to make them an addition to your lawn design. But at the end of the day, the fun-equipment has its problems. Here are some of the pros and cons of trampolines.
- Easy to use for children and aged adults alike.
- Don’t require climbing up ladders or steps to enter or exit.
- Offer hours of exercise and fun for the whole family.
- They look good with plenty of creative ideas to enhance the landscape.
- No room for pets to crawl under them and get injured.
- More expensive to install.
- Drainage and ventilation are important.
- Require a retaining wall.
- Can’t move it around your yard.
- Need proper maintenance during the rain or snow.
How Do You Secure a Trampoline Net?
Some people are of the opinion that in-ground trampolines are safer than above-ground ones. We’ve already seen how both of them have the same risks. In fact, underground trampolines have an added risk of tripping if you don’t watch where you’re going.
In short, you’ll need a safety net to make the trampoline more secure and safer for those who use it. Securing the net is not as straightforward as it seems. First you need to attach the net to the bungee loops. These loops keep the net in place and prevent them from flying off when someone bounces on the mat.
Next you need to secure the net posts. Finally attach the hooks and test your trampoline. If the net looks shaky or unstable check the screws on the posts again and tighten them.
How Do you Set up a 14ft Trampoline?
It’s no secret that the bigger the trampoline, the more work it needs to install it. You’ll need a larger hole, a bigger retaining wall, and more room for ventilation and drainage. That said, a 14-foot trampoline sounds like a lot of fun for everyone in the family.
Installing this kind of trampoline is not much different than installing a regular 8-foot or 10-foot in-ground one. Here are the easy steps to set up a 14-foot trampoline:
- Find a level spot in your yard away from the fence and any trees.
- Dig a hole that’s 15-feet in diameter and shallower than the trampoline height.
- Set up the ventilation moat and/or pipes.
- Build the retaining wall using either wood, stone blocks or concrete.
- Put together the mat and the springs.
- Fit the trampoline.
- Install the enclosure or safety net.
- Get bouncing.
How Do You Measure a Trampoline?
Trampolines come in 3 different shapes. They’re either round, rectangular or octagonal. Each type has its own way of measuring it.
- Round Trampolines: to measure a round trampoline, start from any point at the outer metal ridge. Stretch the tape across to the opposite point on the other side and take the measurement. Repeat this process starting with a point perpendicular to the first point. Now you have two measurements. Get the average of both and that’s the measure of the round trampoline.
- Rectangular Trampolines: with rectangular trampolines, you get two sides with different lengths. Measure the long side from starting point to the end and repeat with the short sides. Those two measurements are the dimensions of the trampoline.
- Octagonal Trampolines: to measure an octagonal trampoline you’ll follow the same steps used with round trampolines. Start from one corner and measure across to the outer edge of the opposite corner. Repeat starting with a corner perpendicular to the first corner. The average of both measurements gives you the measure of the trampoline.
Can a Trampoline Lose its Bounce?
With time the springs might become weak and make the trampoline less bouncy than before. Moreover, a new trampoline usually has less bounce to it than one that’s been around for a few weeks. Again it all has to do with the springs.
So how do you make a trampoline more bouncy from the get-go? Easy, just add more springs. Attaching springs is usually the most time-consuming step of putting together the trampoline. But those added springs will make you sail up in the air and come down with ease.
Check if the springs are broken or rusty. If they are, replace them with new ones. Some trampoline experts recommend crossing the springs in an X, V, or W pattern. This gives them extra bounce. To add more springs you’ll need to purchase anchor kits.
What are Common Trampoline Assembly Problems?
Since not all trampoline brands are the same, you’ll need to read through the manual that comes in the package carefully before you start assembling the trampoline. But a common problem that most people trying to assemble a trampoline face has to do with measurements and space.
Before you decide on the best trampoline for your yard, it’s important to measure the available space and purchase one that fits. Make sure there are no overhanging branches, roofs, or cables in the way of the jumpers.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare