How to install an In Ground Trampoline

In ground trampoline installation is possible as a DIY project. You’ll just need to plan your approach and consider some of these tips before you get started. We installed our in ground trampoline ourselves using hand tools only. Yes, it took a little while and it was hard work but it was totally worth it. The kids love the trampoline, as do we and it just feels a whole load safer and less intrusive than an over ground trampoline.

Below I’m going to show you how we completed this project but before I do this, I’d like to point out a few important considerations.

  1. Find the ideal location that is far away from obstacles such as trees, buildings and hard surfaces such as patios and decking. Tree roots can be a major problem.
  2. Check your soil. Most soils are going to be suitable to dig in your trampoline but if like me you have clay soil then you’ll need to think about water collecting in the pit. Drainage can be a real issue. I’ll go into more detail about this below.
  3. Check the dimensions of your available space and make sure you don’t get a trampoline that is too big. A 12ft trampoline will be 12ft wide from side to side.
  4. Check the required depth of the pit for your trampoline. Some may require you to dig further than others.
  5. Soil disposal is an important consideration. You’ll need a suitable location to dispose of all the soil you dig out. Many may not realise just how much soil comes out to dig these holes. Think about the cost of a skip should you require one.
  6. Read reviews of the trampoline you intend to purchase. Some cheaper brands are not quite as good in terms of bounce and ease of installation
  7. Consider the cost of the actual trampoline. In ground trampolines tend to be more expensive than over ground ones.
  8. Think about how long this project is going to take and whether you want to consider hiring an excavator to speed up the process. It took two of us about 4-5 days to dig out and install our trampoline. This was using only spades and wheel barrows.

If you’re doing this job by hand the consider investing in a pointed spade and a flat spade. The pointed spade will help you dig into irregular soil and the flat spade will help shift and level soil. A decent spade will be worth its weight in gold on this job!

Here are a few additional questions that crop up when considering an in ground trampoline.

Can I install a normal trampoline in the ground?

If you’re thinking about installing a normal trampoline into the ground then I’d think twice and consider these issues.

  • A normal trampoline has tube legs that sit on the ground in 6 places. The surface area of these legs is very small and can sink easily into soft soil. An in ground trampoline has a frame that spreads over a wider surface area and distributes the force evenly around the whole edge of the trampoline.
  • A normal trampoline doesn’t have a retaining wall. The retaining wall that appears on an in ground trampoline prevents soil from the pits higher edges breaking and falling into the pit. A normal trampoline won’t stop this from happening, so over time the pits edges will crumble and fall into the pit which may end up damaging the surface of the trampoline when it’s jumped on. As a result, feet and hands etc. can get trapped in the holes that appear around the trampoline.

How much does it cost to install an in ground trampoline?

  • If you are doing this yourself and you have means of moving/distributing the dug out soil then it can cost you nothing.
  • Consider skip hire costs, excavator hire costs and drainage cost if doing this yourself. £0 – £600
  • Paying someone to do this for you could cost between £200 – £800. This will depend on where you live, access to the area, the size of the trampoline and whether drainage is required.

How deep does the hole need to be for an in ground trampoline?

You can see how deep we made ours below but expect to dig between 70 – 120cm depending on what type of trampoline you purchase.

Clay soil and drainage

As mentioned above you may come across clay soil in your back garden which will prevent water from draining properly out of your trampoline pit. If this is the case then there are a few ways you can tackle the problem.

  1. Install drainage tubes, channels or pipes. If your trampoline pit is on slightly higher ground you can dig out and install drainage pipes to allow the water to flow naturally out of the pit. This obviously only works when the water can flow downhill.
  2. Install a dirty water pump. This is what we had to do. Our garden is pretty level all the way around so drainage was difficult. We purchase a dirty water pump in order to quickly empty the trampoline pit when the water level got too high. The water did naturally drain to a certain level but after heavy rain fall the trampoline was unusable. With one of these water pumps we could quickly drain the water within a few minutes. Water could be pumped into rain water barrels, the pond or down the drain.

