How to sink a trampoline in the ground

Sunken Trampoline with Donut Surround(Dawn Isaac Garden Design)

It is becoming increasingly popular to install your trampoline in the garden at ground level by sinking it into the ground.  This has a number of advantages, firstly a sunken trampoline is less visible so will be less obvious and will not spoil the look of your garden as much as it might do otherwise.  Also, with a sunken trampoline you do not need a trampoline safety enclosure, which can look unslightly and saves money too.  Secondly, there is less distance for people to fall off a sunken trampoline and injure themselves and thirdly younger children can play on the sunken trampoline without needing assistance in getting on it and with less risk of them falling off.  Fourthly, you will not need to move the trampoline at intervals to avoid damage to the grass underneath or when cutting the grass.

One leading garden designer says, “I think a sunken trampoline has to be my favorite family garden feature.  It’s a simple enough idea but solves so many headaches.  It’s safer, less intrusive and popular with everyone.”

Here are some tips if you are considering sinking a trampoline in your own garden:

    • Size – work out what size of trampoline is appropriate, how much space have you got where the ground is suitable to be dug out but remember there’s the cost of digging the hole and getting rid of the spoil.  Also consider that as your children get older they will want a larger trampoline for them (and their friends!).  We normally suggest getting the largest trampoline you can afford and which will fit the space available to use.  Bear in mind you will need a space of about 1 meter around the sunken trampoline as a safety zone, or for the donut (see below). Tip: dig some trial pits first to make sure the area you have chosen has diggable soil to an adequate depth.
    • Shape & Colour – most garden trampolines are round as these naturally gravitate the bouncer to the centre of the trampoline which is the safest and the most powerful spot to bounce on.  A rectangular trampoline might not be so asthetically pleasing in a garden and a hexagonal shape will make digging the hole much more difficult.  A contrasting colour for the spring padding is essential so it is clear to anyone where the garden stops and the trampoline starts.
    • Buy the trampoline – Atlantic Trampolines offer a wide range of sizes to suit most requirements.  Their trampolines are well made and will last many years.  The trampoline frames are hot dip galvanised on the inside and outside to maximse the protection from rust which is essential when the legs of the trampoline may be stood in water for long periods when sunken in the garden.  Atlantic Trampolines offer next day delivery across the UK mainland, and delivery abroad is offered aswell.  You can buy online at www.atlantictrampolines.co.uk or you can call their Freephone Trampo-line on 0800 032 5879 and talk to one of their helpful team who are experienced in all aspects of trampoline installations.  Tip: it pays to buy a good quality trampoline as it is likely to be a long term fixture in your garden and you don’t want to have to replace it too frequently.
    • Mark the sunken trampoline site – you will need to mark the area to be excavated.  This needs to be done with some accuracy so the hole is exactly the right size.  If it is a round trampoline then do this by securing one end of a tape measure at the central point using a stick or screwdriver and mark the circumference by running in a circle of the correct radius with spray paint or some flour to mark the edge of the hole to be excavated.
    • Dig the hole – This can be done by hand or using a small mechanical digger.  You  might find a local contractor who can do this quite cheaply although I’ve known people treat it as a daily exercise task and completed it over a couple of weeks.  Try to pick a dry period which will make it easier whichever way you do it.

  • What to do with the soil - If the area has good quality turf then remove this and lay to oneside.  Keep it watered if necessary. The first foot or so of soil you remove will be top soil and should be saved.  Under the top spoil will be subsoil which can be removed from site or saved in a unobtrusive area of the garden incase you, or future owners, want to refill the hole.  You may need some to create the donut (see below).  Tip: Don’t underestimate the work involved and arrange help if necessary.
  • Hole depth – the hole depth should equal the height of the trampoline so once installed it is at ground level.  Some people advise having the trampoline just above the surface of the ground by about 4 inches to allow the air to escape when bounced on.  The difficultly is this causes a trip hazard, might mean limbs could get trapped and allows things to get lost under the trampoline.  A better way to deal with the air movement issue is to use air vents described below.
  • Drainage- the hole underneath the sunken trampoline will need to drain well if it rains or the children use the garden hose on the trampoline.  If the ground is usually heavily water logged then a sunken trampoline might not be possible.  If the area drains slowly you can create a soakaway in the bottom of the pit by digging an extra trench across the hole and filling this will gravel or hardcore (a form of French drain).

