How To Install an In-Ground Trampoline? [The Bottom Line]
When pushed to give an answer, many people will say that they prefer in-ground set-ups over above-ground trampolines; they just don’t want to bother with set-up and installation.
I can relate to that. And the truth of it is:
In-ground installations really are a much bigger commitment than above ground set-ups. You might spend a little time and effort fiddling with your above-ground trampoline, but in-ground trampolines definitely take the cake on this one.
- 1 The Bottom Line?
- 2 Finding yard space
- 3 Read instructions and construct frame
- 4 Mark out your frame above ground
- 5 Take another look at your hole diagram in the instructions
- 6 7 step installation:
- 7 Why should I install an in-ground trampoline in the first place?
- 8 How deep to install an in-ground trampoline?
- 9 In Ground Trampoline Maintenance
- 10 Can you put a normal trampoline in the ground?
- 11 The Takeaway
If you have a good enough reason to do it, the installation process won’t be enough to hold you back.
Sure, it may take you an extra hour or two, but if you really a group together, put on some music and make a day of it, setting up your in-ground trampoline can be a great way to spend your weekend. And at the end of it all? You’ll have the trampoline set-up you wanted all along–no compromises.
That all being said, there are a few things you’ll want to keep an eye out for when setting up your in-ground tramp. This post will walk you through the installation process; give you some handy tips to save time; and prepare you for maintaining your in-ground trampoline so that it lasts as long as it should.
Here is a quick time-lapse of how to install an in-ground trampoline:
Let’s get into the step by step process.
Finding yard space
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you have an ideal yard space to install your in-ground trampoline.
Remember, we’re talking in-ground. That means that your ‘yard space’ actually extends downward, beneath the ground, too. When you are preparing to set-up your in-ground trampoline, you need to make sure that you have a good 3-4 feet of vacant soil. That means:
1) No large rocks or stones that will be impossible to dig through;
2) No gas lines;
3) No plumbing; and
4) No large tree roots.
If you don’t know what’s lurking beneath the soil in your backyard, it might be useful to make a quick call to your local city planning office (they can tell you if you’re likely to strike any major pipes or power lines!).
Of course, the same goes for the space above ground. When it comes to in-ground trampolines, it is even more important to consider your trampoline buffer zone; the space immediately surrounding your trampoline. You might think that if you have a 10 foot trampoline, all you need is ten feet of space–you’d be surprised how many people want to install their trampolines right up against their house, fence, garage or tree life.
In-ground trampolines are advantageous to above ground trampolines for their ease of access. This advantage is take away when you plant it right up next to an obstacle. It also poses a safety threat for when you are bouncing. It’s one thing to take a tumble from the trampoline and land on a patch of grass; it’s quite another to be met with stones, bricks or a wooden fence!
Read instructions and construct frame
Once you’ve found your ideal yard space, time to begin constructing.
Most in-ground trampolines are designed for easy DIY construction–so it should be pretty straightforward. Take a look through the provided instructions and read from beginning to end.
You don’t need to consider every detail, but it’s good to just get your head around the steps to come before starting the process. When you know what the end goal will look like, you can already start saving yourself time and anticipating the next step.
Construct your in ground trampoline retaining wall frame as per instructions. Here are videos for popular trampoline brand frame constructions:
You’ll want to do this above ground, then line up the completed frame with where you’d like to dig for your in-ground installation. Be sure to lock in each section firmly, as this will ensure that your trampoline is shaped correctly (you don’t want to find your mistakes later, after you’ve already poured your retaining wall!).
Mark out your frame above ground
Once you’ve put together your trampoline frame, place it where you would like your trampoline to be. Then, taking a can of spray paint, mark out your hole’s location by spraying along the rim of your trampoline.
Use the frame as a template for your digging hole, and don’t be afraid of spraying on the frame by accident–remember, it’s all going to be underground anyway!
Take another look at your hole diagram in the instructions
Most in-ground trampolines will require an outer and inner hole.
The outer hole is shallower, and this is where the frame and retainer wall will sit. The inner hole needs to be deeper, so that the trampoline mat can extend down into the pit without obstruction. It’s a good idea to visualize the end product before beginning with your digging.
7 step installation:
You’ll want to dig the outer hole first. This can be anywhere from 20-30 centimeters deep, and even though the inner hole will be deeper, it’s a good idea to just start with this depth for the entire space of your hole.
Of course, if you dig a little deeper in the center, it’s no problem, but you should end up with a flat hole that is submerged at the depth specified by your installation instructions.
Dig the inner hole
Measure out how wide the outer hole needs to be, then get digging on your inner hole. Generally, this inner hole will be about twice as deep as your outer hole.
If you like (or as per instructions) you can curve this hole gradually, so that it ends up as a deep bowl shape in the middle of the pit, with steep sides leading into the outer hole.
Otherwise, you can simply dig to the required depth all the way around.
Assemble your mat and springs
This is where it’s good to be working in a group.
Ideally, you will be able to work across from one another–so that you can keep a good tension on the mat while you attach the springs to the v-rings and trampoline frame.
There’s no need to rush this part. Make sure that all of your springs, frame holes and v-rings line up (and that you haven’t skipped any by accident) before submerging your trampoline below ground.
