As a kid, my dad fell off our trampoline landed on a half-buried 2×4. Luckily he was ok.
While a 2×4’s sticking out of the ground is definitely not a good idea, here are a few ideas for what to put under a trampoline that is safe and looks good.
The best things for under your trampoline include rubber mulch, wood chips, play sand, artificial grass, decorative rocks, concrete, pavers, or putting your trampoline in the ground.
Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Read to the end for my number one recommendation.
1. Trampoline Net
The most important thing to consider when thinking about what to put under your trampoline is “Safety First.”
The safest thing to do is prevent anyone from falling off in the first place.
Weed prevention and esthetics is also important but secondary to safety.
That’s why I highly recommend purchasing a trampoline that comes with a net around it.
That way if someone does fall off they will get caught by the safety net instead of landing on a half-buried 2×4 like my dad!
I highly recommend Skywalker Trampolines. They sell high-quality trampolines of all sizes and shapes that all come top of the line safety nets.
That way you can worry more about what will prevent weeks and look the best rather than what is the safest.
2. Rubber mulch
When you think of landing on the ground, you want to land on things that are soft.
A trampoline can be much like landing on the ground if you jump too deep.
I did not have a trampoline growing up, but one time we went to a friends house and my dad was jumping with me.
One of his jumps was a little too high and when he came down, the trampoline sunk all the way to the ground.
There just happened to be a two by four in the ground right where he landed.
That was not the soft landing he was hoping for.
Rubber mulch is one of those things that helps you have a soft landing.
Most playgrounds and football fields nowadays are filled in with rubber mulch. There are a few reasons for this.
- Rubber mulch deteriorates very slowly, so it will last longer than almost anything you put under your trampoline
- It’s softer and bouncier than other options like wood chips. Jumping on a trampoline, a bouncier option underneath might be preferred.
- Because it’s softer, you don’t need as thick as coverage as you would with something else
Using rubber mulch, you do not have to worry about what is growing underneath your trampoline because the mulch will keep most things at bay. There won’t be any grass or plants.
To apply the rubber mulch, you start off by digging a circle, or whatever shape your trampoline is, where the trampoline would be placed.
You will need a minimum of 3 inches of depth to the circle to apply the mulch.
Once you have the circle dug, apply the rubber mulch.
Unfortunately, rubber mulch is not on the cheap side.
If you have a 14-foot circle trampoline, you need around 156 square feet of mulch, or 43 cubic feet.
Right now you can buy that cubic feet of rubber mulch for around $340.
After the mulch has been applied, move the trampoline over the mulch.
If you want to protect your children a little more, spend a little more money on rubber mulch and extend the circle out bigger than the trampoline.
Then, if someone falls off the trampoline, they land on the rubber mulch instead of the hard ground.
3. Bury your trampoline
There are a number of benefits to burying your trampoline.
The trampoline is no longer a few feet off of the ground, keeping kids safe from falling off and hurting themselves.
You don’t have to worry much about what you put underneath the trampoline, or what is growing underneath the trampoline.
You also have more control of what is underneath the trampoline.
Depending on how the hole is dug, the middle of the hole can and should be deeper than the outside.
This keeps whoever is jumping safe, whether a small kid or a full grown adult.
We have had a trampoline that was buried under ground, and we had upwards of two adults and 5 kids on the trampoline jumping at the same time.
No one got hurt because the middle was so much deeper than the rest.
If you want the trampoline to be even more secure, you can build a frame for your hole and screw the trampoline into the sides of the frame.
A downside to a inground trampoline is if someone gets under it.
If a spring comes off the trampoline, and you have mischievous kids or pet, they might climb under the trampoline without anyone knowing.
If someone then jumps on the trampoline, the person underneath could get very hurt.
So always make sure to replace any missing springs immediately.
Of course another downside to the inground trampoline is getting the hole in the ground in the first place.
A friend of mine once dug a hole for their trampoline and it took him a whole 6 months of digging a little bit a day to get the hole deep enough.
