We struggled with our inflatable pool killing our grass for a while. After weeks of trying different solutions, I have found the best ways to keep an inflatable pool from ruining your grass.
To keep an inflatable pool from ruining your grass, move the pool every day or two. If the pool is too large to move, consider putting it on a patio or deck. Covering the grass for more than 24 hours will cause the grass to go dormant, after 2 weeks, the grass will die completely.
There are ways to bring dormant grass back to new without too much effort. If the grass has died completely, there will be extra work needed to repair it. Here are some tips to help keep your grass alive, and how to repair it if it gets damaged.
Will An Inflatable Pool Kill The Grass?
Yes, an inflatable pool will kill the grass if left out for over two weeks. Inflatable pools block the sun and suffocate the grass under them. Usually after a day or two the grass will go dormant, turning a brown tan color. Dormant grass can be repaired and will grow again. Dead grass spots will need to be reseeded.
There are some strains of grass that will do better after being covered, like bermuda grass. But some grass varieties, like bent grass, will die quicker. Here are some popular grass types found in America:
- Wheat Grass
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Bermuda Grass
- Zoysia Grass
- Rye Grass
- Bent Grass
- Carpet Grass
However, it doesn’t really matter what type of grass you have, covering it for extended periods of time will kill it. When any type of grass is deprived of sunlight and oxygen, it will go dormant to try protecting itself for a time. After a week or two of this, the grass will simply die, and the sod or roots will rot.
Grass starts to go dormant after 24 hours of being covered, and can die in as little as 1 to 2 weeks.
Funny Story: We’ve actually used this to our advantage when planning a new garden plot in the backyard. Set up the inflatable pool, let the kids enjoy it all summer, then prep that area as a garden bed for the next spring. The inflatable pool killed all the grass, and we were able to more easily prep the area for a garden.
How To Keep An Inflatable Pool From Killing The Grass
There aren’t very many options for keeping an inflatable pool from killing your grass. If you plan on placing an inflatable pool on the yard, chances are it will cause damage in some way. Here are a couple things to consider.
Move The Pool Every Day
The first option to consider is to simply move the pool every day or two. This can become a real hassle for medium sized pools, and simply out of the question for larger inflatable pools. But for smaller kiddies pools, this is your best bet.
You will be cleaning and replacing the water every few days anyway, why not empty and hang the pool to dry after every use. Check out my article about How To Clean An Inflatable Pool and try syncing your cleaning schedule with moving the pool to a new location.
Avoid Setting Up On Grass
This is the ideal approach for medium sized and larger inflatable pools that are being cleaned with chlorine and pH balancing chemicals. Typically these pools are too heavy to move without emptying them first, and when you’re keeping the water sanitized with chemicals, there is no need to empty them anyway.
To avoid killing your yard, look for a location like a porch, deck, or patio that you can place the pool on instead. Also consider raking out a layer of sand to place the pool on and remove the grass from that spot completely.
To avoid having to repair grass every year, place a layer of sand, synthetic grass, fake turf, or mulch (with protective tarp) where you will have the pool.
Repair The Grass After The Pool Is Taken Down
If you can’t move the pool every day or two, and don’t want to put anything on your lawn to place the pool on, you’ll need to repair the grass every year. Some people don’t mind doing this, and it isn’t too difficult after you’ve got the hang of it. Personally, I don’t do this as I would rather avoid all the extra work.
How To Repair Yard After An Inflatable Pool
There are two situations you could find yourself in, the grass could be dormant, or the grass is dead and the roots have rotted and died already. Typically the grass will only remain dormant for less than two weeks, and it can be hard to tell the different sometimes between dead and dormant.
If the grass has been covered for more than two weeks, treat it as dead grass and follow the steps below accordingly.
Here are the steps to bring grass out of dormancy after being covered for less than 2 weeks. Depending on how long the grass was covered, some areas may still have died slightly and will need more time or reseeding to come back.
This is the most important step, the grass has been deprived of water and oxygen causing it to go dormant in the first place, now give it plenty of both. If you can water the soil until it is wet at least a few inches deep, you’re off to a good start.
Don’t let weeds take control, this is especially important early on. Weed the area thoroughly as you continue to water daily. The weeds will starve your grass of the nutrients it needs to turn green and start growing again.
Mow The Grass
Well this may seem like a no-brainer but many people think they need to let the grass grow tall to make sure it’s roots have taken before mowing. That’s not necessary and could potentially hurt the grass growth, mow the area as you would normally mow your yard.
Reduce Foot Traffic
Become an old man, put a ‘stay off the grass’ sign up, and yell at the kids if they go near it. But seriously, try to keep foot traffic in the affected area down to minimum of you can. The grass needs a bit more love and attention when coming out of a dormant state.
I wanted to add this section to say, do not fertilize with any store bought nutrients like nitrogen. Leave the grass clippings in the lawn to naturally fertilize the grass as it grows.
If you add nutrients to dormant grass, the blades will return quicker than the roots, which could cause bigger problems later on.
To repair dead grass you’ll want to follow similar steps as repairing dormant grass except you’ll want to till the soil and add grass seed first. Add the grass seed into the soil as you’re mixing it up. Once you’ve done that to the entire affected area, follow the same tips for dormant grass above:
- Pull Weeds
- Mow The Grass
- Reduce Foot Traffic
There is one key difference in these tips when dealing with dead grass and trying to grow new seed. That’s the fertilize tip. For dormant grass you will want to avoid fertilizing with store bought methods. But when growing new seed, you should fertilize with compost, lawn food, or turf builder to kick start the process.
I like to use something like this Scotts Bermuda Grass Seed (link to Amazon) because each seed is covered with a water absorbing coating full of nutrients the grass needs to grow properly. I just mix this in with the soil as I till, and add plenty of water.
Here’s a video showing reseeding a dead area of grass from a pool. If you don’t want to till seed into the soil, you can do what this guy did and lay out straw over the seed.
Will Pool Water Kill The Grass?
No, pool water will not kill the grass in your yard. Pool water should not contain enough chlorine or pH balancing chemicals to damage any variety of lawn grass. Chlorine chemicals will kill most strains of grass, but when diluted in pool water, it’s safe to splash on the grass.
Most inflatable pool water will be safe to splash on the yard, and even many plants or flowers will be fine with it. With untreated water often found in smaller inflatable pools, the risks are none at all. The concern is with sanitized pool water treated with chemicals. But the chemicals are so diluted, there is no need for concern.