    Sink your trampoline in the ground

  • Preventing edge collapse – you may need to consider how to maintain the integrity of the walls of the the hole.  If your soil is firm this should not be a problem.  If you have sandy soil you may need to consider a wall support system like that sold by trampolinesdownunder.com.
  • Air movement – as people bounce on the trampoline air needs to flow freely in and out of the hole.  Rather than leave a gap around the trampoline I suggest installing at equal intervals perhaps 4 lengths of 4″ flexible pipe from just below the surface of the hole to a distance away from the trampoline.  This allows the air to escape and re-enter easily, it also makes a fun feature for the children to play with.
  • Creating a donut – a nice idea is to create a raised”donut” ring around the trampoline as in the photo above.  This helps to partly obscure the trampoline, makes it more fun as the children can jump from the top of the ring on to the trampoline or run down the slope on to it.  Using some of the excavated soil build a ring around the trampoline with slopes either side and a flat top.  Any turf saved earlier can be used to cover it and by laying it over the edges of the hole you can fill any gaps between the hole edge and the trampoline.

Garden level trampoline (Dawn Isaac Garden Design)

If you have any comments then please leave them as a comment to this blog.  We would be interested to know if you have encountered any other problems and how you have overcome them.

If you follow these guidelines though you should end up with a very satisfactory solution to sinking your trampoline in the ground.

Please contact us if you require further guidance on sinking a trampoline into the ground.  All Atlantic Trampolines are suitable for in-ground installations.

Author: Bob Bounce

This entry was posted in In Ground Trampolines. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to How to sink a trampoline in the ground

  1. Andrew says:

    One big advantage of sinking your trampoline into the ground is that it is protected from the wind and will not blow away or require securing to the ground. Also it is less likely to be stolen.

  2. pim aldridge says:

    Hi there,

    Do you have any suggestions for retaining the the soil around the legs of trampoline, therefore stopping the soil from moving ?????

    • atlantic says:

      If the soil around the edge of the trampoline is not firm enough to stay in position by itself you can bank up the soil in the hole against the edges as the hole only needs to be deep right in the central area. Take a look at the instructional video on the site Trampolines Down Under.com This company also sell a system which is a retaining wall although it involves drilling holes in the trampoline frame to fix the panels and we are unsure if this is really advisable as it might weaken the trampoline frame.

      Alternatively, you could use strong netting to keep the sides of the hole in position or use sheets of wood to create a retaining wall. You may find some examples of this on You Tube.

  3. Lauren says:

    Does the tarmpoline have to have the legs on when in the ground?? Iv seen one b4 without the legs on wat was a ground level trampoline… And also i have 12ft trampoline does the dug hole need to be 12ft across aswell or smaller then the trampoline?? Thanks

    • You really need to have the legs on the trampoline when it is installed as an in-ground trampoline as the pit needs to have the depth to allow someone to bounce without touching the ground beneath. I’m not sure how you would achieve this without using the legs.

      When making the hole for your 12ft trampoline you need to consider how the air will move in and out as someone bounces. If you install air pipes then you can make the diameter of the hole about 12ft 2″ (allow a small gap for air movement). If you are not installing air pipes then you need to leave a larger gap around the trampoline so make the diameter of the hole about 12ft 4″.

      Hope this helps. Please let us know how you get on.

  4. Emma McCabe says:

    We have had ours sunken for over 7 years now but have a perpetual problem with the safety padding.

    When the children jump, the air below is compressed and escapes by lifting the perimeter padding. This a) reduces the height of the jump, b) makes an annoying noise, and c) frequently causes the padding to be ripped from the trampoline frame.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Our pit is lined with corrugated steel, so putting an outlet tube in is not an option.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you for your comments Emma. The mistake people often make is to fit the trampoline tightly to the edge of the hole leaving no room for the air to escape. As you have experienced, there is a lot of air movement once someone starts to bounce on the trampoline and you need to make allowance for this. If you don’t do this then you get the problems you have described. The bounce quality is reduced due to the dampening effect as the air under the trampoline cannot escape fast enough, there is increased noise as the expelled air rushes through any gaps it can find (usually by lifting the surround padding) and the surround padding becomes damaged due to the movement of air.

