What to Put Under a Trampoline: 10 Ideas & What to Avoid
Author: Chris Miller | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Jumping on the trampoline is a fun activity, but a trampoline can also be a sight for sore eyes and really mess up our beautiful landscape design and manicured lawn. Whether for aesthetics or safety, you may wonder what to put under a trampoline to solve these issues.
It's not only a question of safety but also aesthetics. We want our backyards to look great, and the area directly under a trampoline doesn't need to be cushioned necessarily, either, as long as nothing is sticking up from the surface of the ground.
There are endless options for you to pick from no matter what your concern is, but some of the best ones are rubber mulch, play sand, wood chips, and landscaping rocks. You can also get rid of the grass or bury the trampoline to prevent injuries. We'll discuss all these options in detail below.
You'll also learn if it's okay to set up a trampoline on grass, how you can mow the grass under it, and how you should decide where to put it. We have a lot to unpack, so let's dive in!
What to Put Under a Trampoline
While there are many things that you can put under a trampoline, here's a list of the most common "under trampoline ideas" used by the majority of people. I would say the most common is to simply let it remain grass and try to maintain it the best you can. But if you don't like that, then consider the following ideas.
If you want to be safe and avoid harsh landings when jumping high, putting rubber mulch under the trampoline it is a decent choice. You can use rubber mulch for a long time as they don't go bad quickly. Of course, nothing is going to guarantee there won't be an injury.
Your hope would be to not need any protection, but at least if someone falls off the edge then the rubber mulch can attempt to break the fall a little bit. It also prevents the growth of grass. Dig a circle that's at least 3 inches deep and cover it with rubber mulch according to the area of your trampoline.
Going deeper may provide more benefit, and extend the area to a larger diameter than that of the trampoline, since nobody falling off of a trampoline lands directly under it. Consider adding a weed barrier fabric underneath the mulch to stop weeds from growing up and annoying you.
When it comes to jumping on a trampoline, aesthetics and weed prevention are important, but safety comes first. Purchasing a trampoline with a net tied around it will ensure you don't fall ver the sides and prevent any injuries.
If you put the safety considerations above the ground, that leaves you options in how you'll deal with the area underneath the trampoline. You're more free to worry about the aesthetics than the safety.
Bury the Trampoline In-Ground
There's a much lower chance of any injury if you bury the trampoline as it's no longer placed several feet above the ground. Just build a frame around the hole and screw the trampoline to the frame. A ground-level or in-ground trampoline is definitely safer and looks nice, too.
Burying the trampoline also increases the stability of the frame. But it may not be the best idea if you have children and pets as they have the tendency to go under the trampolines. They'll find this especially inviting, which could be very dangerous.
A spring can pop off and severely injure someone if it happens, which is serious no matter what types of springs we're talking about, but especially the strong, high-tension ones on trampolines. Trampoline springs are under 39 pounds of tension, and that's before anyone has jumped on it and stretched it out, increasing the tension.
What you need to consider is how your'e going to dig that large of a hole, what you'll do with the soil, and all of the extra work that will go into creating retaining walls or retaining wall alternatives around the rim of the hole to keep it from collapsing.
Sandbags won't provide cushioning to the ground around the trampoline in case of a fall, but you can easily move them around when necessary and try to make them decorative. You can get them in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes and fill them with a softer material so they can break a fall.
They're an inexpensive option for you, and yet, they're durable. The main disadvantage of getting them is that they can be fairly big and can end up taking a lot of space in your yard. There are sandbag alternatives you can consider as well, though they may not fulfill the intended purpose as well.
If you don't want to put rubber mulch under your trampoline, play sand is a great alternative to it. It has very similar properties to rubber mulch as it's soft (depending on how you land) and will cost a little more. But you won't get the same bounce with play sand as you would with rubber mulch.
Installing play sand under your trampoline is super easy, and you can get it done quicker than the other choices. It can also last a long time. Moreover, you won't have to worry about leaving a mess as play sand can be easily cleaned. Young children may appreciate the shade as they play in the sand as well (of course, only when nobody is jumping above them).
Get Rid of the Grass
Many people prefer to remove the grass under the trampoline altogether as it's quite hard to maintain it. That's because the grass under the trampoline will get very little sunlight, and they have a strong chance of dying.
You also won't have to waste time maintaining the area as you will no longer need to mow the grass if you do away with it altogether. This sounds like a simple solution but at some point, you'll want to replace the empty area with something else that looks more pleasing to the eye.
Wood Chips or Hay
If you just want to put something under your trampoline that's cheap, quick, and easy, wood chips or hay are the perfect choice for you. You can find wood chips fairly easily and quickly set them up under your trampoline. They also cost way less than rubber mulch or play sand.
But there are some obvious downsides to wood chips and obviously hay. They're not as soft or bouncy as rubber mulch. If you jump too high and land low, wood chips won't be a great help. They can also be pointy on the edges and be sticking up at various angles. Nevertheless, many people use them, and they also tend to last long, while hay does not.
Make sure you put down flower bed weed barrier fabric underneath whatever material you place in this area, or you'll have purple flowered weeds poking through being a huge nuisance. You can simply spray them with herbicide if you want, though.
Artificial Grass Mat
The problem with using real grass under the trampoline is that it takes a lot of maintenance even though it looks great. But with an artificial grass mat, you won't have to worry about maintenance. It's great for the aesthetics of the yard if you can get it to blend in with the rest of the lawn.
Installing any types of artificial grass is really easy, and it can be done quickly. Though small plants can grow under it, they won't be too big or come through the mat. The downside to these mats is that they tend to be expensive, and while they're soft, they're not as soft as rubber mulch.
