You call that a swing? Now this is a swing.

Turn your creative powers to the outdoors this summer by putting a swing in your back yard.  You could put in a simple swing set for your children, but what’s the fun in that when you could have a swing like this!!Pkvu7

Or this!

Or even this!

Now that you’ve seen some successful swing sets, let’s look at how you go about making one.

First thing first, make sure you can build one in your yard. We’ve talked a lot about outdoor decorating recently, but not everyone has the freedom to do anything they want in their yard. Check with your Home Owners Association to make sure you can have a swing and if there are any regulations about how it should look and where it can be located. Here are some good tips on maintaining harmony with your neighbors while still being creative with your yard in an HOA. Also check with physics to see if you have the space, you don’t want to be swinging into a fence or the side of your house.

Next, figure out which kind of swing you’re going to build.  You can build a free standing swing or hang a swing from a tree limb.  Constructing a free standing swing will involve digging post holes and making a secure frame.  A swing from a tree limb requires a tree and a sturdy tree limb.  In this post we’ll look at how to hang a swing from a tree, but if you want to make a free standing swing, take a look at instructions here.

For a tree swing, you will need

A tree


A swing

To be more specific

A tree with a good, strong limb that is high enough off the ground.  The tree limb must be in good shape and at least 10 inches in diameter or more.  The higher the limb, the longer the swing will swing.  A straight limb is crucial for an even swing, gentle swing.

Poly twisted rope at least 3/8’’ in diameter.  Natural rope will rot over time and braided nylon is too slick and slippery to safely hold a knot.

A swing that will fit your needs, which could be as simple as a plank of wood or as complex as a sturdy wooden lawn chair with cup holders.   You should stay away from pressure treated wood as the pressure treating process includes metals and harsh chemicals you don’t want on your skin, in case of a splinter.

Make your swing first.  No matter what design you choose, make sure it’s sturdy and the hardware you use to attach it has been weight tested.  Eyebolts and other metal hardware pieces will have a weight rating either stamped onto the piece of metal or on the packaging.  Don’t use a piece of hardware if you can’t find a weight rating for it and take into account that swinging puts a lot of extra force on every piece of equipment.

You’ll need to figure out how high off the ground you want your swing, usually 2 ½ to 3 feet works best.  Remember to measure the length of rope that it will take to suspend the swing as well as the amount of rope it will take to tie the knots.  You can always cut off excess rope and it will save you a trip to the emergency room.

Attach the rope to the tree limb either with a ladder or by throwing the rope over the limb.

Use a bowline knot to firmly attach the rope to the limb and the swing as a bowline knot will only break if the rope breaks.  You can put a few pieces of garden hose cut in half on the tree limb to act as a guide for the rope and prevent the rope from cutting into the tree.

That is the bare basics of hanging a swing from a tree.  Now get out there and start making this summer the greatest one yet!