So your kids have finally convinced you to get a trampoline. You considered the risk, the costs, and exactly how much fun it will be. But, now that you have a trampoline, how do you set the thing up?
If you’re here, you probably want some pointers. Don’t panic. We’re going to give you a step-by-step guide to safely putting together your first trampoline.
Here’s everything we’ll be covering:
- Where to put your trampoline
- Unboxing your trampoline and reviewing materials
- Typical tools you’ll be needing
- How to assemble the frame
- How to set up the mat
- How to set up the safety net
- Fun accessories to think about adding-on
Where Should the Trampoline Go in Your Backyard?
Everyone has different amounts of space. Whether you’re on a sprawling rural lot or city allotment, you’re going to want to consider the safest place in your yard.
Part of picking the right spot means knowing your measurements. Hopefully, you’ve measured your yard before purchasing your trampoline. If you didn’t, now would be a great time.
Once you’re sure your trampoline will fit in your space, you’re going to want to pick a spot free of obstructions. Namely, far enough from anything you don’t want your kid to fall on.
For example, you don’t want it too close to the exterior of your house if you can avoid it. You don’t want kids bouncing off onto a wall. Hard surfaces are also best avoided.
Unboxing Your Trampoline and Reviewing the Materials
When you have a spot picked out, you should lay out all of your supplies. Open up your package and lay everything out. Your trampoline should have come with a manual. Make sure you can find all the pieces in it.
Depending on the size of your trampoline, it should take between 2(for a small 6ft model)-4 hours(15ft model) to set up.
Of course, there are different models, but here’s what you should typically expect to see in the box.
- Round/hexagonal trampoline steel frame
- Trampoline legs
- Trampoline T-section joints (where the legs will attach)
- The trampoline mat and springs
- Poles for the safety net
- The safety netting
- Anchor kit pegs and strings (not necessarily in all kits)
- The trampoline spring cover and padding (to cover the springs when in use and protect your feet)
Typical Tools You’ll be Needing
If you have a toolbox already, most of what you need should already be in it. The trampoline kit you ordered will likely come with some tools too. Just in case, we’ll lay out the tools you should have on hand.
The nice thing is, there aren’t too many things you’ll need. Most people will have at least a power drill and Philip’s head screwdriver in their home. A rubber mallet and spring puller will usually come with the package, but if they didn’t, you’d want to get them.
You’ll also want to wear gloves when you attach the springs (it’s easy for skin to get caught in them). So keep your gloves nearby.
How to Assemble the Frame
The first thing you need to do is set up the circular trampoline frame. All the other pieces are going to be attached to it.
You want to make sure you have all your parts before you get started. You can eyeball it and see if the steel frame pieces form a circle. As a general rule, you should have the same amount of T-joints to frame parts. So, for example, with an 8ft trampoline, you should have about 6 to 8 frame pieces. That may be different with some models.
The T-joints are where the trampoline’s legs will connect. The first thing you need to do is connect the T-joints to the longer frame pieces. After they’re connected correctly, you should see a perfect circle that is the shape your trampoline will be.
If everything looks good, no weird shapes, no missing pieces, it’s the right size, etc. You can put the legs on. You should be able to easily see where the legs will screw into the T-sections.
You should notice that the tops of the legs have a piece that extends past the top of the frame. That’s the place where the enclosure poles will eventually attach.
Once you have a proper standing circle, you’re almost ready for the mat. Be sure that the frame is sturdy and your screws are tight before moving onto the next step.
How to Set Up the Mat
The mat’s your jumping area. You’re going to want to handle this carefully. Once you know your frame is set up securely, you should lay out the trampoline mat. Before you attach it, check it and the springs carefully for signs of wear and tear. Here’s what you ought to be looking for.
- Carefully look over the mat for any tears or holes. It will be unusable if it has any.
- Check the springs. They should be tightly wound and unused and rust-free.
- Whichever model you ordered should have come with a trampoline spring pull tool. Make sure you have one. Also known as a T-Hook, it will be the thing that looks like a T with a hook on the end.
Once you’re confident everything looks good, we can attach the mat to the frame. This is also when you may want to wear gloves.
You’re going to hook one end of the spring to the eyelet in the mat and the other to the attachment in the steel frame. The spring pull tool is for precisely that, pulling the tense spring between the mat and the frame. You may use a rubber mallet to pound the spring’s hooks into place.