Foam Pads or Gymnast Mats
Some people will place the large foam pads around the circumference of the trampoline so if children fall off they will land on these much softer and safer cushions. I've seen people use pillows and mattresses too, but this really depends on how (and I don't mean to be offensive) unsightly you want things to look.
The key with these items are that they need to be taken indoors or into a shed when not in use as they won't last long when exposed to the weather, especially rain. So this takes a lot of work and is mainly a safety consideration.
These are what to put under a trampoline when you only care about safety. And honestly, you have to ask yourself what lengths you're willing to go to before you realize having a trampoline may not be right for you.
Realistically, the area underneath a trampoline shouldn't be a huge safety hazard for the person jumping on top. But still, you shouldn't have anything near the trampoline like this, even, like a horseshoe pit with wood and a stake sticking out of the ground.
Even if the mat rips on you, you won't hit the ground or material underneath it at any extreme velocity, if barely any at all. With that being said, you can create a landscape under the trampoline. Just be smart about it and don't have anything sticking up high.
If you agree with this, then you can consider any types of landscaping rocks that look good with the rest of your yard and flowerbed designs. Just make sure they're low to the ground like pea gravel and not gigantic rocks that someone may hit as the springs lengthen and the mat stretches downwards.
Can I Safely Have a Sprinkler Under a Trampoline?
Many people enjoy having a moveable sprinkler, or even normal underground types of sprinkle heads under a trampoline. When the water comes on it can be great fun for the kids, who will become soaked as the trampoline mat itself absorbs the water.
But the danger here is that this adds a lot of unexpected weight to the springs and can cause the mat itself to tear. Having a foot and leg suddenly poke through the trampoline mat can be dangerous, as is having springs bust off of the sides and go flying (hopefully not towards a person).
A sprinkler is okay to have under a trampoline to keep the grass healthy, but I recommend making sure the trampoline itself is always dry before using it. Always make safety the highest priority and don't take any unnecessary risks.
Is it Okay to Set Up a Trampoline on Grass?
If you want to set up a trampoline on grass, there are many things you need to consider. The level of the land you've chosen should be flat in all directions if you want to keep the trampoline above it.
Putting a trampoline over grass can cause some problems for the grass. The first major issue is the lack of sunlight. Most types of grasses need at least partial sunlight to grow, and they'll eventually die without it. Secondly, grasses also require a fair amount of water, and they don't get it when they're under the trampoline.
The lack of water also causes some grass to die. The third issue for grass, when you put a trampoline over it, is excessive heat. You may think that shouldn't be the case as the trampoline should protect them from heat. But in reality, the mat of the trampoline only passes more heat to the ground and makes it more difficult for the heat to dissipate from the area.
The trampoline's steel frame also gets hot on summer days and passes it to the grass, which causes them to die. But certain trampolines don't hurt the grass under them. For example, a trampoline that has a polyethylene mat doesn't normally cause major damage to the grass.
You can choose such a trampoline if you want to place it over grass. There are also certain things you can do to minimize the damage caused by the trampoline to the grass under it. You can keep the grass and soil wet, cover the trampoline legs with a piece of cloth, and move the trampoline once every few days. Moving it around is your greatest method to keeping the grass healthy.
How Can You Mow Grass Under a Trampoline?
Most people think that you can use standard types of lawn mowers to mow the grass beneath the trampoline just like the other grass on the lawn. But doing so can damage the springs and mats of the trampoline if you’re bumping and scraping against them.
The only situation in which it's okay to cut the grass with a lawnmower is if you have one with an adjustable handle. Extend the handle of the mower so that it can move easily under the trampoline and neatly cut the grass.
If you don't have such a lawnmower, another great option is a weed eater. It typically has a long arm that allows you to run it up under the trampoline easily. Attach the extended grip of this device at the end of the handle and cut the grass under the trampoline.
Where Should I Put a Trampoline in the Yard?
Trampolines are a great addition to your backyard but require some basic maintenance. Depending on your space, you can get a round or rectangular trampoline. You'd usually get the round one if you have more space and the rectangular one if you don't have too much space.
Besides the size of your yard, you also need to consider the quality of the soil before deciding where to put the trampoline. You may have to add a base for the trampoline if you have overly soft soil so that it doesn't sink into the ground.
But if you have compacted soil, you can place the trampoline on it right away as it can bear the weight of the trampoline. The final thing you should be on the lookout for is that the area where you want to place the trampoline is level in all directions. Once a spot checks all these boxes, you can set it as the final spot for your trampoline.
Should You Close Off the Area Under a Trampoline?
The two main reasons why you'd want to close off the area under the trampoline are the safety of your children as well as pets and the safety of the trampoline itself. By closing off the area and making it as unattractive to enter as possible, you won't risk having a child get slammed into the ground while someone is jumping on the trampoline above them.
This also helps ensure there are no sharp objects under the trampoline, which risks not only tearing the trampoline mat, which is dangerous to jump on, but also from stabbing into the person who is jumping above this sharp object.
If you do close off the area and surface underneath a trampoline, it's important that you check that area before you use the trampoline to make sure nothing dangerous has found its way into that area and nothing is growing under it like a stiff tree sapling.
That’s What to Put Under a Trampoline
We recommend that you choose rubber mulch for the best protection with least continual effort, artificial grass mats for blending in, landscaping rocks for aesthetics, and wood chips if you just want something cheap. The right choice of all these "underneath trampoline ideas" for you depends on your preferences.
If you want to prevent any accidents caused by the trampoline, it's important that you keep the area under it protected. By now, you should know what to put under a trampoline from the plethora of available choices.