Having a trampoline in the backyard can be a wonderful way for kids to stay active and burn off some of their energy. However, trampolines can also be an unsightly safety hazard when installed in the traditional above-ground manner.
An above-ground trampoline requires safety netting and takes up dozens of square feet in the typical yard. Some homeowners have found a way around this dilemma by installing an in-ground trampoline.
Why Parents Love In-Ground Trampolines
Safety is always a concern when using an above-ground trampoline, even when surrounded by netting. A child or adult who jumps especially hard or at an awkward angle can still fall through the netting and sustain severe injury when falling to the ground. Kids love to invite their friends to play on their family’s trampoline, but parents typically do not want the liability that comes with such an invitation.
Parents also appreciate the improved accessibility of an in-ground trampoline. They do not have to set up netting each time someone wants to use it, making it easy to run off and on the trampoline throughout the day. The accessibility also provides parents with more opportunities to play and be active with their kids.
Gather the Proper Supplies for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Job
Homeowners have two options when it comes to installing an in-ground trampoline. They can buy a prepared kit or gather all supplies and do the job themselves. Since the second option can save people considerable money, many are willing to try their hand at it. Here are the supplies homeowners will need before they start digging a hole to bury the bottom portion of a trampoline:
- Several 1.5-inch self-tapping screws
- Four sheets of roofing material, 4 x 12 size
- Eight pieces of pressure treated wood, 2 x 4 x12 size
- 16 cinder blocks in the shape of a U
- Tamper to compact dirt
- Tin snips
Safety gear is extremely important as well. Those digging their own hole for an in-ground trampoline should plan to wear eye protection, thick gloves, and steel-toed boots to avoid significant injury in the process.
Digging the hole for an In-Ground Trampoline
Homeowners who do not have access to their own heavy-duty equipment would likely save the most money by hiring a professional landscaper to prepare a hole to bury the underside of the trampoline. The job is often too big to complete manually, which means people wanting an in-ground trampoline would need to rent earth-moving equipment anyway.
Landscapers also have more experience with removing rocks, breaking up stumps, and dealing with the other challenges of uncovering thousands of pounds of dirt.
The size of the hole needs to be one foot larger than the total circumference of the trampoline. For example, homeowners wanting to install an in-ground trampoline 15 feet across would need to ensure that the hole responsible for holding it in place is at least 16 feet in circumference.
Homeowners also need to make sure that the frame of the trampoline fits comfortably into the hole before proceeding to the next step. They could end up manually shoveling dirt around the sides of the hole if they forget to check the fit.
Level the Trampoline Next
To ensure their trampoline remains level, homeowners need to place four U-shaped cinder blocks in the recently dug hole. The cinder blocks should match up with each trampoline leg. Placing a 2 x 4 on top of each cinder block provides extra assurance that the ground will remain level. Homeowners also need to make sure that they leave a few inches of space between the hole and the ground to allow air to escape. Keep in mind that a difference of even a couple of centimeters can impact the degree of bounciness of the trampoline.
How to Prepare the Trampoline Frame
Once the ground is level, the next step is to remove the trampoline frame from the hole. The homeowner will then need to take a pressure-treated 2 x 4 piece of wood and attach it between two trampoline legs with self-tapping screws.
This process should continue all the way around the trampoline. A second set of 2 x 4’s comes next, followed by screwing four pieces of 12-foot sheet metal to the wooden frame. The trampoline frame is ready to go back in the hole after completing each of these steps.
Lastly, homeowners should compact and back fill dirt inside and outside the trampoline frame. This step is important to prevent dirt from caving into the walls of the hole. The final step is to attach the trampoline mat to its frame and let the jumping begin.