Tree swings! What is it about a tree swing that draws you in, like there is some magnetic force pulling you closer, even just at the site of an abandoned swing? There’s something even nostalgic about the scene of a home with a swing hanging from a tree. Perhaps taking you back to a simpler and carefree time in your life.
There’s no doubt that creating a dedicated space for children to run around and play outside is beneficial to their physical health and happiness (and their Mother’s sanity! 😜 especially during this pandemic). Children love swings, but sometimes having one in your own yard might be challenging.
What if the trees in your landscape don’t have large enough branches or limbs to hang a swing? Well, with a little bit of creativity, we will show you how to hang your own tree swing without a branch! You’ll soon have the coveted appeal of a tree swing adorning your own yard this summer season!
Pick a sturdy tree
It might seem obvious, but you wouldn’t hang a swing from just any tree. While working with your own landscape of course, be sure to look for an old tree that is large enough to hold the extra weight.
(Keep in mind that if you’re wanting to hang a swing in the traditional way, you’ll need a tree branch or limb sturdy enough to hold the extra weight.)
While you may not have this option available in your landscape, look for two trees within 10′ of each other, both of which are mature and would withstand the extra weight.
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Choose material for the tree swing header
Creating a header for the tree swing to hang from is the most natural thing to do. The header will be secured to both of the two tree trunks.
When choosing material for the header, be mindful that it needs to be weather resistant.
Also keep in mind that the header will be secured to the trees by drilling, so the material needs to be adaptable to this change.
For this project we used 4″ x 6″ pressure treated landscape timber.
How To Install A Tree Swing Header
1. Secure A Cleat Between The Two Trees
To make this process easier since the header is pretty heavy, we first installed a cleat between the two trees. This will be removed once the header has been properly secured.
The purpose of the cleat is to help hold the weight of the header during installation.
To do this we used a scrap of 2″ x 4″ lumber and secured each side to each tree using a long wood screw. Again this is temporary but you will want it secure. You can see the wood screw in the cleat below.
NOTE: You will want the cleat to be level, be sure to keep one on hand.
Once the length of the header has been determined and cut to size it can be installed.
The length will be custom per each landscape of course. Our header fits in-between each of the trees, as high as we could reach from our ladder. The header stretches from the outside edges of each tree.
2. Use Rope to Hold The Header In Place
Again for an additional method of security while installing the header, we used a rope wrapped around the tree and the header to keep it in place.
Lumber is heavy, you don’t want to try and hold this header in place by yourself while trying to permanently secure it to the tree trunk!
The cleat will help hold up the weight of the header, while the rope holds the header into place during installation.
Before securing the header to the tree, again use a level to make sure it’s level. This will allow the tree swing to hang properly.
Securing The Tree Swing Header
The tree swing header is secured to each of the tree trunks using washers and 10″ lag bolts.
A pilot hole was drilled through the 4″ x 6″ on each end for the lag bolts. No pilot hole was drilled into the tree trunks.
A large washer was placed between the trunk and the header and at the head of the lag bolt for more strength.
To secure the lag bolts, they were first driven about 1/2″ into the trunk with a hammer.
Once the end of the lag bolt was in the trunk, it was tightened with a socket wrench.
This was repeated on both sides of the header for each trunk.
After the lag bolts were snug and the header was secure, the rope and the cleat were removed.
How To Securely Hang The Tree Swing
To secure the tree swing to the header, a pilot hole was drilled before inserting an eye bolt for each side of the swing.
We then used a quick link (a chain link that screws open and closed) to attach a heavy duty galvanized metal chain to the eye bolt.
When selecting a chain, be sure to choose one that is galvanized so it will weather well, and one that’s hefty enough to carry the weight of people on the swing.
Have Fun With Your New Tree Swing
My kids LOVE playing in my parents backyard! My Little Miss especially loves to swing! She can be out there for long stretches of time just enjoying herself!
It’s even sturdy enough to hold up adults, so I even get to spend some time relaxing up there!
We’re glad you stopped by today! Thanks for reading our post! Do you have a spot in your yard you’d like to add a tree swing? Would you hang yours differently? Comment below, we love hearing from you, and hearing your own creative ideas!
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WE HOPE TO BRING YOUR HOME TO THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET!
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Would it be easier to attach the chain hardware (eye bolt) before you hang the header?
Good idea Lisa, but in our situation we are one quite a slope. We needed to determine how the swing would hang and adjust accordingly.