After moving our bounce house around the yard to keep from ruining the grass, I wondered what other terrain I could set the bounce house on. After some research, and a bit of trial and error, I have some good information about where you can set up a bounce house.
A bounce house should be placed on level terrain (less than 5% slope) in an area that allows for anchoring the bounce house. The ground should be free of debris, and a protective layer should be placed underneath. Grass, concrete, asphalt, driveways, indoors, and in a garage are all acceptable locations.
The key take away’s from this are anchoring, level terrain, and the protective layer. I’ll explain each of these requirements, and give helpful info for setting up the bounce house in various locations.
Level Terrain For A Bounce House
It’s recommended that a bounce house be set up on completely level terrain, but up to a 5 percent slope can still work. The more sloped the terrain is, the higher chances of the bounce house tipping over. If the bounce house is on a slope, extra anchoring is recommended.
A 5% percent slope is equal to a 1:20 gradient, or 2.86 degrees incline/decline. That means for every 20 feet of length, you can have 1 foot of height difference. This applies to any unit of measure, for example, 20 inches length for every 1 inch in height.
Of course look for the flattest areas possible, but just know that you can work with a little bit of slope if you have to. Usually indoors, or in a garage, there will be very little slope or none at all. Driveways and sloped yards are where you need to be careful.
Anchoring A Bounce House
Anchoring a bounce house is a good idea, especially if you expect wind or the bounce house is on a bit of a slope. Many rental companies require that you anchor the bounce house before anyone jump on it. Usually a bounce house will come with stakes to anchor it with, and rental companies might have sandbags that come with the rental.
There have been many cases where a bounce house has been picked up by the wind and blown several yards, sometimes with kids inside. Anchoring a bounce house in place is a crucial safety measure.
You will need to inflate the bounce house before anchoring it. But you do want to anchor it before anyone jumps on it. The bounce house will shift as it inflates, so you will just have to redo the anchors if you anchored it before then. I find it easiest to walk around and anchor the bounce house as it inflates.
Grass, Dirt, And Soil Anchoring
To anchor the bounce house on a soil based terrain like dirt or grass. You will use the included stakes and sometimes ropes. There will be anchor points on the bottom of the bounce house itself, that you will stake directly into the ground. Some of the larger bounce houses might have anchor points higher up that you tie a rope to, and then anchor to the ground that way.
Here’s a video of a guy that uses these super strong ground anchors to hold his bounce house in place, I like this approach. Here’s a link to the Spiral Ground Anchor on Amazon if you like them too.
Concrete, Driveway, And Pavement Anchoring
If you’re setting the bounce house up in the driveway, on concrete, or pavement, you may not be able to use stakes or a spiral ground anchor. In that case, I recommend using sand bags or water bags. You can also just tie the bounce house to anything heavy to anchor it, like concrete blocks.
These Vinyl Sand Bags from Amazon are the most common used for bounce houses and inflatables. They hold a 40 lb sand bag and have the carrying handles and hooks needed to anchor a bounce house.
Here’s a quick video explaining how sandbag anchors work.
Indoors And In Garage Anchoring
The main reason for anchoring is to prevent the bounce house from tipping over or getting blown away. Indoors or in the garage, you don’t really need to worry about the wind, and the size of bounce house that will fit inside, or in the garage, has a lower chance of tipping over.
You may not need to anchor smaller bounce houses that are used indoors out of the wind and weather. The risk of tipping is reduced in smaller bounce houses as well.
We’ve set our bounce houses up inside and didn’t anchor them at all, and everything went perfectly fine. We just pushed the bounce house up against a wall, and it only shifted around a little bit when things got rowdy. If you want to be extra safe, use sandbags to anchor the bounce house indoors or in the garage.
Protective Layer Under A Bounce House
In all locations it’s recommended to put a tarp down under the bounce house before inflating it. The one exception being indoors on a carpet. In a nice soft grassy area, you could probably get away with not using one. But if you own a bounce house, it’s probably a good idea to get a tarp to go with it. Most rental companies will provide a tarp with the bounce house rental, it helps protect their invest. You should do the same.