After attaching your first spring, you’ll want to put the next one opposite the first one. This will pull the mat taught across the frame. After that, you’ll want to attach the next springs rotating about 90degrees for every placement until you’ve attached them all.
Remember that we’re being precise for a reason. With the increased tension, it will become more challenging to attach the springs. You need the spring placement to be even the whole way through. It also helps reduce the potential for damage to the mat while it’s being made up.
At no point do you want all the springs to be on one side with only one or two on the other side. This will put stress on the weaker side and could cause rips or tears. Once you have all of the springs attached you’re going to see an almost-ready-to-use trampoline.
How to Set Up the Safety Net
This is just as, if not more important than any other part of the process. The safety net can save you or your kids from serious injury. It keeps your kids on the bouncy mat and prevents them from falling onto the ground.
When you’re ready to start setting up the netting check that you have your materials. The safety net is simple: it should be made up of enclosure poles, steel rods, attachment joints for each rod, and netting.
Even though you now have a setup you can bounce on, don’t let your kids use the trampoline without setting up the safety net first. For more safety tips, head over to our trampoline safety checklist.
The Safety Padding
Though you don’t need to, we suggest putting on the padding first. You don’t want to risk stepping on the springs as you work on and around the mat. The padding is usually placed over the springs and attached with velcro or loops in the frame or on the mat. It doesn’t typically require tools.
First, you’ll need to attach the enclosure poles. On most models, these will attach to the legs of the trampoline. For trampolines under 8ft, there are usually three support poles, and they will need assembly.
The bottom part of the pole will usually slot together to the top of the trampoline legs. Then, the second half of the pole should screw on top of that. You should end up with poles that come above your head (if your trampoline is meant for an older kid or adult-use).
Now, we’re going to put together and attach the safety netting. First, screw the steel rods together with the joints. Then, you’re going to pull the steel rods through the top of the netting. There should be a hole to pull them through. Once they’re in the netting, you’re going to attach them in a circular ring.
The netting should be able to be held in a circle around the trampoline. You’re going to attach the top of the netting (with the rods in it) to the top of the trampoline enclosure poles.
Finally, you’re going to secure the bottom of the netting to the bottom of the trampoline. It’ll usually attach to the bottom through loops in the trampoline mat or the steel frame.
Once it’s all attached (it should look like this), you should test your trampoline. Bounce on it a few times to see that it holds your weight. If anything seems unsteady, fix the problem before letting your kids use it. Usually, you can tighten up anything with a power drill.
If you still notice unsteadiness, call the company you purchased from and ask for replacement parts. If you have noticed any problems, do not use the trampoline until the problem has been fixed. Once everything is tried and tested and meets your approval, it’s time for some fun.
Fun Accessories to Think About Adding-On
With the safety netting done, your trampoline is ready for use. Though you’re all set, we suggest that you think about adding a ladder and anchoring your trampoline for extra safety. The ladder will help your youngest kids quickly get on and off the trampoline.
If your model didn’t come with an anchor kit, you might want to purchase one and secure your trampoline to the ground. This prevents it from falling over with a kid on it and also from being blown away in a storm.
Remember, you can do more than jump on a trampoline. Now that you’ve finished the hard work of the setup, enjoy your trampoline with extras.
Depending on size, you can add soccer nets, basketball goals, game mats, and more. There are sun shades that can attach to the top of your safety net to keep the bouncing area from becoming too hot in the sun. For very young kids or toddlers, you should think about adding a handlebar for them to hold onto.
For kids who like to camp out in the backyard, there are tents made to fit specific trampoline models. They can sleep outside, covered on the trampoline for a fun and comfortable night. There are so many creative add-ons for kids.
Adults, in addition to pure fun, may use trampolines for exercise and athletic training. If you’ve bought a model that is ready for adult use, consider some of these add-ons.
You can purchase a punching bag that attaches easily to the safety net you installed. You can also get a handlebar that will take an adult’s weight and use it for workouts. Jumping alone has excellent cardio benefits, so you and your kids will have fun and be healthy either way.
Spending over a hundred dollars to have someone else set up your trampoline is a waste when you can do it yourself. It’s easy and gratifying to do for your kids. If you’ve followed these steps closely, then you should have a new, fun, and safe toy for your kids.
Just don’t let your neighbors know you did it yourself, or they’ll want you to set up theirs too. The steps explained in this guide can be applied to most trampoline models and sizes. Also – when you move, be sure to read our guide on how to disassemble a trampoline.