4 Ways You Can Protect Grass From an Inflatable Pool (With Alternative Options)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Inflatable pools are a lifesaver to help beat the heat throughout the summer months.  But, while they can help you and your family stay cool, they can also wreak havoc on the area of lawn that they sit atop.  

In our household, we’ve had more than one occasion where we’ve left a small pool on the lawn for several days to later find that the grass underneath has turned brown and shriveled when we finally put it away.

This article will explore several options in how to protect grass from an inflatable pool:

  • Keep the Pool Off the Lawn
  • Move the Pool Around Frequently
  • Sod Removal and Replacement
  • Regrow Grass Between Pool Seasons

For those that are okay with sacrificing grass under the pool, there are other creative options that you can use to liven up the area in the off-season:

  • Garden Bed
  • Fire Pit Hangout
  • Simple Ground Cover Plants

Benefits of a Healthy Lawn

There’s a significant difference between a green lush lawn and one that is crunchy and brown.  Keeping the lawn healthy not only looks good, but has other benefits including:


If you’ve ever walked on the grass barefoot, you know that a thick and soft lawn is more inviting than a pokey one.  Family activities out on the lawn will be more comfortable if you can roam without worry of a prick to the foot. 

Home Value

Well maintained landscaping and lawn may add up to 13% to the home’s value. That can be a lot of dough when it comes time to sell. 

Reduce Soil Erosion

The root systems of grass can help prevent erosion from water and wind.  A barren lawn will be more prone to unstable topsoil without grass.

How Long Can Grass Be Covered Before It Dies?

There are dozens of grass species that are grown throughout North America.  Each type has certain conditions that they thrive under.  

Some grass species –such as Kentucky bluegrass or fescues– are better suited in the Northeast under the cooler and wet climate.  Whereas other species –such as Bermudagrass or St. Augustinegrass– are better suited for the southwest warm and dry climates.

Regardless of the type of grass, they all need the basic essentials to survive: sunlight and water.  When covered by an inflatable pool, the grass is denied these essentials.

Covering the grass with an inflatable pool or any other solid material will reduce its access to water and sunlight.  

In many cases, covering grass for just two days may cause the grass to start turning pale.  The discoloration indicates early signs of stress-induced damage. 

If grass is covered for longer than two days, there is an increased risk of the grass beginning to go dormant.  Dormancy occurs when grass is attempting to protect itself, and often causes the blades to turn brown.  

Although dormant grass may appear dead, the roots remain alive.  This allows for rejuvenation of the grass with proper care and without need for re-seeding.

While there is no hard and fast timeline, the likelihood of grass dying is greatly increased if it remains covered for two weeks or longer.  During this time the grass will transition from dormant to dead.  Once the grass has died, it can no longer be rejuvenated without re-seeding.

A few factors that affect the length of time before covered grass dies:

Type of Covering

A solid covering will prevent water from penetrating causing dehydration of the grass.  Plastic coverings, including a vinyl pool, are an example of a covering that will prevent water from reaching the grass.

A mesh covering –such as landscaping fabric– allows water to pass through to the grass, but may keep sunlight from reaching the grass.  It may also be detrimental to the grass as it could cause overheating.

Opacity of Covering

The opacity of material is also a key factor that could affect how quickly grass dies.  Opaque materials prevent rays of light from passing through.  

An opaque material such as black plastic will prevent sunlight from reaching the grass.  Black plastic mulch under a sunny day can heat the soil up to 130°F, which can harm grass down to the roots.

Clear material will cause grass to heat even quicker than opaque material, and may result in temperatures in excess of 140°F.

Density of Covering

Although the weight of water in a pool is not known to cause direct long-term damage to grass, it can effectively suffocate the grass.  

A heavy object will compress grass onto the ground preventing any sunlight or water from reaching underneath.  This may quicken the dying process. 

A lighter object that does not sit flat to the ground may allow some sunlight and water to reach underneath.  This can help the grass to receive some nutrients, which would extend how long it can survive while covered.  

For coverings such as mulch, a thicker layer will hinder the ability of grass to receive sunlight and water when compared to a thinner layer.  

How to Protect Grass from an Inflatable Pool

There a several options in being able to keep the lawn lush while still enjoying the benefits of an inflatable pool:

Keep Pool Off the Lawn

Keeping the pool off the lawn to begin with is often the easiest way to keep grass protected from it. 

Inflatable Pool on Concrete

A concrete surface such as a patio can be a great spot for an inflatable pool.  A driveway may also be used if it is relatively level.

If placing an inflatable pool on concrete, it is recommended that a protective layer be used under the pool.  An inflatable pool placed directly onto concrete could increase risk of punctures or tears.  

Mats specifically designed to protect the bottom of the pool can be purchased.  Alternatively, old carpet, rugs or linens can be used to provide protection.

Can You Place an Inflatable Pool On a Deck?

While a pool party on the deck may sound great in theory, decks are often not built to support the weight of medium to large size pool.

For instance, a 13 foot round inflatable pool can hold up to 2,000 gallons of water –this could weigh upwards of 16,000 pounds!  This pool would exert up to 120 pounds/square foot.  Most decks are built to hold a minimum of 50 pounds/square foot –this would be very unlikely to be able to withstand the weight of such a pool.

If you are considering use of an existing deck for a pool it will be necessary to review the strength of the deck with a structural engineer.  It is sometimes possible to reinforce a deck to withstand the weight of a pool, but this will require careful review and planning.

If building a new deck to hold a pool, it will be easier to ensure it’s designed to withstand the weight of the planned pool.     