Any lightly colored large tarp will work, make sure it’s big enough to cover the entire bottom of your bounce house. I like this Heavy Duty Tarp on Amazon because it comes in light colors, and in almost any size you’ll need. It’s a little more expensive than some of the cheaper tarps, but that’s because it’s very thick and durable. It’s a great way to protect your bounce house from the terrain.
Make sure to pick out a light colored tarp if you plan on using it on the grass. The darker colored tarps will heat up in the sun and could damage your grass. I go into more detail about that in my article How To Prevent A Bounce House From Ruining The Grass, but basically when you’re picking out the protective layer, just get a light colored tarp.
Ideal Bounce House Location
The ideal location for a bounce house is in a flat grassy area. It’s better for the jumpers, and it’s better for the bounce house. Sure when you’re jumping in the bounce house, it doesn’t really matter where it is. But when the kids get out and run around a little bit, it’s nice to be on the grass.
The ideal bounce house location is on a completely flat, soft grassy area, free of roots, rocks, and debris.
If you’re using a water based bounce house, like a bounce house with a water slide or pool. The water that splashes out onto the terrain could cause a hazardous condition. Driveways and concrete can become more slippery when they get wet, leading to an increased chance of injury. Just another reason why the grass is ideal.
Bounce House Locations To Avoid
You want to avoid putting your bounce house on anything that could potentially puncture the bounce house material. Usually, moving some rocks and sticks can make an area suitable. But there are types of terrain and obstacles you’ll want to avoid to protect your bounce house and the jumpers.
Terrain Obstacles To Avoid:
- Wood chips
- Thorny weeds
- Irrigation systems
If you’re not going to use a tarp under the bounce house, I would also avoid pavement, concrete, and driveways. Continuous movement of the bounce house from jumping will slowly deteriorate the bounce house material on those harder surfaces. The only time I’m not using a tarp, is when we’re set up on soft grass or indoors.
Can Bounce Houses Be Used Indoors?
A bounce house can be set up and used indoors if the ceiling is high enough and the room is big enough to fit the bounce house and sandbag anchors. Many smaller personal use bounce houses will easily fit in a playroom, but the larger commercial bounce houses will only fit in a large gym or auditorium.
We fit our small bounce house for the kids in the playroom with no problems. We didn’t need the sandbag anchors either so that saved a little space. Instead we pushed into a corner to keep it from sliding around too much.
Can Bounce Houses Go On Concrete?
A bounce house can be set up and used on concrete if the area is relatively flat and solid. It’s recommended that a tarp be placed under the bounce house to protect from rubbing and wearing thin against the concrete. Sandbags, water bags, or concrete blocks can be used to anchor the bounce house in place.
Here’s a video of a couple guys setting up a bounce house on a concrete slab. They used sand bags to anchor the bounce house as it was inflating.
Can A Bounce House Fit In A Garage?
A bounce house can be set up and used in a garage if the ceiling is high enough and the garage is big enough. Typically, a smaller bounce house will need a 10′ by 10′ area or less to inflate, and are best suited for smaller children. Some models are as small as 6′ by 6′ and are ideal for inside a garage.
Most garages are on a concrete slab so they same rules apply, use a tarp, and sandbag anchors for safety. You may get away with not using anchors in a garage if you keep it out of the wind.
Can A Bounce House Go On A Driveway?
A bounce house can be set up and used on a driveway if the bounce house is anchored properly with sandbags, and a tarp has been placed underneath it. Some rental companies will prefer to set up the bounce house on grass, but will still allow a driveway set up as a last resort.
Most driveways are sloped to steep to place a bounce house on. That’s why it’s usually considered a last resort location. But if you use sandbag anchors and a durable tarp, there will be no problems using a bounce house in the driveway.