10 Things to Put Under Trampolines for Added Safety or Aesthetic Appeal

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A trampoline is an endless source of fun for both kids and adults. There are plenty of games you can play on a trampoline and there’s nothing like soaring up in the sky and catching some hang time on a nice sunny day. But there are two major concerns that people have with trampolines. The first is safety. What are the best ways to keep the ground around the trampoline safe in case anyone falls off? Even with a safety net around the trampoline, it’s still possible for people to fall off. 

The second concern is aesthetic appeal. Trampolines can be eyesores, to be sure. So how can you make the area around and under the trampoline a bit more aesthetically pleasing?

I answer both these questions in this article, X Things to Put Under a Trampoline for Safety or Aesthetic Appeal, so read on to find out!

1. Grass

Grass is a good option for aesthetic appeal under and around the trampoline. It’s also safer than having a brick patio, concrete pad, or just plain bare ground around the piece of recreational equipment. 

And since most people already have grass growing in the backyard, it seems like an easy decision to stick with the lush greenery. 

However, grass is definitely not the safest option available, and it’s also not the easiest to maintain. Grass does provide some amount of cushioning in case of falls, but there are better options on this list that are more effective at absorbing impact. 

Since the trampoline will limit the amount of sunlight reaching the grass, it’s also likely that the grass will begin to wither and may even die unless you take steps to prevent this. Of course, this largely depends on where you live and the kind of grass in your yard, but it’s something to be aware of if you want to keep grass around the trampoline. 

2. Sand

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Placing sand around your trampoline is also a good option, especially if you live in an area where grass doesn’t grow well. A nice perimeter of sand can add to a desert landscape motif while providing some added protection in case one of the kids falls off the trampoline. 

This can also double as a sandbox in the event that you have little ones (just make sure sandbox time and trampoline time don’t happen at the same time!). When the kids get tired of jumping on the trampoline, they can build sandcastles around it. 

However, keep in mind that sand has a few drawbacks. Although slightly better than grass at cushioning falls (when there’s enough of it), sand isn’t the safest option out there for preventing injuries. It also tends to get tracked everywhere, including inside the house. Plus, you could have neighborhood animals using it as a bathroom when you’re not looking.

Prolonged exposure to certain types of sand can also cause lung damage. Although the amount of exposure your kids will experience is not likely near enough to pose a threat, this is something to consider before deciding on sand around your trampoline. 

3. Wood Mulch 

Wood mulch is another suitable option for a natural material to place around your trampoline. This is especially good for those who already lived in wooded areas where pine needles cover more ground in the backyard than grass does. It’s in these areas that wood mulch looks the best. 

But it isn’t just aesthetics that wood mulch provides, it’s also added safety. With enough wood mulch in a wide enough area around your trampoline, you can help prevent serious injuries from people falling off the side of the trampoline. In fact, wood chips/mulch are sometimes used on playgrounds to help with shock absorption. It’s the same concept when you use it around your trampoline.

Playground safety organizations suggest a depth of 12-inches for wood mulch to be an effective shock absorber. This usually means digging a kind of trench around the trampoline and then filling it all in with wood chips. 

However, there are some things to keep in mind before you decide on wood mulch:

  • It may attract insects.
  • It can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. 
  • Some wood mulch comes treated with chemicals.

If your kids aren’t playing in it, then these generally aren’t things to worry much about. But, you know how kids are… 

4. Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is an even better option than wood mulch for safety. These little shredded bits of rubber make for excellent shock absorption when used in adequate quantities. Like wood mulch, rubber mulch works best at a depth of 10 to 12-inches, which means you’ll want to dig down around the trampoline. Otherwise, the mulch is likely to migrate around the yard. 

And that brings me to one big drawback of rubber mulch: it’s not biodegradable. If you get wood mulch around the yard, it’s not such a big deal. You can just toss it aside and not have to worry about it again. Or you can leave it where it lies, knowing that it will eventually break down. Rubber mulch, though, will not break down for a very, very long time. 

And although most rubber mulch is dark in color, almost mimicking the look of dark wood mulch, it’s pretty easy to tell that it’s not natural. For this reason, some homeowners find rubber mulch to be an eyesore.

Rubber mulch poses a choking hazard (as does wood mulch) and is pretty expensive when compared to other options on this list. The good news is that rubber mulch won’t mold and is resistant to rot, meaning you don’t have to replace it as often as you would wood mulch. 

5. Rubber Mats

Speaking of rubber, let’s talk about rubber mats that you can place around your trampoline. There are a ton of different kinds to choose from in a wide price range. You can get interlocking exercise mats, like these found on Amazon. This style is the most affordable, but you can go with something a little thicker if you want. 

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Either way, rubber mats around the trampoline can help with the safety aspect, even if they don’t look all that great. 

