Installing a trampoline correctly takes a bit of know-how. Though it may seem intuitive, you don’t want to wing it regarding the safety of your setup. That’s why The Backyartisan is your go-to stop for all things trampoline!
In this article, we will cover an important aspect of trampoline installation – what to put UNDER your trampoline. You may not have known that you have options! Alas, there’s more to it than you might think.
Before you break out the trampoline box and start assembling, consider these few things for the placement of your trampoline:
- What surfaces do you have in your yard?
- Are there any stationary objects, like trees or storage sheds, that you’ll need to work around?
- How important is yard aesthetic to you?
- How much upkeep are you willing to do?
- How earth-friendly do you want your trampoline set up to be?
Once you’ve thought about the answers to those questions, you can better understand where you can place your trampoline. And a big part of placement is what goes underneath! Work with what you have, or figure out a DIY solution; the top picks for trampoline placement surfaces are listed below!
Option 1: Good ol’ Grass!
The simplest fix to a safe underfoot for your trampoline is probably already sitting in your yard… it’s grass! Soft, cushy, and plentiful, the green stuff is a great choice for a trampoline base.
However, after your trampoline has been placed for some time, you might notice the grass underneath isn’t looking so good. With a lack of sunlight and adequate water, plants cannot thrive, and you may be left with dying grass.
Thankfully, you can remedy this situation by moving your trampoline around every few weeks, even just by a few feet. This might not be the most accessible choice, though, especially if you have a small yard or spent a reasonable amount of time properly anchoring your trampoline.
If moving your trampoline around the yard is unreasonable, you can try to keep that grass alive by completing a few tasks. Try watering it every so often, especially during heat waves, and adding an earth-friendly grass booster to give it the nutrients it needs to thrive.
- Accessible in your yard
- Easy to anchor trampoline
- Comfortable footing for jumpers to approach the trampoline
- Grass may die
Option 2: Sand!
Get those beachy vibes by installing a shallow sand pit for your trampoline to sit upon. Choosing this option is a great way to negate the dying grass of the typical install method. It also provides a slight cushion for kids falling or jumping off the trampoline. Toss some sand toys underneath the trampoline to give the kids another place to play!
Though there are some fun considerations when it comes to a sand layer, you must also consider the downsides. After any trip to the beach, you know that when kids come in contact with sand, it gets everywhere. Yes, you will find it in their socks, clothes, hair, and probably in your house.
Also, know that digging an expanse for the sand, then purchasing the sand, will run you up a pretty penny.
- No finicky grass to worry about
- Still easy to anchor the trampoline
- Simple install
- It may be an expensive project
- Sand, sand, everywhere!
Option 3: Mulch It Up!
Another decent alternative to grass is using mulch. You’ve got your choices here too! Mulch comes in various styles, like rubber tires, pine needles, wood chips, and more. There’s a reason you find mulch under almost every playground…it’s cushy! Mulch offers a surface with a bit of rebound, so it can be a safer option for falls and tumbles.
Yet, just like the sand, if you choose this option, you’re in for a bit of a project. Digging a ditch and installing the mulch you choose can be costly. It’s best to pick earth-friendly choices, like wood chips or pine needles, that will naturally decompose with time. Rubber tire bits may be bouncy, but they’re not doing anything good for the environment. And they get very hot!
As with any loosely compacted material, you may be inviting unwanted guests to inhabit the world under your trampoline. Bugs love to make their homes in wood chipping and loose material. We can’t be too upset, though; they were here before we were!
Our favorite choice for the most aesthetically pleasing, yet least time-intensive project is this: create a living terrarium under your trampoline!
- Install a thin layer of wood chip mulch just underneath your trampoline (you can also add a rubber garden barrier to keep the mulch in place & avoid having to dig a pit for it).
- Plant some shade-loving plants underneath the trampoline, like ferns!
You’ll be able to properly level and anchor your trampoline, avoid the dreaded dying grass, and level up the looks of your yard! Designating the space as a terrarium will invite critters, but they’ll be happy to hang among the plants.
- Relatively simple project
- Rebounding surface
- Costly project
- It can be a bad environmental choice if you use artificial mulch
Option 4: Grass, But Make It Fake
If you still want that green look to your yard, but don’t want to risk real grass dying underneath your trampoline, you can choose to install artificial grass. Fake turf is a popular choice for play areas and jungle gyms, as it lasts a long time, is durable, and offers a more forgiving fall surface than concrete.
But spend any time at a local football field, and you’ll be finding little rubber bits everywhere you set your feet. It looks great from afar, but get close, and you’ll get those black bobbles stuck in every crevice of your shoes and toys.
- Realistic aesthetic
- Low maintenance
- Can still anchor the trampoline
- Expensive install
- Rubber bits everywhere!
Option 5: Dirt
If you don’t have grass in your yard, you probably have dirt! You can install your trampoline directly on top of any earth type, as long as it isn’t too rocky. Remember that even if your kids jump safely, someone is still likely to fall off at some point.
Dirt underneath a trampoline can seem like a compact surface, but it might be your only choice. You’ll still be able to properly anchor your trampoline, though it might need some extra TLC with all the dust that jumping will kick up.
- No cost
- Easy install and anchoring
- No grass to die
- Not the best aesthetic appeal
Is There a “Best” Option?
All in all, the best choice when it comes to what to put under your trampoline is likely good ol’ grass. It’s the lowest cost, has a softer surface, and is probably the most accessible to you. Yes, you’ll have to do some general upkeep, but that’s what having a yard, and a trampoline, is all about, isn’t it?
But, don’t forget our favorite setup of creating a living terrarium underneath your trampoline! Scroll up to “Option 3: Mulch it up!” to learn more!
What about installing an underground trampoline? This way, you wouldn’t need to worry much about what type of surface lies under your above-ground model. Though, some users still choose to surround their underground trampoline with a more-cushioned surface to more safely break inevitable falls.
Unfortunately, this option can be very time intensive and expensive. Still, it’s worth it to weigh your options when considering adding a trampoline to your yard.
Options that aren’t so great:
There are some under-trampoline options that are not the best choice for safety or stability. We do not recommend the following setups:
- Rocky or uneven terrain
- Significant slope (without leveling)
Other Tips To Prepare Your Yard For a Trampoline
Adhere to these quick tips when choosing a location for a trampoline in your backyard and keep jumping safe:
- Away from trees! Position your trampoline at least 15 feet away from trees and other structures in your yard
- Safety net! We always recommend installing a safety net on your trampoline. They make jumping much safer and allow you to worry a lot less about the surface your kids could tumble off onto.
- Stick to the rules! Keep kids jumping safely by enacting some family rules for the trampoline. Try some like:
- No jumping with shoes
- Only use the entrance/exit to board the trampoline
- No pets on the trampoline
- Regular maintenance. Make sure that the trampoline stays in tip-top shape!
- Level your surface. Part of choosing a good surface for underneath your trampoline is making sure it’s level! A cushy spot is no good if your trampoline sits at an unsafe angle.
However your yard is set up, you have different choices regarding what to put under your trampoline. Don’t stress too much about it. Remember that you can work with what you already have in your yard and find a way to offer a safe and acceptable jumping area for your kids!