Anti-weed layer, inner wall and extras
Depending on the brand of your in-ground trampoline, this will be a good time to install some useful extras.
For example, you may have a pilot wall which attaches to the trampoline frame for added support. Fix these to your trampoline above ground.
Then, I’m a fan of trampolines that provide an anti-weed layer or membrane.
Fit this breathable fabric over your hole, cutting it to fit as needed. This will serve as a protective layer between your trampoline and the soil, ensuring that no weeds come creeping up along your frame or springs.
Fit your trampoline
Now it’s time for your hard work to pay off.
Lift your trampoline and fit it into the hole so that the frame rests on the outer hole’s ledge.
Then, back-fill the edges of your hole with soil and re-turf your grass where necessary. Make sure that your trampoline sits firmly in the hole, and that there is plenty of empty space beneath the springs and mat for ventilation.
You don’t want to pile dirt back in underneath the springs–leave this space open for good airflow.
Final adjustments and additions
If you have vented padding and/or safety nets, now is the time to add them. If you do want to use padding, finding something that is breathable will be a good idea.
In-ground trampolines depend on good airflow to produce a decent bounce–when the air is trapped beneath the mat, you can get a hard, uncomfortable bounce (and that’s no fun for anyone).
You’re ready to roll. Pack up your tools, clear away any excess dirt, and enjoy the final product of your labor!
Why should I install an in-ground trampoline in the first place?
You may have made it this far while wondering if installing an in-ground trampoline is even worth the trouble.
The truth is:
It may not be. There are a reasons that people prefer in-ground trampolines to their above-ground counterparts, but they aren’t for everyone.
Some people like the fact that:
- In-ground trampolines can sit flush with the ground, and are aesthetically more pleasing than above-ground trampolines;
- In-ground trampolines are easier to access; and
- They believe that in-ground trampolines are safer than above ground trampolines.
This final point, unfortunately, is not true. Many people will purchase an in-ground trampoline believing that this is actually a safety move. Since in-ground trampolines are closer to the ground, they think that this eliminates a major number of trampoline-related accidents, and isn’t this the case?
The truth is, the majority of trampoline injuries are related to landing on springs and frames. In-ground trampolines also use springs and frames, so they can’t save you from these hazards.
That’s what padding and safety nets are for though, and it’s always a good idea to install these with your trampoline–in-ground or above-ground.
Even though it is true that you or your child will fall from a lower distance, as you can see by digging your hole; this distance is only a couple of feet. The best safety precautions you can take for your in-ground trampoline is to install a safety net and ventilated padding to cover the frame and springs.
How deep to install an in-ground trampoline?
It’s worth mentioning quickly that ‘too deep’ can actually pose more problems than good.
Ideally, you actually want to dig your outer hole to be slightly shallower than that the height of your trampoline frame. Yes: this means that the trampoline frame will be sticking out above the ground slightly, and can be a tripping hazard. However, by doing so, you will allow for the best airflow and ventilation with your trampoline. It just depends on your preference.
The alternative is to dig just as deep as the trampoline frame is tall. That will have your in-ground trampoline sitting flush with ground, though it may not provide the same level of airflow as the method above. Simply put? If you’re going for aesthetics, install your trampoline to be flat and flush with the ground.
If you want the best bounce you can get out of your in ground trampoline, then dig your outer hole slightly shallower than the height of your frame.
Under no circumstance is it a good idea to dig deeper than necessary. This will almost certainly have a negative effect on airflow, increase the likelihood of rust and other unwanted problems.
In Ground Trampoline Maintenance
This leads us to our final topic.
In-ground trampolines do take a little more care and nurturing than above-ground designs.
This has to do with a couple of things. For starters, unlike above ground trampolines, in-ground installations keep some of the major components out of sight. If your frame is rusting or damaged in some other way, this is often hidden from view and can go unnoticed.
Also, the below-ground pit can quickly serve as a breeding ground for insect infestations. It’s extremely important that during installation you make provisions for the appropriate drainage system in your retaining wall.
For rain, snow and even the run-off water from gardening, you will want to make sure that your in-ground trampoline pit doesn’t serve as a luxury swimming pool for underground creatures and insects. With proper in-ground trampoline drainage, this shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s another reason that in-ground trampolines require a little more maintenance than above-ground models.
Can you put a normal trampoline in the ground?
Yes. Another option for in-ground trampolines is to take your existing above ground model and submerge it beneath the ground.
This will take a little bit more work than simply digging a hole and covering up the frame–you’ll need to go out and purchase some extra equipment to make the transformation work.
For example, manufactured in-ground trampoline designs include ready-made support structures for your frame once it is submerged. They also make provisions for proper drainage systems and other underground-related issues that you will run into.
While it is certainly possible to make these adjustments yourself, it is probably easier to stick with an in-ground model than transforming an above ground trampoline into something else.
Installing your in-ground trampoline will take you a little bit of time and effort, but there’s nothing complicated about the process.
Take your time with each step to ensure that once it’s set in the ground, you don’t need to dig it up and make any last-minute changes!
Here are a few related posts: