The addition of a swing in your backyard creates an immersive space for relaxation. Hikers also use swings to nap while they stop at the top of the mountain. It’s an opportunity to take a break from the crawling insects on the ground.
If you’ve experienced the feeling of being cradled to sleep while relaxing on a swing, then you know that nothing beats it. You can also build a swing using the trunks of two trees if there is no tree in your area with big branches.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about building a swing between two trees and what needs to happen before setting it up. Here are the first decisions you have to make.
Type Of Swing To Use
There are many different swings to choose from, but the types will change depending on what type of experience you’re looking for.
We decided to describe each option below:
Beams Or Poles
If you’d like to skip ropes or straps but still need something to anchor between the two trees, a beam/pole method is perfect. This one consists of anchoring a pole between the two trees. Secure it with cords and clamps if desired.
Once you decide where to place the pole (or boards), you’ll need to attach a swing somewhere. You can use any swing, from rope swings with seats and ropes for decorating, playground-style metal sets that come in various colors, or even an elaborate porch swing set without chains.
Spider’s swings are quite popular, and for a good reason. They provide both sleek beauties in the backyard, as well as being highly comfortable to allow free-swinging.
One of the main benefits of these swings is how easy they are to hang. Most come with their own straps, so you can easily hang them without much effort (if you get one of these, then there may not be a need for anything else from this guide).
Rope Swing With Knots
Nothing beats the feeling of being cradled by hoisting yourself up on a swing made of rope tied around the trunk or branches. It’s easy to use and attach and can withstand A LOT more weight than you might expect.
You may need to use a specific knot to hang the swing from a tree, but it shouldn’t be something you worry about. As long as you’re using strong enough ropes (nylon or high-quality fabric), any sturdy knot will work.
Ratchet Strap Swing
As they’re straightforward to put together, these are among the best–simply tie them around trees.
These swing sets are something to behold because of the ratchet that tightens quickly and anchors to trees without a fuss. You won’t be confined to dangling permanently with one of these in case you want some variety.
Regular Swing With Eyebolts And Straps
A tree swing is created by securely attaching the eyebolt (a bolt with a ring on one end) into the trunk of a tree, so it cannot move. You then attach any rope or chain to this point.
The primary benefit of this swing is its minimalistic look. The one downside to the system is limited; it cannot hold more than a child or teenager before the bolt detaches from that rope and tree.
Choosing The Right Rope
Believe it or not, the type of rope you use for a swing matters if you want to keep kids safe. Regular cloth won’t hold as well on a swing, so it’s important to use high-quality polyester (or polymer) rope that is designed to hold weight and used in other swings and jungle gyms.
When choosing a rope to make a tree swing, consider the diameter and weight load. Manila ropes come in various diameters – the most popular is 3/4 inches with a weight load of 695 pounds. Polyester ropes are capable of supporting 1,400 pounds and have more colors available for you to choose from!
There are a variety of tree swings that you can build, including single or double rope, tire swing, or chair swing. Different types will require different rope materials to support the weight in both the person and the swing.
Taking into account the following considerations, it is possible to choose the ideal kind of ropes for making a tree swing:
Twisted and braided are often types of rope, with individual threads twisted together to form strands that, in turn, can be twisted together into a spiral shape.
Braided rope originates from individual strands that are woven together to form a sturdy stand. Styles and materials can vary, but braided ropes generally stand up better to the elements than regular ropes.
Twisted ropes are easier to cut to create longer pieces of rope, but this shouldn’t be an issue as you build your own rope swing. Choose the type of rope depending on how strong and thick it is rather than it is kind.
The best type of rope to use for a tree swing is braided polyester rope. It resists the elements and provides maximum strength while only stretching minimally, meaning it won’t sag over time.
There are many types of ropes, but nylon is most popular among adults as it doesn’t stretch, and if the coil is held between two hands, there usually isn’t a risk of slippage.
These ropes are lightweight and the cheapest available. Polypropylene rope is not a good choice, as it deteriorates quickly in the sun’s UV rays.
Natural Fiber Rope
While people often prefer using a natural fiber rope, it is not as strong as synthetic ropes due to its typical rustic appeal and weaving techniques used in production. Natural fiber ropes will break without warning given enough time. For this reason, if you use a natural fiber rope on your tree swing, be sure to replace it every year or two.
Metal Chains Ropes
These final types of ropes to be utilized when hanging a swing between two trees are metal chains that are durable and highly resistant to inclement conditions. They perfectly meet such requirements, yet installation still needs to be precise.
Sizes And Lengths
To figure the right length of rope for a tree swing, calculate its height from the ground. For single rope swings, half that number and add 4 yards to it.
To easily tie the swing on the seat of the tree, you’ll need an additional 4 yards from where your swing is hanging. Use two ropes, one with a thickness of 3/8 inches and one with a 5/8th dimension inches.
Inspect your swing annually for wear and tear, such as stains, frayed ropes, or loose screws. Replace parts where necessary with good quality materials like Tree Top Builders’ ropes which are long-lasting. Go through safety instructions with kids on how to hang onto the swing even when it starts to move – never hold one hand only!
Choosing A Tree And Branch For A Swing
When hanging a tree swing, be sure to consider:
The Type Of Tree
Trees with big branches are ideal for a tree swing. Avoid fruit trees, evergreens, or trees that split easily.
Your trees should be large enough and mature enough to support a swing. Sturdy branches are also required, as smaller or younger trees will not have sufficient strength to withstand the pressure of a swing holding the weight of someone.
One option requires you to attach your swing to a branch, and this branch should be at least 8” in diameter.
Proper Branch Size
To create a proper tree swing, the only prerequisite is to have a horizontal branch at most 20 feet high, with no more than 8 inches in diameter.
Inspect your trees for small signs of health. Inspecting the tree will allow you to see if it looks healthy and stable or not at all well. Increased growth in fungus usually indicates a weak tree, which will lead you to inspect more closely.
Look for signs of bug destruction. Infestations of termites and ants indicate weak spots, which may make your swing dangerous.
Perfect Branch Condition
Choosing the right branch for a tree swing is actually pretty simple. Inspect it from the trunk to the tip, and avoid branches that show signs of infestation, disease, splitting, or connecting too narrowly with the main trunk. Above all else, don’t use a dead branch!
Trees need to be located in a safe spot, far away from power lines. The tree locations should also allow riders not to pass over or contact any buildings, fences, trees, or other obstructions when swinging.
The branches must provide a safety catch for the riders when they dismount from the swing or if they happen to fall. Debris and brush should be cleared from around both trees.
Meet The Clearance Requirements
A branch needs to be big enough so that the swing can hang about 3-5 feet away from it without bouncing.
What Should Be Under The Tree Swing For Safety
Selecting the right ground cover for your swing is more than half of the work. Spend ample time selecting the type and thickness of cover that will be perfect for your environment.
Before you place ground cover under your swing, be sure to check for hazards that may injure the rider. Check for debris like broken branches, glass, and rocks. Also, look out for any tree roots hidden under the grass that may pose a hazard.
One thing you may want to do when installing your swing is cutting the grass and preparing a clear space on the ground before and after it. This ensures that if someone falls off of the swing, they can still land safely.
The swing will easily reach high enough to make the child fly out of bounds, and they could get seriously hurt if you don’t have
cleared land. I would recommend clearing and preparing an additional 10-20 feet beyond the area where your swings sit.
After clearing the area, padding the ground will help slow a rider who may fall from their swing. Now I know not many of us to think we’ll ever fall off our swings.
However, this is what people that fell off thought before they fell off. So you should take this part of your swing design very seriously. It could be the difference between walking away from a fall or being injured.
Here is a list of the things you should take care to place under your swing:
To ensure that the sand is properly-rounded, it’s best to use playground sand. The border should be left out of the design so that the sand can flow freely and avoid any serious injuries when someone falls in it.
The grass underneath your swing should be natural. The best types of natural grass to use are bermudagrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and rye. Best of all, it is naturally made and is unlikely to negatively affect the health of you or any family members that sit on a swing facing downward on it.
Pea gravel is a type of material made from small stones. This type of material has shock-absorbing properties and resists microbial growth.
The rubber mats are made out of recycled rubber, meaning that they are better for the environment. They also offer a pinning system that is easier to install.
Rubber mulch is a product made from recycled tires. Made from durable material, it has a lifespan of up to 50 years.
Although artificial grass can be made to look like a variety of surfaces, it is typically installed so that it looks just like real grass.
Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)
Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is made from fractured wood, which must be checked and leveled regularly. It’s recommended you put linoleum sheets or rubber mats under the EWF to protect if it shifts.
General Steps For Hanging A Swing
Moving forward, it’s necessary to go over some general tips before going into specifics on a few different ways to get rid of the ants. