How To Keep Inflatables From Killing Grass

Written By: Jen

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Lawns and yards are perfect for setting-up inflatables such as bounce houses, pools, and water slides. However, leaving the inflatables in one place can do some serious damage to any grass that they’re sitting on.

inflatable pool on the grass

There are other factors at play too, including water from pools or slip and slides that could also damage grass due to the chemicals or soaps used.

Different inflatables will have a different impact on grass, so let’s take a look at which ones you need to be concerned about, and how to prevent killing your grass.

Do Inflatable Pools Kill Grass?

Inflatable pools can kill grass – primarily due to the waterproof material preventing sunlight from reaching the grass underneath. The weight will flatten grass, but it will recover if you allow sunlight to reach it.

Grass primarily draws its moisture from the soil, but a larger enough pool will prevent grass in the middle from getting the water it needs. So the combination of lack of sunlight, moisture and the weight of the pool can definitely damage and eventually kill grass.

Inflatable pool in the backyard

How Long Can You Leave An Inflatable Pool On Grass?

Grass will turn dormant and change color to brown within 24 hours if deprived of sunlight and moisture. Grass can be revived up to two weeks after going dormant, but the longer you leave it, the more risk you have of killing it.

Ideally, you should move your inflatable pool every 3-4 days at most if you’ve left it on grass. Make sure you move it to a completely new section of the lawn, so you don’t overlap with grass that is dormant, otherwise that grass will die and leave an empty soil patch behind.

You also should never put an inflatable pool or hot tub straight onto the grass. Here’s what you should lay underneath.

Will Draining an Inflatable Pool (On Grass) Ruin My Grass?

Draining an inflatable pool onto your lawn will only kill the grass if it contains chlorine, or if you completely flood the area. If your water contains no chemicals, you can drain it onto the lawn provided you don’t oversaturate it.

For most smaller pools, it doesn’t make sense to add chlorine – it’s easier to just drain the pool and refill it when it needs cleaning. And these are the pools that will normally be easier to move around as well.

a girl playing on a small inflatable pool with slide

Larger pools that you can’t easily empty and refill will need to be chlorinated, and you shouldn’t drain these onto grass – at least, not when the chlorine levels are too high.

Chlorine will fade, so as long as you stop adding chlorine a few days before you drain the pool, it’ll be safe to run onto grass.

Grass or Concrete for Inflatable Pools?

Since small inflatable pools need to be drained regularly anyway, it makes sense to put them on a soft surface like grass that won’t scratch the lining. Large pools that can’t be moved should be placed on concrete, so they don’t kill the grass underneath.

Concrete is also a more solid surface for a larger pool, and won’t struggle to bear the weight. Placing a large pool onto the earth, even if it feels solid, could cause it to sag slightly.

It’s a good idea to lay a ground cloth between the pool and the concrete surface to protect the lining of the pool from wear and tear.

Read more: What To Put Under Inflatable Pool On Concrete

Inflatable pool on grass

Will Inflatable Water Slides Kill My Grass?

Setting up an inflatable water slide in your lawn may flatten the grass but wouldn’t necessarily kill it. If it’s a slip and slide, be aware that using dish soap to lubricate it could dry out grass – make sure to water it heavily once finished.

Just as with a pool, a slip and slide left in one place for a few days could kill it, because you’re depriving it of sunlight. Slip and slides are easy to move so just nudge it across a few feet every couple of days if you aren’t packing it away.

There’s an old wives’ tale that dish soap is beneficial to grass – it isn’t. So when you’re soaping up your slide, be aware that you’ll want to make sure to water the grass heavily to dilute it and prevent your grass from drying out.

inflatable water slide

How To Protect Your Grass from Damage Caused by Inflatables

Everybody wants their lawn to look green, lush, and beautiful. Also, it takes a lot of work to repair dormant grass or grow it afresh.

So follow these steps to make sure your inflatables aren’t responsible for the destruction of your lawn.

1. Move It Around

Letting an inflatable sit on the grass for a long time inhibits access to sunlight, oxygen, and moisture. If grass doesn’t get these for more than 24 hours, it starts to become dormant.

Eventually, it won’t be recoverable – the grass will start dying out in two weeks’ time. Therefore, it’s essential to keep moving an inflatable regularly, preferably every one or two days.

family playing on marvel heroes inflatable bounce house

2. Add A Barrier

If you’re going to set up a large inflatable pool on grass, it would be a good idea to place a barrier underneath the pool that raises it slightly. This is because larger pools are harder to move from one place to another.

A barrier will protect the grass by providing small air pockets. It’s a short-term solution that will only postpone the grass going dormant by a few days, so you will still need to move the inflatable – but you may buy a little bit of time.

Lets grass breathe underneath pool


Comfortable to stand on

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3. Water The Grass

Once you have taken down the inflatable pool, make sure you generously water the grass to help it recover. Don’t flood it, but ensure it has enough moisture to help revive it quickly.

Final Words

Inflatables – whether it’s a pool, a water slide, or an inflatable nightclub – will kill the grass if they’re left in one place for too long. So it’s important to move them regularly if you want your lawn to stay beautiful and green.

Otherwise, it’s just about making sure you don’t accidentally splash chemicals or dish soap onto the grass. Follow these steps and you won’t need to go buy a new batch of garden seed or turf from your local garden store.

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Jen is your go-to expert on all things inflatable, from pools to tents and beyond. A former hot tub rental company owner, she's experienced the ups and downs of inflatables firsthand. Nowadays, she writes practical guides on maintaining and enjoying inflatables. A mom of young enthusiasts, her family's favorite outing is the inflatable fun park!

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