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Do Bounce Houses Ruin Grass? How To Protect Your Lawn

When we first got a bounce house, I wondered if it was going to ruin the grass in our yard. After doing some research, and testing things out in our own yard, I have finally come up with an answer.

Bounce houses can ruin your grass if they are dark colored, set onto a dark colored tarp, or are left on the lawn for too long. To prevent a bounce house from ruining your grass, don’t leave it in one spot for multiple days, and water your grass after you take it down.

The larger bounce houses can flatten the grass, but there are ways to prevent your grass from dying because of that. Follow these simple tips, and you shouldn’t have any problems with your grass because of a bounce house.

What Causes The Grass To Die

Many people think that the weight of the bounce house flattening the grass is what kills it. It’s true, bounce houses can be heavy, and they will flatten the grass. But if it’s only set up for a day or two, the weight of the bounce house won’t be what damages the lawn.

Typically, a bounce house rental is only for 8 hours to a full day rental. That is not long enough to kill your lawn from the weight of the bounce house alone. If you have your own bounce house and use it throughout the year, leaving the bounce house in one spot for long periods of time will cause damage. Consider moving the bounce house around the yard to keep it from ruining the grass.

ConditionDurationRisk Level
Bounce House Weight1 DayLow
Bounce House Weight3+ DaysMedium
High Heat (from dark plastic)1 HoursMedium
High Heat (from dark plastic)4+ HoursHigh
Low Moisture1 DayLow
Low Moisture3+ DaysMedium
No Oxygen1 DayLow
No Oxygen3+ DaysHigh

The most common reason people see a bounce house ruin their grass, is because they used a dark colored tarp to put the bounce house on. The dark colors will attract heat from the sun a lot easier, which ends up heating the grass to a higher temperature than it can live with.

The real reason your grass will get damaged is from high heat, low moisture, and lack of oxygen to the grass.

Leaving a bounce house in the same location for extended periods of time blocks any moisture from getting to the grass underneath. Low moisture coupled with the bounce house weight and lack of oxygen will damage your grass. Try to move the bounce house every day or two if you plan on having it set up for extended periods of time.

Selecting The Bounce House Location

When deciding where to place the bounce house, first consider how long it will be in that spot, and where you can move the bounce house so that the new location doesn’t over lap old one. This will keep your bounce house on fresh lawn and reduce the risks of damaging the grass.

Some types of grass, like St. Augustine grass, don’t do well when air is cut off from above it. You will have to move the bounce house more often if you have more sensitive grass. Generally, any type of grass can withstand a bounce house for at least 8 hours without getting damaged.

I would avoid putting the bounce house on gravel or sharp rocks, unless you have a really thick tarp, the sharp rocks can puncture a tarp and the bounce house pretty easily.

You can place a bounce house in a driveway or on pavement if you lay a tarp down underneath it. The bouncing will cause the bounce house to shift slightly while in use, but the tarp can protect it from getting scuffed up and ripping.

What Tarp To Use Under A Bounce House

Use a light colored tarp if at all possible, but not clear. The clear tarps don’t attract heat from the sun like a dark colored tarp does. But the clear tarps can cause a greenhouse effect, which can heat up the grass and cause damage just the same.

An opaque (not see through) white tarp would be ideal, but any lighter colored tarp will work. Some tarps have a dark color on one side, and a lighter color like grey or blue on the other. Make sure to place the dark side down as to keep it out of direct sunlight.

Here’s an example Heavy Duty Thick Tarp on Amazon to give you an idea of what to look for. The grey, blue, or white options would work best. This tarp is thick enough to place on a driveway or pavement underneath the bounce house to protect it.

Water The Grass

This tip is especially important for dry or hot areas. After you move the bounce house, you’ll want to water the grass that was underneath it very well. The grass may look flattened, but a good watering will keep the grass alive and help it stand back up on its own.

Water the covered area for about 5 to 10 minutes to help the grass stand back up and stay healthy.

Water the grass within reason. If it has been raining and not very dry out, don’t drown the grass. If you’re expecting rain that night, you may not need to do anything. The point is that the grass will greatly benefit from a good watering after being covered for extended periods of time.

Do Bounce Houses Have To Be On Grass?

No, bounce houses do not need to be set up on grass to be used. Any flat area with a smooth surface can be used. Lay a tarp down under the bounce house to keep it protected. Avoid placing the bounce house on sharp rocks or roots that can puncture a tarp and the bounce house material.

Setting up a bounce house on the grass is always the most ideal option. But if you have a dead patch of grass or dirt area in the yard, that can work great too. Then you won’t have to worry about the bounce house damaging the good areas of your lawn. On the other hand, if you are trying to revive those dead areas, I would avoid adding more strain to them by placing a bounce house there.

How Long Can Grass Be Covered Before It Dies?

Different types of grass can be covered for different lengths of time without having any damaging effects. Most grass found in a yard can be covered for a day or so without causing irreversible damage. Any longer than two days, and you risk killing the grass completely. Grass needs the air and oxygen from above to grow properly.

In most cases, a quick watering can help bring the covered grass back to life. If you make it a point to move the bounce house every day, you shouldn’t have any problems. Most bounce house rentals will only be for the day anyways.

If you plan on owning your own bounce house. Here’s a list I made of the 12 Best Bounce Houses for the money. I split the bounce houses into categories like, best for kids, best with slide, best with water, etc. So I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that works for your needs. I also talk about what makes a good bounce house and what to look for before you buy.

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