For best results, you’ll need to clear and level the ground on which you want to place the mats. You’ll also want to make sure they’re rated for outdoor use, as months of sun and rain can cause some of these cheaper mats to break down and start to flake and degrade. 

6. Artificial Turf

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If you don’t like the look of the rubber mats available, you can always go for artificial turf around your trampoline. You can get rolls of fake grass in pretty much any size you want, which is great if you can’t seem to keep the grass underneath your trampoline alive, but you still want the look of nice green grass there. 

If you don’t like the look of the rubber mats available, you can always go for artificial turf around your trampoline. You can get rolls of fake grass in pretty much any size you want, which is great if you can’t seem to keep the grass underneath your trampoline alive, but you still want the look of nice green grass there. 

Placing your trampoline on a grass mat can help prevent divots from forming in the ground from the legs of the trampoline, while providing a nice-looking area. 

Artificial turf usually provides about as much shock absorption as grass, although this does depend on how thick the mat is and whether there’s extra cushioning built in. For added safety, some homeowners decide to use rubber padding underneath their artificial turf. This combination gives you the best of both worlds, since it’s safe and it looks good.    

7. Pea Gravel

Taking more inspiration from playground surfaces, pea gravel is a low-cost option that provides good shock absorption when you use enough of it. These little pea-sized rocks are used in many playgrounds around the country because they’re natural, they look good, and they provide better shock absorption than grass or sand. 

At 12-inches or more, pea gravel makes a good cushion for anyone falling off the trampoline. You can get a lot of pea gravel for a low price, which makes it one of the cheaper options on this list. 

Some homeowners already use pea gravel for landscaping, so adding more around the trampoline makes sense. But, pea gravel is a choking hazard for kids under five, which is something to consider if you have little ones. 

Unlike sand and wood chips, pea gravel doesn’t attract insects or neighborhood animals. It drains water away well and doesn’t easily develop mold or bacteria, which are all benefits if you’re worried about your kids playing around near the trampoline. 

8. Shrubs and Plants

So far we’ve been discussing things to put under your trampoline in terms of safety first and then aesthetic appeal. But with more and more trampolines coming standard with nets around them to keep jumpers inside, safety is not every homeowner’s main concern. 

Enter shrubs and plants. Using landscaping strategically around your trampoline can turn it from an eyesore to a work of art. You’ll just want to choose plants that do well in the shade, as the trampoline will be blocking the sun for much of the day. 

You’ll also want to choose plants that won’t grow too big, unless you want your trampoline to soon be overtaken by foliage. 

Small bushes, shrubs, and even some flowers can do well around your trampoline. And, if someone ever does fall off the trampoline, the soft soil the plants are growing in will provide some form of cushioning, which is better than nothing.

9. The Ground

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Yes, one of the best things to put around your trampoline is the ground. You probably think I’m crazy right now, but bear with me. I’m talking about burying your trampoline so that the surface of it is level with the ground. 

This is a lot of work, seeing as how you have to dig a trampoline-size hole in the ground, but many homeowners find the safety and aesthetic benefits worth it in the end. 

As for safety, burying the trampoline makes any fall off the side of the equipment less harmful, as there’s not as far to fall. When combined with a net around the trampoline, you can take comfort in the knowledge that a serious injury is unlikely. 

As for aesthetics, the buried trampoline is one that is nearly impossible to be an eyesore. You can no longer see its legs, and it’s easy to cover over when not in use, if you want.  

Plus, having the top of the trampoline level with the ground just looks cool. (In my opinion, anyway). 

The big question is whether you’re willing to dig a giant hole in your yard. 

10. Gymnastic Mats

Last on our list of things to put around your trampoline are gymnastic mats. These foldable mats provide great protection for falls when placed around the trampoline. However, they aren’t the most aesthetic choice on the list, they’re usually brightly colored and may stand out against the surrounding landscape. 

Most of them aren’t designed for prolonged outdoor use, so you’ll probably want to store them inside until you need them at the trampoline. 

They’re also a little pricey, but they do provide great cushioning. 

These gymnastic mats are ideal for those who have grass growing around their trampoline but want added protection in case of falls. As long as the mats are removed when not in use, they won’t damage the grass!

In Conclusion

There you have it! When it comes to keeping everyone safe out on the trampoline, you’ve got plenty of options. Some of them provide more cushioning than others, and some of them are certainly more aesthetically appealing than others. But there sure to be one that works well for you! 

Thanks for reading!

Justin Childress

Justin Childress is the creator of Sunshineandplay.com. He is also a devoted husband and father of his 1-year-old son Gabriel. Justin enjoys spending time with family, reading, and, of course, contributing to Sunshineandplay.com. Read more about me or follow me on Pinterest to stay connected.

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