Move the Pool Around Frequently

If the inflatable pool is placed on the lawn, it is still possible to protect the grass underneath.  The key is to ensure the pool is moved around the yard on a near-daily basis.

Given the weight of a filled pool, it will most likely need to be drained down very low in order to move it.  The pool can then be slid across the grass to a new location, which will allow the previous location to receive proper nutrients to stay fresh.

Take care if draining the pool onto the lawn, as high levels of chlorine in the water can harm the grass. Consider natural ways to clean the pool as these will be safer for your lawn (and swimmers).

This option may be most practical for those with small to medium sized pools.  

Draining large pools every day or two will consume lots of water during refills.  Additionally, once filled the pool may be unable to reach a comfortable temperature by the time it needs to move again.

Sod Removal During Pool Season

For those that would rather avoid lugging a pool around the yard daily –but still want to have a healthy patch of grass when the pool is removed for the season– a more unconventional option may be through use of sod.

Sod is the combination of grass and soil that is held together by the root system.    

This method can be used by outlining the perimeter of the pool.  The sod from inside the outlined area can then be carefully removed.

A temporary underlayment such as weed fabric or astroturf can be placed on top of the soil for the pool to sit on.

If proper care is taken to keep the removed sod watered in a temporary location during the pool season, it may be possible to replant it once the pool is removed.  Once replanted, the roots should be able to re-attach to the surrounding earth with proper care.

Re-using your removed sod for the pool area will take a significant amount of effort to keep the sod alive during the pool season.  However, this provides immediate repair of the area after the pool is removed.

Alternatively, it may be possible to purchase sod of your lawn’s same grass species from a landscaping service.  This may eliminate the effort required to maintain your sod throughout the summer, by providing a means to purchase replacement sod after pool season.

Regrow Grass Between Pool Seasons

If the removed pool has left the dreaded circle of dead grass, it is possible to regrow grass in the area.  

This option may be most desirable if not planning to re-install the pool at the same location next season.  

Particularly in the cooler climates, it may be near impossible to regrow lawn in the portion of the year that the pool is removed.  Warmer climates may have more success with regrowth during the offseason than the cooler climates.  

Regrowing grass may take upwards of two months to achieve the thick lawn that matches the surrounding area.  

How to Grow Grass

Grass can be grown by following these simple steps: 

  1. Acquire grass seed of the same blend or species of the surrounding lawn.
  2. Loosen the topsoil with a rake.  
  3. Spread the grass seed and gently rake it into the topsoil (seeds covered by approx ¼” of soil).
  4. A light ground covering such as straw (not hay) may be applied on top to help protect the fragile seeds.
  5. Water lightly at least once a day until the grass is two inches high.

Take care not to use any weed preventers in the newly seeded area for at least a month.  A general rule of thumb is to wait until the area has been mowed four times before applying weed treatment in the area.

Alternative Landscaping Under the Pool

There are some other options that may be worth considering if you’d rather not try to maintain grass under the inflatable pool.

Garden Bed

Adding a garden bed at the site of the removed pool has the ability to add purpose to the area.  

The level of effort for this option can be scaled based on whether the pool will be coming back to this location next season.  If the pool will be set up again next season, you may want to use materials that will be easy to remove.

A few easy steps to create the garden bed, whether permanent or temporary:

  1. Landscaping fabric can be secured on top of the soil to prevent weed growth.
  2. Edging (plastic, stone, etc) can be used to separate the surrounding lawn from the garden bed.
  3. Mulch, stone or other material can be used to cover the landscaping fabric or soil.
  4. Flowers may be used to add color and texture to the bed.
  5. Garden decor –such as solar lights, statues, windmills, etc– may be added to help fill the space. 

If re-installing the pool next season, you will want to remove any materials from the garden bed that may damage the bottom of the pool.  Much of the material can easily be repurposed for other garden beds.

Fire Pit 

Adding a fire pit can provide a drastic transformation of the dirt circle into a hangout on cool fall nights.  This can be accomplished through either a portable fire pit or a fire pit that’s built into the ground.  

With the grass already being dead, this eliminates some of the typical prep work that is generally required when placing a fire pit.

Some basic steps to transform that pool circle into a fire pit hangout:

  1. Landscaping fabric can be secured on top of the soil to prevent weed growth.
  2. Edging (plastic, stone, etc) can be used to separate the surrounding lawn from the pool circle.
  3. Pea stone gravel or other non-flammable hardscaping material can be installed in the pool circle.
  4. Add a portable fire pit to the area along with your favorite chairs and favorite people!

If re-installing the pool next season, you may need to either remove the hardscaping or simply add a protective layer on top in order to prevent damage to the pool.

Other Ground Cover Plants

If interested in simply preserving the pool circle during the offseason with minimal cost or effort, it is worth considering ground cover plants.  

Ground cover plants can protect the top soil from erosion during the months that the pool is not there.  

Some ground cover plants such as clover can begin sprouting in as little as two or three days.

If using ground cover plants, it is strongly recommended that some form of edging be used around the perimeter of the pool circle.  Ground cover plants can quickly start overtaking the rest of the lawn, in which the edging will help keep it contained.

When ready to re-install the pool, simply mow the ground cover beforehand.

Final Takeaway

While there are several options to protect the grass from an inflatable pool, they may not be practical for all homeowners.  Filling, draining, and moving a pool across the yard every couple days may be more work than it’s worth.

Fortunately, it is possible to transform the pool’s dead patch into a usable space.  A garden bed will add character to the yard, while a fire pit will provide you and your guests a leisurely hangout in the off-season.

Leave a Comment