In-ground trampolines are becoming more and more popular these days. Not only do they minimize the impact the trampoline has on the yard, making it a more aesthetically pleasing option, but they also provide added safety benefits since they’re close to the ground. There are plenty of trampolines on the market that are specifically designed to be installed in the ground. But what about regular trampolines? Since the in-ground style is becoming more popular, many people are looking into the backyard at their normal above-ground trampoline, wondering if they can simply dig a hole and put it in the ground.
You can put a normal trampoline in the ground, but doing so requires more work than installing an actual in-ground trampoline. You’ll have to dig a deeper hole to accommodate for the height of traditional trampoline legs and there are certain safety precautions you’ll need to take as well.
Read on to learn what it takes to put a normal trampoline in the ground, what the pros and cons are, and how it compares to installing an in-ground trampoline.
In-Ground Trampoline Pros and Cons
Installing a trampoline in the ground, no matter the kind, has some definite pros and cons. In this section, I’ll cover the general pros and cons of putting any trampoline in the ground. In the next section, I’ll talk specifically about considerations for installing a normal trampoline in the yard.
Pro #1 – Safety
The most obvious benefit of putting a trampoline in the ground (some people call this “burying” the trampoline) is added safety. But it’s important to note that, although a trampoline in the ground does provide some safety benefits, it does not make the trampoline completely safe. People can still get hurt.
That said, the fact that a trampoline in the ground reduces the height people can fall if they leave the trampoline is a major plus. And if you have a soft surface around the trampoline, such as grass, pea gravel, sand, or padding, you can greatly reduce the instances of falling injuries.
Pro #2 – Aesthetics
Another benefit has to do with the aesthetics of the yard. Some people find trampolines to be eyesores and struggle with where to put one in their yard. So putting one in the ground can be a viable option for those who want to keep their yard looking pristine. Some people may even go so far as to plant small shrubs or flowers around the trampoline once it’s in the ground, or surround it with other decorative landscaping features.
Pro #3 – No Grass to Worry About
It’s no secret that trampolines can kill grass. In some climates, this doesn’t happen, but for many, grass care becomes more involved when there’s a trampoline blocking sunlight and rainfall. But with an in-ground trampoline, the grass is no longer a worry.
Pro #4 – No Net Needed
Above ground trampolines often have enclosure nets to keep people from falling off. With an in-ground trampoline, this isn’t strictly necessary. Since the risk of falling is minimized, many people forego the enclosure net. Of course, those who want to maximise the safety of their in-ground trampoline can still use a safety net if they want to.
Now let’s look at the cons.
Con #1 – More Work
There’s no question that installing an in-ground trampoline is more work than simply setting up an above-ground trampoline. From digging the hole and shoring up the sides to making sure there’s enough airflow, it’s not the easiest option available. While this work may be worth it to some, for others, it’s simply too much. I cover exactly what work it entails later in this article.
Con #2 – Maintenance is Difficult
Since the trampoline sits in the ground, maintenance becomes more difficult. Granted, most trampolines don’t need a ton of maintenance, but when it comes time to check the springs, tighten bolts, and ensure that the trampoline is level, things become a little more complicated than doing the same maintenance on an above-ground trampoline.
Con #3 – Water, Dirt, and Critters
The last con on the list is all about what gets into the hole in which the trampoline sits. Water is a common issue, which is why it’s important to have some kind of drainage solution (more on that later). Also, if the sides of the hole aren’t properly shored-up, dirt can fall away from them and slowly fill in the hole. Critters can also get trapped underneath the trampoline, and getting them out can be an ordeal.
What to Consider When Putting a Normal Trampoline in the Ground
Now that we’ve covered the general pros and cons, let’s take a look at what to consider when putting a normal trampoline in the ground.
Air flow becomes important when you put a normal trampoline in the ground. If there’s not enough space for the air to escape from under the trampoline when people are jumping, it will limit how high you can jump on it. Installing the trampoline with several inches of clearance can remedy this, but this also leaves room for accidents since the trampoline isn’t flush with the ground; little hands or feet can get caught between the frame and the ground.
When you put a normal trampoline in a hole, you’re exposing it to excess moisture. Most normal trampolines aren’t designed with constant moisture in mind, so the frame and springs can rust quicker than they otherwise would.
Putting a normal trampoline in the ground requires a deeper hole than is required for most in-ground trampolines. This means more work to dig a deeper hole, which can cost time and money.
Is it Safe to Bury a Trampoline?
When done correctly, it’s safe to bury a trampoline in the ground. However, when done incorrectly, the risk of injury is increased. Trampolines placed in the ground without proper support can become unlevel quickly. If the sides of the hall aren’t properly supported, dirt can fill in the hole, which can cause injury if someone bounces low enough to hit the ground.
How Hard is it to Put a Trampoline in the Ground?
