Kids love trampolines; there is nothing to compare to that feeling of soaring into the air, the pride over turning a flip, not to mention the aerobic exercise hidden as fun. An in-ground trampoline allows mom and dad to love trampolines too. First of all, choose an appropriate site; if your yard is level that is perfect; if not, you can easily compensate for it. If you are worried about location or drainage issues, check with a landscaper who can give you advice about soil and drainage conditions in your yard. You and your bouncing off-spring will need a minimum of 12 feet for overhead clearance; obviously you don’t want to be under a tree or a low-hanging cable cord. You will also need at least 5 feet free and clear around the trampoline. No shrubs or air conditioners or dog houses should be within those 5 feet; if you can allow for more free space, that’s even better. It’s a good idea to cover 6-8 feet around the trampoline with some substance that can absorb impact, such as sand, sod or rubber mulch.
Drainage shouldn’t be an issue with your in-ground trampoline; but it still makes sense to leave at least 2, preferably 4, inches of the trampoline above the ground. Use some of the soil you have excavated to create a sloping effect around the edge of the trampoline. This angle will help to prevent water from flowing into the pit under the trampoline; it is also a good idea to add about 6 inches of rock in the bottom of the trampoline pit to prevent standing water. If you do add rocks, add to the depth of your pit to accommodate them.
The in-ground trampoline is designed to be partially or completely lowered into the ground. Whether you are choosing to do a partial or complete install, you will need to excavate the pit at least a foot larger than the actual trampoline; for example a 12 foot trampoline will need a 13 foot pit. If you have to assemble your trampoline inside the pit, give yourself an additional foot.
If you plan to recess your trampoline into the ground completely, excavate the pit to a depth of 29 to 31 inches deep. Your trampoline is 33” tall; you want to allow a couple of inches to be above ground to enable you to slope the soil away from the edge for drainage purposes.
If you choose to place the trampoline partially into the ground, you will want to excavate to 18 inches. This will leave 15 inches of your trampoline above ground.
You can use the dirt that you remove from the pit to build up the area around the trampoline and to level out the area if your yard is not flat.
SOME HELPFUL HINTS
You can assemble the lower frame ring and use it as a template to help mark the ground as a guideline for your excavation.
Assemble as close to the pit as possible; if there is no room above ground, allow yourself an extra foot in your excavation so you can do the assembly inside the pit.
Double check that the spring holes on the top frame face up. Also, you may need to use a long screwdriver to help locate and line up holes, especially if you aren’t using a level surface for assembly.
Some tools that will make this whole process easier include a cordless drill equipped with a socket drive and a ½” or 13mm socket to tighten nuts. A long Philips head screwdriver can be used to help align bolt holes and a 6mm Allen wrench with a “t” handle will help with alignment and will also make it easier to push bolts through the frame assembly.
STEP BY STEP ASSEMBLY
- Rubber edge protectors. Open and stretch each rubber edge protector and put them on the top of each wall panel. The top has bolt holes closest to the edge.
- Align the holes on 6 wall panels by overlapping them on the ground. If you aren’t on solid ground, use a piece of wood or tile to support the bolt heads while you attach them to the frame pieces. Make sure each wall panel is in the right position: the edges should be facing up. Place a bolt and washer through the bolt holes in each overlapping panel. You will repeat this four times; 4 sections of 6 panels each.
- Join 2 of the upper frame tubes and place them over the bolt next to the rubber edge protector in the top of the wall panel assembly. Spring holes should be facing the top and the end of the tube and the wall panel assembly will align. You will need to kneel on top of the frame tub in order to push the bolt all the way through. Add a washer and nut.
- Connect 2 lower frame segments and attach them to the wall panels. Double check that the tubes on the upper and lower frames are facing the same direction; the smaller ends of the tubes should be pointing the same direction. Finger tighten. Repeat until all are connected.
- Stand it all up and tighten the bolts.
- Three more sections to go! Follow the same steps.
- Put it all together by aligning and joining 2 sections at a time. You will need some elbow grease to push the bolts through; an Allen wrench is helpful and you should wear gloves. This is when a long screwdriver, “T” handle Allen wrench or drill with socket will come in handy.
- The assembled frame can be placed into the trampoline pit. A completed frame will take 3-4 adults to move; it will weigh around 235 pounds.
- Double check the diameter of the frame in several places to ensure that it is round. Make sure the frame is level; a laser level is a great tool for this, but you can use any type of level.
- Using the excavated soil, you will now backfill the frame assembly. Add 12 inches of loose dirt at a time; avoid clumps and rocks. Compact the soil and use water to settle it into place. The backfill should reach to the bottom of the rubber edging. When you add sod, mulch or sand, you will want it to be level with the top of the frame.
- Attach every fourth spring from the frame to the rings on the mat; attach the small hook to the mat and then, utilizing the spring tool, attach the larger spring to the frame.<
- Next attach a spring in the middle of the springs you have already attached. Double check everything and make sure the springs are properly attached. Then add the rest of the springs.
- Lay the pad around the perimeter of the trampoline; you will need to lie down on the mat in order to tie the straps that are located on the bottom side of the pad. Insert the end of each strap between the frame tub and wall panel, buckle it as tightly as possible to prevent slippage. Make sure they are equally spaced and the pad is lying flat.
- Find the kids and enjoy!
Allow only one person at a time on the trampoline so that the jumper can stay in the middle where the safety margin is the greatest.
Empty pockets and remove jewelry before jumping.
Regularly inspect the trampoline and all of its components; make sure that all springs are attached and that the safety pad is securely in place.
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