Expert reveals you should 'never' do this with a paddling pool if you want to protect your lawn

Everyone loves cooling off in a paddling pool, but they can quickly damage a lawn – here's how to keep your stretch of green looking pristine

children playing in large orange paddling pool on a lawn
(Image credit: Bestway)

Now June is here, if you have children – or a dog who's happy to splash about and cool down – you're likely to end up with an inflatable paddling pool in your garden. But inflatable pools left out for more than a few days at a time are one of the main offenders when it comes to dead patches of grass on your well-tended lawn. 

'If you have children, you are most likely to own an inflatable paddling pool or consider purchasing one as the temperature increases,' says Sean Lade, gardening expert and founder of Easy Garden Irrigation. 

'Whilst these are a great affordable idea to keep your children entertained and cool on a hot summer's day, many do not realize the effect it can have on your grass until it is too late. You can easily end up with a crater-like patch of dead grass where green should be.' 

If you don't want to spoil anyone’s fun, there are some simple lawn care tips you can try to prevent this from happening.

woman and child in a paddling pool on a lawn

(Image credit: Bestway)

Never tip water out onto the grass

Giving your lawn a mighty drink when you empty the paddling pool might sound like a good idea, but tipping it all out in one go could mean you end up over-watering in certain areas. 

Sean from Easy Garden Irrigation (opens in new tab) points out that it's most likely your grass will have received a fair amount of water throughout the day from children splashing the water out of the pool. 'Instead, you should take a watering can, bucket, or jug and use the unwanted water on the rest of the garden.' Of course, this is provided that the water is clean and you haven't added any chemicals to it.

If you're looking for water-saving tips, you could also save this water in a water butt to use on your plants at a later date. 

watering plants in the garden with a watering can

(Image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

Move your pool around your plot

Leaving your inflatable pool in one spot for long amounts of time will block the grass and soil underneath from being exposed to important sunlight and air. This will cause it to dry out and eventually die. 

'I recommend moving the paddling pool to a different spot each day to avoid this,' says Sean.

If you've added a paddling pool as part of your small garden ideas, however, this may be more difficult. 'So, if you do not want to risk damage to your grass, the only other solution is to empty the water daily and move the paddling pool off the grass completely,' he adds.

child playing in a paddling pool on a patio

(Image credit: Nemke/Getty Images)

Find an alternative spot for your paddling pool

The best solution to ensure your grass isn't affected by inflatable pools this summer is to seek an alternative spot to set up your pool, such as a patio. 

'This way, your children can enjoy time in their inflatable pool all summer long and your grass can remain in perfect condition,' says Sean. 

Patios are great bases for creating shade in your garden, too, with options ranging from the best garden parasols to DIY pergolas – vital for protecting your kids in the paddling pool when the sun is at its strongest.

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning freelance gardening, homes and property writer who writes about everything from swimming ponds to skyscraper apartments, for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. Awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021, she has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and a lifelong love of homes, interiors and gardens. Her first memories include planting potatoes with her grandfather and drawing houses. Her own garden - her fourth - at home in a 1920s house in Yorkshire, is south-facing and on the side of a valley. It’s a constant challenge