From giant jack-o-lanterns, black cats and ghosts to whimsical turkeys and pilgrims to snow globes, reindeer, penguins, snowmen, Santas and more, inflatable decorations are a popular choice for creating a festive holiday lawn. But setting up lawn inflatables does require some care to be sure the decorations are safe, secure and displayed with all their holiday spirit for the neighborhood to enjoy.
Check for Restrictions
Before you plan an inflatable display, check for community restrictions on holiday yard decorations. Some homeowner associations or community ordinances may limit the number or size of inflatables, or may prohibit them altogether. Other restrictions might require larger decorations to be set back from a sidewalk or roadway a certain distance, or the sound of blower motors or musical accompaniment may also have restrictions. Some communities may also limit the dates of seasonal decorations, not allowing them to be put up too early or left up too long after a holiday passes. By understanding community guidelines, you can plan a fun and enjoyable display without causing tension or risking fines or reprimands.
Prepare Your Site
Inflatable decorations will be safest and most securely displayed on a flat, level surface. In southern areas, you may want to mow your lawn extra short to be sure blower motors aren't clogged, and in northern areas, you must be sure there are no hidden obstacles under fallen leaves or layers of snow. Pruning nearby bushes, shrubs and trees can remove any sharp twigs or thorns that may damage an inflatable, and pruning can also help ensure your display can be more easily viewed from convenient windows, sidewalks and roads. Check your outdoor outlets to be sure they are functioning and are safe for use in the season's weather, no matter if you get snow and ice or wind and rain while your inflatables are on display.
Planning a Display
While a single inflatable can make a powerful statement for holiday yard décor, if you have room for several decorations, you may want to create an entire inflatable scene. To plan for a multi-piece display…
- Check that you have enough outlets and outdoor extension cords to power several inflatables without overloading circuits or crowding outlets.
- Take the fully inflated size of each decoration into account and be sure each one has extra space around it to move and sway on windy days without bumping or rubbing.
- Make certain that each inflatable can be safely staked and tethered without interfering with adjacent pieces, or else the entire display could be at risk if there are problems.
- Consider a theme of related inflatables and pose and position them in ways to create a cohesive, coordinated look rather than a jumble of unrelated decorations.
Setting Up Lawn Inflatables
It only takes a few minutes to set up inflatable lawn decorations, and with practice, you won't have any trouble bringing your display to life for each holiday.
- Read all instructions for proper setup and use, and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure proper inflatable operation.
- Lay the decoration out carefully, orienting it in approximately the position and direction you want it to be.
- Inspect the fabric for any tears, holes or worn spots and make repairs as needed. If necessary, wipe the decoration with a soft rag or mild soap and water to remove dirt or dust.
- Close all zippers, vents and fasteners to provide a firm, sturdy shell for the decoration once air begins blowing.
- Fasten the blower motor firmly to the ground with the appropriate stakes for each foot. Take note of the orientation in case you need to move or rotate the base.
- Attach the power cord, plug it in and inflate the decoration carefully to check its orientation. If needed, adjust the base so the piece faces how you would like it to.
- Double check that the motor's air intake is clear and free of any long weeds, grass clippings, leaves, ice or other debris that could cause problems or damage.
- Stretch out each tether and anchor it appropriately to secure the inflated piece. Tethers should be firmly taut and spaced out to provide stability from every angle.
It is important to check all inflatable decorations regularly throughout the season to be sure tethers and anchors haven't come loose, and that they aren't rubbing into sharp objects or getting poked by branches or debris that could cause damage. This is especially important after a storm or a windy day, when the anchors may loosen and the inflatable could shift position slightly. It is best to avoid inflating decorations during stormy periods, and no inflatable should be run for more than a few hours at a time, to avoid burning out the blower motor.
When it is time to take the decorations down, keep all the parts together, especially the stakes and tethers. Fold the fabric carefully and fit the decoration back into its box, keeping the instructions and all other parts with the piece so it will be ready for next year. With proper care for both setup and take down, your lawn inflatable can be a fun part of your holiday decorating for years.