5 of the best in ground trampolines on eBay

DIY in ground trampoline installation guide

Here is a guide to show you how to install an in ground trampoline. We purchased a 12ft Rebo in ground trampoline. Here are the instructions for digging out the pit:

Please note: On the Rebo instructions they recommend digging the pit as deep as 100cm. We did this but felt like it was complete overkill. The trampoline barely goes down 40cm with a big person on it. Whilst you will need additional space for air to move under the trampoline I think 80cm would have been plenty. (This will differ for each trampoline manufacture.)

Step One – Mark out the area

Once you have purchased your desired trampoline you will need to carefully read the instructions and mark out the area. To do this we used a wooden stake, a piece of string and some spray paint. We halved the size of the 12ft trampoline and cut the string to the correct size. (6ft)

Step two – Remove the turf

We then removed the top layer of turf using a spade and shovel. This was saved for another section of the garden. To remove the turf, simply push the spade into the surface, then angle the spade down to about a 20 degree angle and push along under the turf. A depth of about 3-4cm is fine for this stage. This can be done in clumps.

Click here to see how I built the workshop shed in this picture.

Step three – Mark out the sections

This stage will require referring to the instruction manual again. There will be a ledge all the way around on which the trampoline frame will sit. Again, this can be marked out with a piece of string and a spray paint.

This diagram is for the Rebo in ground trampoline. Please ensure you check your specific model to ensure a neat and secure fit.

Step four – The big dig

Decide where all the soil is going and setup a decent path for easy access. As I mentioned before we dug by hand using shovels and a wheel barrow. There was two of us and we took it in turns to dig in the hole whilst the other cleared the top section.

The below images show how much soil was coming out of the ground. We piled it all up in two places to the side of the garden. Most of this soil would later be used to fill a larger planter we built nearer to the house.

And we keep digging!

Hopefully this video of the trampoline dig will give you a better perspective.

Step five – Levelling the trampoline

The image below demonstrates how we levelled the trampoline. Using a long piece of timber we used a spirit level to make sure all the sides were even. I also created a little wooden jig that represented the depth of the trampoline frame. This allowed me to quickly measure the depth of the first shelf (pit 2.). We could quickly and easily move this around and dig where required to make sure it was even and level all the way round.

You can also see we have reached the water table in our garden. There wasn’t much we could do with this. No matter how much water we tried to remove it just came back!

Step six – Building the trampoline frame

We simply followed the instructions here to build our in ground trampoline. The Rebo wasn’t the easiest to build but we managed just fine with the two of us.

It was then a simple task of lifting the trampoline into the pit. The trampoline frame has a thick plastic sheet that goes all the way around. This acts as a retaining wall for the pit and prevents the sides from crumbling into the pit. This is why it’s not advised to use a normal trampoline as an in ground trampoline.

We had to back fill the trampoline edges and put down some grass seed to finish things off. The kids were on it straight away.

Step seven – Finishing things off

Finishing the trampoline off wasn’t that difficult. We simply let the grass grow back around the edges and added little bits of soil around the edges as it sunk in. This happened as the trampoline settled into the pit properly after some use.

When it comes to mowing the lawn around the trampoline you will need to be very carefully. I’ve accidentally clipped the soft edges a couple of times now and it cuts very easily. Try using a small strimmer or even a pair of scissors to carefully cut around the soft edges. You could also just remove the soft protective padding to make things easier.

How to look after your trampoline

Its a good idea to take good care of your trampoline so that you can get many years use out of it. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Clean the trampoline regularly with a broom to remove debris. We use a vacuum to clean some of the smaller pieces of debris.
  • Clean the soft edges with a warm bucket of water and a sponge.
  • Use the supplied cover during the winter or for long periods where the trampoline isn’t in use.
  • Avoid wearing shoes on the trampoline. The last thing you want is for someone with a sharp object stuck in their shoe to damage the mesh.
  • Ensure the pit is in good shape once a year by opening up one side of the trampoline. You can easily remove a few springs from one side and look under the trampoline when in use to make sure it’s not getting too close to the fragile surface.

Thats all for now. I hope this article helps you decide whether an in ground trampoline is right for you, or helps you install one. Please feel free to comment below with your experiences or questions.

Here are a few in ground trampoline recommendations.

Take a look at some of my other DIY projects

2 comments

  1. Brilliant instructions, thank you. I hadn’t considered building one of these; they look great!

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