      The only suggestions I have are as follows. Are you able to cut away a small part of the corrugated steel lining at perhaps three or four points around the trampoline (where the edge of the trampoline meets the lawn) and install a short section of pipe at these points to allow the air to escape and be sucked back in? Alternatively, you could put something in the bottom of the pit to raise the trampoline up slightly so there is a vertical gap between the ground level and the trampoline. This is not so neat as the trampoline is no longer flush with the ground and it does create a trip hazard.

  5. peter says:

    hi, i am interested in how to maintain the airflow. I like the sound of adding some pipes. i am concerned about them becoming blocked. is there anyway of avoiding this?

    • I would suggest that you use a flexible pipe with at least 3″ or 4″ diameter and use about three or four of them around the trampoline perimeter. Where the pipe exits at ground level either cover it with some wire netting to stop garden material falling down it and/or make sure it protrudes above ground level. Consider hiding the protruding pipe in a flower border. Every so often flush out the pipes with your garden hose to clear any debris that might have collected inside.

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  7. Karli says:

    So we are thinking about getting a new trampoline ours has no mats and the net is tearing. We are thinking of getting a sunken trampoline, but we are also doing a renovation in our house at the moment so money is very tight. We do have a pool that has not been completed, so we have a 3 to 4ft deep hole but how much would it all cost? We really need something safe because we have had someone go over the net and land on gravel. :( she is ok now though. How much would the trampoline and everything else needed cost? We need at least a 12ft trampoline though.

    • Thanks for your enquiry. There are a number of options open to you. Firstly, probably the cheapest is to contact us to see if we can supply new spring padding (note: we call the mat the black bit you jump on) and the enclosure net for your existing trampoline. We supply all the parts to fit our own brand of trampoline and these do also fit some other makes, but I suggest you phone us to discuss what you need. If you want to sink your trampoline in to the ground you may only need a new spring padding which costs about £50 depending on the size. I have never heard before of someone jumping over the enclosure net on a trampoline. Bear in mind that if they bounce that high on an in-ground trampoline and land outside the trampoline area they could still hurt themselves.

      If you decide to buy a new trampoline a 12ft one will cost £205.98 and a 14ft one will cost £229.98 (note:we also supply a 13ft or 15ft model). If you already have a hole to put it in then the cost of the in-ground trampoline should be minimal. The main cost is in digging the hole and disposing of the arisings. If you decide to do it yourselves the guidance in this blog post should help you. If you want to use a specialist contractor we can supply the name of one in the UK. Exactly how you construct the base in the hole and the retaining side walls will depend on local conditions, the soil type and existing drainage conditions. I hope this is of some help to you.

  8. Pingback: Sunken or ground level trampoline installation | Atlantic Trampolines Blog

  9. Gill says:

    Hi there. We are currently renovating our garden and making a kids area. We already have a 12ft trampoline with enclosure. I love the idea of a sunken trampoline. I just don’t know how to go about it. I realise it can’t be easy as digging a hole the same size as trampoline. I dont know what type of soil we have (it has a lot of stones in it) so not sure if the wall of hole will need supporting. If this is the case, how much will it cost and can you recommend a contractor? We live near high Wycombe. Thanks

    • Thank you for your enquiry. You can attempt this construction yourself, lots of people do, it depends how handy you are. You could ask a local building contractor to do it or contact a specialist, such as Angus at Sunken Trampolines (if you do tell him we sent you!) I’ve no idea what the costs are. The materials should be minimal and will mostly depend on what support is needed for the edge of the hole, that depends on local conditions. Most of the cost will be in labour and, if necessary, disposing of the spoil from the hole.

      You must pay particular attention to making sure the walls of the hole are secure and will not cave in, that the trampoline is tight to the edge so things can’t fall under the trampoline or limbs get trapped, that the hole has suitable drainage and does not become a swimming pool and that adequate measures are taken to deal with the air movement (or you will get spring padding flap!)

      If you go ahead, please write and tell us how you get on and send us some photos. If you need any trampoline kit then please give us a call on the Trampo-line 0800 032 5879 and we’ll do all we can to help. Good luck!

      • Gill says:

        thank you. Have called a couple of garden specialists and they say their entry level is £20k but they do the entire garden; not just the trampoline. Will give Angus a call. Cheers

        • If you are only looking to sink your trampoline in the ground the cost should only be a fraction of that amount. If you have no luck elsewhere then please let me know and I will see what we can do to help.

  10. Gill says:

    Thank you. Emailed Angus and he has not responded as yet. I wil contact a builder who had done some work near by and see if he can do it. If no luck, I wil give you a call. Thanks so much.