You might find it easier to dig a hole if you have a rectangular or square trampoline, instead of a circle.
Your other option is to pay someone to dig the hole for you.
You can contact your local gardening or landscaping company to come out and give you a quote, or find a friend with an auger.
4. Play Sand
Play sand has a lot of the same benefits of rubber mulch. It’s soft and takes impact pretty well.
If anything, you will like hitting the play sand compared to regular lawn underneath the trampoline.
Play sand will cost around the same as the rubber mulch, though.
At around $5 a bag, each bag covers 1/2 cubic feet, so around 80 bags will fill up the same amount of space as the rubber mulch.
5. Wood chips
Growing up for me, wood chips were the preferred padding for most play grounds. They were readily available, which meant they were relatively cheap for schools or cities to use.
You can still get wood chips relatively cheap.
Depending on the kind of wood chips you want, and I think in this application it doesn’t matter too much, you can get bags covering 2 cubic feet for $3-$5.
So instead of a few hundred dollars for rubber mulch or play sand, you are looking at under $100 for all the wood chips you need.
You might also want to do some searching online or asking around and you might be able to find wood chips for free.
Wood chips aren’t the softest thing you can put under your trampoline, but you can save quite a bit of money.
Wood chips are also good at keeping any growth at bay, so no worries about weeds growing up under the trampoline.
6. Get rid of the grass
Most people I knew growing up had grass underneath their trampoline.
I have learned that if you want a trampoline in your yard, you have to put it in a place where you do not care about the grass.
Unless you want to put a lot of work into maintaining the grass.
Any grass under a trampoline is going to be in the shade and will not get a whole lot of sun.
There is a pretty good chance that most of the grass is going to wither and die. Any grass left over is going to look very patchy.
Not only that, but the constant bouncing is going to dig into and dig up the grass.
What if I want to keep the grass?
If you want to keep the grass, the best thing you can do is the move trampoline on a regular basis.
Moving it regularly gives the grass an opportunity to catch up on the sunlight it had missed out on and possibly repair any damage done to it.
Some trampolines are pretty large and hard to move, so this might be a difficult option.
You might have to get a group of friends together to help you move it every so often.
If you plan to move your trampoline, move it whenever you mow the lawn. This will help you to remember when you need to move it.
Following these steps will help you to maintain the grass
- Mow the area you want to move the trampoline to
- Move the trampoline to the new area
- Mow the old area
- Repeat the above steps each time you mow
This does not guarantee that you will keep the lawn alive, but you at least give it the best chance.
If moving the trampoline is too much work for you, have some grass seed handy.
If the area under and around the trampoline is beginning to get patchy, throw some grass seed on the area and maybe even some soil.
Apply some water as well.
Is it safe to put a sprinkler under my trampoline?
No, do not put a sprinkler under your trampoline.
Your first worry with the trampoline should be the safety of the people jumping.
If someone jumps too deep like my dad did, they will end up hitting the sprinkler and getting hurt.
It is possible that when someone lands on the sprinkler, they could break the sprinkler as well.
If at all possible avoid having a sprinkler under your trampoline.
If you are moving your trampoline regularly, don’t move it over a sprinkler.
7. Artificial grass/grass mat
If you like the look of grass under your trampoline, but don’t want to maintain the grass, artificial grass is another option.
Artificial grass will take no maintenance at all and you will not need to move your trampoline around.
The artificial grass/grass mat will give you a little cushion as well for people jumping on the trampoline.
Unfortunately you won’t be saving very much money with this option.
Artificial grass costs around $40 for a 15 square foot piece, so 150 square feet of artificial grass will cost you somewhere around $400.
All of the above are good options for under your trampoline.
Rubber mulch, play sand, and artificial grass are all going to cost you around the same amount of money. But all are good for a nice look around your hard.
Wood chips is a cheaper option and is good for aesthetics, but it is not as soft as the others.
Removing the grass gives you very little maintenance, but does not look so great for your yard.
So when it comes down to it, you have to decide on what is the best look to you and how much you are willing to spend.