In-Ground Trampoline Are They Worth the Hype?

image of in ground trampoline

By Darrin Jacks, April 2021

Have you seen a sunken or in-ground trampoline in action? If you’re thinking about getting one, you aren’t alone. More and more people are succumbing to this in-ground trampoline hype and installing one in their backyard. However, you may wonder, is it really that excellent? We understand your concern because one thing is for sure—they only heard the good points. 

Trampolines aren’t exactly cheap, and you don’t want to buy the wrong, or as in this case, install one in the ground without being fully assured about it. You probably know this when you’ve decided to get a trampoline, many sellers will tell you that this kind of trampoline might be the best option for you. They’ll promote that this trampoline is safer than a conventional trampoline and your yard looks better with one. 

Moreover, you’ll be interested in getting one if you’re somehow convinced that they’re easier to maintain. But, take all these claims with a pinch of salt. You may find that in-ground trampolines aren’t as great or convenient compared to what most people think. 

That being said, there are some advantages, but there are a few cons as well. This article will address some of the biggest concerns and pros of installing an in-ground trampoline. 

Common Misconceptions

The first and most obvious thing you need to wrap your head around is that in-ground trampolines aren’t inherently safer than any typical trampoline on stilts. Trampolines are designed to launch a person several feet into the air. Some trampolines can launch a person just a few feet, while some large ones can do as high as 10 feet. Now, if you fall and hit the ground from that height, it’s likely you’ll sustain some minor injuries, if not serious. 

Many assume that installing an in ground trampoline is easy. All you need is dig a hole and place the trampoline in there. Well, easier said than done. Before installing one, there are many things to consider, including water drainage and erosion. There is a chance that the hole you put your trampoline into may collapse during heavy rain or flood. The hole will also sink if it is full of water. In those situations, you don’t have an in-ground trampoline to bounce off. All you will have is a partially buried trampoline, or trust me, you’ll not like it.  

Then there is the topic of maintenance. Look, you can’t see all the parts of an in-ground trampoline as it is in the ground. This makes maintenance inconvenient. If anything breaks or you need to change or fix something like the springs or the stilts, you need to pull out the whole trampoline from the ground. It’s important to ensure that the legs or stilts that support the trampoline up to ground level are in tip-top condition. You don’t want them to be broken and rusted, or else you’ve a serious accident in your hand. Ensure that the stilts are always in an upright position and nothing pokes through the rubber stoppers at the bottom.

There’s more. You need to constantly check the underside of your trampoline’s mat to make sure everything is in perfect working order. This means you’ll need to lift the trampoline out of the ground, and these things aren’t exactly light and can weigh between 100 and 500 lbs. 

We aren’t telling that in-ground trampolines are inconvenient, and you can’t have fun bouncing up and down in one of those. in ground can be incredibly fun, but you need to maintain them more often than normal above-ground trampolines. 

Pros and Cons

Nothing is perfect in this world, and in-ground trampolines are no exception. They’ve their own set of pros and faults. Let’s get to those: 

Pros:

  1. They are fun 
  2. They look great in your backyard
  3. They are safer than above-ground trampolines
  4. They are easier to enter and exit
  5. Pet-friendly as they can’t crawl underneath and get hurt
  6. They are great for landscaping
  7. They can be included in the backyard or home’s overall design
  8. Includes the same safety equipment as above-ground trampolines

Cons:

  1. Installation costs are higher
  2. The installation point should be properly leveled with adequate drainage and ventilation
  3. Requires a retaining wall
  4. Weeds can grow underneath the ground
  5. Soil needs to compacted for strength
  6. Your backyard’s design may need to be rearranged
  7. Possible tripping problems
  8. Needs proper ventilation
  9. Standing water can cause issues

Above Ground Trampoline Vs In-Ground Trampoline: Which Is Better? 

