I bought a Rogue jump rope with steel cables, but found that none of the ceilings in my house are high enough for jump rope. There are some products for sale marketed as jump rope mats, but they are unclear if that is suitable for leaving outside. I want to set aside a space for jump rope outdoors. Is there any kind of material to put down outside, permanently in the yard, that is a good surface for jumping rope?
Look for the kind of plastic that you find in children playgrounds. I find it ideal for jumping rope, and have seen lots of boxers practice on similar surfaces when practicing outdoors.
It looks like the plastic I am referring to is called either 'bonded rubber mulch' or 'wet pour'.
I would avoid gravel as you might catapult stones behind you if the rope catches them, but aside from that I'd jumped rope on a concrete driveway, a beach (that adds some interesting difficulty), grass, paving slabs and gym flooring.
As long as you're not going to damage yourself (I jump rope barefoot), then it doesn't really matter that much. Yes, you might get a little extra shock absorption from a rubberised surface, but I don't think it's worth the cost if your feet and ankles are healthy.
(Note: I don't use a steel cable jump rope, I use a plastic one. That hurts enough when I mistime and whip it into my toes, a steel cable one would probably end up doing some damage).