Putting a trampoline in the ground is no small job. Digging the hole is the most labor-intensive part, and it often requires professional help. To get it done quickly, heavy machinery (such as a backhoe) will be required. Also, ensuring that the trampoline remains level and that the sides of the hole don’t crumble over time takes planning and effort.
With professional help, the project can be done in a weekend. But if it’s a DIY project with one or two people, it’s likely to take longer to finish.
How Do You Put a Trampoline in the Ground?
There are several steps to putting a trampoline in the ground. In this section, I’ll go over the common steps for installing a normal trampoline in the ground. Keep in mind that your specific circumstances may vary somewhat.
1. Get the Area Cleared
The first thing you should do before digging a hole is get the area cleared. This is generally a free service offered by municipal governments to make sure people don’t accidentally dig up power lines, fiber optic cables, sewer lines, and the like. You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t have any sprinkler lines in the area. If you do, they’ll need to be rerouted around the hole.
2. Know Your Soil
Knowing the soil type in your area is important so you can determine whether you’ll need some type of drainage system. Some areas have soil that facilitates drainage without any additional help. Others have soil that doesn’t. If you have the latter, you’ll want to arrange a sump pump or some other drainage system for the trampoline hole.
3. Dig the Hole
This is the most labor intensive part, so you’ll want a plan in place. Hiring a landscaper or someone who has experience in digging trampoline holes is always a good option. You can often find someone who will dig the hole and haul away the dirt for anywhere between $200 and $500.
If you do it yourself, make sure to dig the hole slightly larger than the circumference of the trampoline. If you have a 15-foot trampoline, digging a 16-foot hole can give you enough room to work with.
The hole should be deeper in the center and slope gently up to a flat ridge all the way around on which you’ll place the trampoline’s legs. Keep in mind that you’ll want your normal trampoline to stick above the hole 8 to 12-inches for airflow, so make sure you measure appropriately.
4. Build the Retaining Wall and Install Drain
In order to keep the dirt walls from collapsing inside, you’ll want to install a retaining wall. There are several ways to do this. Some people choose to add the wall to the frame itself, while others choose to add the wall around the perimeter of the whole, keeping it separate from the trampoline to make moving the trampoline for maintenance easier.
No matter the method you choose, this doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive endeavor. Some lumber cut to size and some sheet metal or flexible plastic landscaping material can do the trick.
If you need a drain system, this is the time to install it. Most people go with a sump pump installed in the bottom of the hole. If your soil drains adequately, you can move to the next step.
5. Install the Trampoline
Now it’s time to install the trampoline. Put the frame in first and make sure it is level before you put the springs and mat on. Once you have the trampoline installed, you may need to make little adjustments, such as filling in gaps behind the retaining wall with dirt. Once these adjustments are made, it’s time to enjoy the trampoline!
Regular Trampoline vs In-Ground Trampoline
There are some significant differences between regular and in-ground trampolines when it comes to putting them in the ground. Perhaps the most significant are the facts that in-ground trampolines come with retaining walls and that they’re generally shorter than above-ground trampolines. These two factors influence the installation process, making it easier for in-ground trampolines.
The ready-built retaining wall means that you don’t have to build your own. And the fact that in-ground trampolines are shorter than regular ones means you don’t have to dig as deep a hole as you would with a regular trampoline. Sometimes the frame and the retaining wall are one and the same, which makes installation even easier.
But the differences don’t end there. In-ground trampolines come with vented spring pads, which allow for airflow, which gives you higher bounce even if the trampoline is level or close to level with the ground. Plus, with regular trampolines installed in the ground, you’ll often get an annoying slapping sound as the air lifts the spring pads on every jump. This gets old pretty quickly.
In-ground trampolines are made to withstand the moisture that comes with sitting in a hole in the ground. The springs and frame are specially made not to rust when exposed to constant moisture. This means that, over a long period, an in-ground trampoline will outlast a regular trampoline placed in the ground.
In-Ground Trampoline Recommendation
If you’re looking for an in-ground trampoline, you can’t go wrong with this one from In-Ground Trampoline Systems. This American-made in-ground trampoline’s frame is made from 14-gauge galvanized steel piping and 18-gauge steel panels that act together as the frame and the retaining walls. All the hardware is stainless steel and the springs are heavy-duty and rust-resistant. Additionally, each component comes with a comprehensive warranty.
- Pre-engineered In-Ground Trampoline system
- Designed, engineered and made in the USA!
- Unrivaled performance and quality
- All freight deliveries are curbside. If inside or...
You can put a normal trampoline in the ground, but there are some significant drawbacks to doing so. If you have a trampoline already and you want to put it in the ground, it may be worth the extra effort it takes to do so, as buying a new in-ground trampoline would likely be cost-prohibitive. However, if you don’t yet have a trampoline, it’s best to purchase an in-ground trampoline that will require less work on your part and will last longer in the ground.