  11. Naomi says:

    How mutch does it cost ?!

    • The cost of creating a suitable hole will depend on your local conditions and the size of trampoline. Atlantic Trampolines cost from £121.

    • Gill says:

      Hi there. I have an update… I have had my trampoline sunken and it looks fab. Just waiting to turf the ground around it and will send you a picture. People keep asking about costs involved. To hire a small digging machine is approximately £500 a day. I hired 2 builders and they did it by themselves with shovels and its taken 4 days. We used breeze blocks and timber to hold the soil in place so walls don’t collapse. Builders have their own prices and then you will need a skip and also pay for materials. Costs just over £1000 and we used our existing trampoline. Its double the cost i thought it would be but i saw the amount of work that went into it. straightforward job but its requires strength and stamina!

      The digging machine option would have cost slightly more as you still need 2 workmen. Hope this helps anyone interested.

  12. dee says:

    What do you do during the winter months? Where I live most people take the trampoline down because of snow, but you would be left with an open hole in your yard. Would it be safe to leave it up covered in snow?

    • Either you can make sure you clear the snow regularly from your trampoline in Winter to avoid damage, or remove the bounce mat and springs during the Winter months leaving the frame in place.

  13. Gill says:

    Hi there. I have an update… I have had my trampoline sunken and it looks fab. Just waiting to turf the ground around it and will send you a picture. People keep asking about costs involved. To hire a small digging machine is approximately £500 a day. I hired 2 builders and they did it by themselves with shovels and its taken 4 days. We used breeze blocks and timber to hold the soil in place so walls don’t collapse. Builders have their own prices and then you will need a skip and also pay for materials. Costs just over £1000 and we used our existing trampoline. Its double the cost i thought it would be but i saw the amount of work that went into it. straightforward job but its requires strength and stamina!

    The digging machine option would have cost slightly more as you still need 2 workmen. Hope this helps anyone interested.

  14. Emma says:

    Hi! The house we’ve just moved into has a sunken trampoline in the garden. It’s not flush with the lawn…about 10cm above. There are gaps around the edge where little legs could slip under making it quite hazardous. It doesn’t look possible to back fill with earth as it would just fall to the bottom of the pit. Do you have any solutions or know any safety products that could be added, perhaps acting like a skirt around the edge? Many thanks.

    • We sell a trampoline safety skirt that would probably be suitable for this. It is designed to stop children and animals going under the trampoline when someone is bouncing on it. It would stop things falling through the gap and reduce the potential for limbs getting caught. http://www.atlantictrampolines.co.uk/safety-skirts

      They are only available for round trampolines and you need to know the size of trampoline by measuring the total diameter, that is from the outside edge of the frame, across the centre point to the opposite outside edge. The measurement should be a whole number of feet (eg 12ft).

      The reason the gap has probably been left is to allow for air movement when someone is bouncing. If the trampoline is installed flush with the surrounding ground there needs to be a system to allow the air to move freely otherwise the trampoline bounce is dampened by the restricted air movement. The trampoline skirt would still allow for the free movement of the air.

      Hope this helps. Do call our Trampo-line team if you need further advice on 0800 032 5879.

  15. Wayne Freeman says:

    Hi,
    I would really like to have a hard cover/lid for a trampoline I plan to sink into my garden. Ideally, I would put artificial grass on the lid to allow it to blend in with the rest of the lawn when the trampoline is not in use.
    However, I cannot find anyone who makes them, even custom made. Do you know if there are companies out there that supply these?

    Many thanks

  16. Vicki says:

    Hi
    We have a trampoline with a broken surround & I’d really like to put it in the ground so my children can still use it safley however, my husband is not so sure!! He thinks this will be costly & a lot of work :(
    So my querys are
    How do I no if the ground I’m digging will need to be supported to stop it sinking?
    How easy are the air pipes to install are they expensive & where would I perches them?
    & lastley I have a few trees in my garden how can I be sure I won’t hit roots when digging & what should I do if I do?!
    Thanks :) )

  17. anna says:

    Hi i have a 12ft trampoline that i have had for a few years now, i would like to sink it in the ground, i was wondering if i needed to get a new one with smaller legs or my one i have now would be ok ?

    • You can use your exiting trampoline to sink in the ground. There’s no need to buy a new one. Call us if you need any advice on how to do it or if your trampoline needs any replacement parts before installing it in the ground.

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