Whether you’ve decided to purchase an above-ground trampoline or a in ground trampoline, there isn’t a right answer to which is the better choice. Both types of trampolines have some features that make them unique and worthwhile in different aspects. Let’s get to it:

FeaturesAbove Ground TrampolineIn-Ground Trampoline
Jumping ExperienceAbove ground trampolines provide higher bouncesIn-ground trampolines doesn’t provide higher bounces compared to above ground trampolines
Aesthetic LooksNo aesthetics looks whatsoeverIn-ground trampoline have great aesthetics and designs
Maintenance and installation CostsMaintenance and installation costs are lowHigher maintenance  and installation costs
SafetyAccidents can happen in above-ground trampolines as jumpers can hit the metal frame or the springs when they landThese trampolines are relatively safe given there is little chance of falling from the trampoline. However pets and things can get into the mat and can cause accidents. 
Installation TimeRequires less time to installRequires more time to install like digging a hole, creating a drainage system, putting up a retaining wall etc. 
PortabilitySuper portable, can be relocated instantlyNot portable at all, and very challenging when relocating to a different area

The Verdict

As we can see, there are no clear winners when it comes to trampolines. The above-ground trampolines provide a better bouncing experience compared to in-ground trampolines. Moreover, above-ground trampolines are easy to set up, require low maintenance, and super portable. 

in ground trampolines, on the other hand, aren’t as safe as advertised. If not careful, a person can accidentally trip over the edges of the trampoline and get hurt with the debris surrounding it. Besides, they aren’t easy to install and maintain. You need to dig a hole, surround the hole with a retaining wall to prevent the hole from collapsing, install proper drainage systems, and whatnot. Heck, if something happens to the frame, the trampoline mat, or the stilts holding it—you need to get the whole thing out from the ground, which isn’t fun at all. That said, despite all the negativity, in-ground trampolines do look cool in your backyard and can be a part of the overall design and aesthetics of your backyard landscaping and your home. 

Pro Tips For In-Ground Trampoline Installation

When installing an inground trampoline, there are few things to consider so that you and your family can enjoy your newest backyard toy for many years. Let’s take a look: 

You’ll need to lift the trampoline now and then for regular maintenance or fetch your phone or keys if they accidentally slip through between the gaps of the frame and the mat. So keep some space to get your hands or a tool between the trampoline frame and the ground. 

We already said in ground trampolines aren’t inherently safer than traditional trampolines, which means who will need to install an enclosure net around it, or at least when using it. It will stop small kids, pets, or other things from getting onto the mat. This will increase the size of the hole by several inches.

After you’re done with digging the hole, you’re required to put up a retaining wall. We recommend you erect a retaining wall made of stone blocks or concrete. Wooden walls will also do the job, but they aren’t as sturdy and resilient as stone blocks or concrete. Wooden walls are also susceptible to rotting over time, so keep that in mind. 

While erecting your retaining wall, keep two things in mind: ventilation and drainage. Your trampoline will fill up with water when it rains, and if you don’t have a proper drainage system, you will eventually end up with a pit full of stagnant water. Stagnant water will not only loosen the soil underneath, causing the trampoline to tilt or sink, it will also lead to stinking, insect infestations, rusting of frame & stilts, and disintegration of the mat. You can find several solutions available online on how to set up a proper drainage system. 

Finally, you’ll need to have ventilation. Unlike a traditional trampoline, where the air underneath is flushed out on all the sides when someone lands on the mat, if you don’t have a proper mechanism  to push the air underneath the mat, your trampoline won’t be bouncy enough. A good way to provide ventilation to an in-ground trampoline is to leave a moat around the trampoline. 

As always, you can always hire a contractor or landscaper to set up your in-ground trampoline the way you’re looking for if you don’t find all of those installation steps too complicated to work around. 

Wrapping Up

The bottom line here is whether you want a traditional trampoline or an in ground trampoline for your backyard—it all boils down to personal preferences. Both have their pros and not-so-good points, but one thing is for sure, they will provide hours of fun and entertainment for your kids and the whole family. Just make sure that if you want an in-ground trampoline, install it correctly and take the necessary safety precautions and maintenance procedures as you would do for a typical above-ground trampoline.

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