In-ground trampolines are fantastic. Dig a hole in the ground, reinforce it with a retaining wall, and stick a trampoline in there — boom. You have a safe, fun jumping surface that will keep your kids busy for hours.
The problem is that the installation cost for an inground trampoline can be significantly higher than simply purchasing an above-ground trampoline.
This may surprise some folks. After all, it doesn’t seem like a hole in the ground should really add much to the price. But how much does an in-ground trampoline cost, anyway?
Inground trampoline installation cost varies significantly depending on the model, the quality of the retaining wall, the added accessories (such as an enclosure net), and any labor costs. Generally, the total cost of a DIY installation is between $1200 and $3000, while a professional installation with excavation costs between $1800 and $4000.
Below, I’ll dive into the different aspects that can alter the cost of in-ground trampolines and provide some excellent ideas for how you can save some money.
Why are In-Ground Trampolines so Expensive?
In-ground trampolines are expensive compared to above-ground trampolines for 3 main reasons — the need for excavation, the addition of a retaining wall, and the associated labor involved.
Above-ground trampolines require modest assembly but are generally low maintenance. You can put them anywhere, move them whenever you want, and pack them up once you’re done. On the other hand, in-ground trampolines require much more planning and have several cost factors to consider.
One of the main factors for in-ground trampoline costs is the necessary excavation. This often requires renting special machinery and hiring someone who knows how to use it. Most holes will be multiple feet down at the deepest point and will take a few hours at least to get it right.
The time involved will increase depending on multiple factors, including the season and the type of soil. For example, cold weather will make conditions difficult to dig a hole, as you’ll be contending with hard ground. Also, sandy soil is prone to collapse and needs extra reinforcement.
Additionally, special care must be taken to construct a proper drainage system. Trust me — you won’t want standing water underneath your trampoline. A wet trampoline will be the least of your worries. The pooling water will be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests.
Finally, added moisture increases the likelihood that your retaining wall will collapse, which would completely ruin your trampoline area.
All of these considerations mean you’ll want a skilled hand digging your trampoline hole and will want to consult with trampoline experts. Unsurprisingly, this added requirement will increase how much it costs.
The cost is also elevated by the requirement for a trampoline retaining wall. While an in-ground trampoline kit will usually contain it at no extra charge, the fact that they have to include it will increase the average cost of the product.
Additionally, professional installation will also elevate the price you’ll pay.
Size of jumping surface
The size of your jumping surface is one of the most impactful factors for your in-ground trampoline cost. Much like above-ground trampolines, you pay more the bigger unit you buy. Unlike traditional trampolines, the cost balloons substantially.
A larger jumping surface requires a larger trampoline hole and additional material for the retaining wall.
The trampoline frame
The trampoline frame cost between an above-ground trampoline and a sunken trampoline is modest but present. For inground trampolines, you want a galvanized steel frame for added toughness. This will of course increase the weight limit, but also has other benefits.
Unlike an above-ground trampoline, airflow is limited underneath the jumping surface. When moisture goes down below ground level, it stays for a lot longer. This moisture will ruin an inadequate frame.
Therefore, in-ground trampoline frames tend to be a lot stronger and, thusly, more expensive.
Additional accessories also increase the overall build cost of your in-ground trampoline. Naturally, you’ll need a safety pad with adequate ventilation (for reasons we explored above). However, in-ground trampolines also need a good safety net.
Many people choose to skip a safety net, given that the jumping surface is at ground level. However, when multiple kids jump on the trampoline, safety nets prove to be a wise investment. Accidents and fractures are prone to happen, even among the most careful.
If you need any more convincing, the Cleveland Clinic recently pointed out that trampoline injuries are on the rise.
How to Make Your In-Ground Trampoline Installation Cheaper
In terms of the cheapest in-ground trampoline available, you’ll have difficulty finding anything for less than $1,500. In fact, the only option on Amazon actually surpasses this price (check it here — affiliate link).
However, if you’d like to save costs, there are approaches you can take to make your in-ground trampoline cost cheaper.
Choose a “low trampoline” instead
One way to avoid the added cost of excavation and retaining wall construction is to set your sights on a trampoline that is low to the ground instead of one that is in the ground.
While many would consider this cheating, there are many options for smaller trampolines that sit only a couple of feet from the earth.
This drastically cuts your trampoline costs — you can regularly find them between $200 and $800 (like these models on Amazon) — while also keeping many of the benefits. Especially when combined with a safety net, trampolines that are low to the ground are still fairly safe.
At least they’re safer than their above-ground trampoline counterparts.
However, there are cons to this arrangement. Windy areas such as Utah and Arizona will prove a challenge to these models. Unless you strap the trampoline down, it will literally be gone with the wind. If you live in an area with high winds, consider this when determining your trampoline costs.
Naturally, you’ll save money if you do it all yourself. If you’re the handy type, this may be a good option when compared to a similar high professional installation cost.
Make sure you’re really up for this task, though. While it will certainly reduce your inground trampoline cost, it’s not a trivial installation process. Here’s a timelapse video from a popular remodeling YouTube channel:
As you can see, the installation of the trampoline is relatively straightforward. However, digging a trampoline pit involves some heavy machinery and some expertise. Here’s another secret for you — any landscaping company or trampoline company you hire will likely subcontract out the excavation.
If you’re not fully enrolled in doing it yourself, you may shave some dollars off the cost by contacting an excavation company directly.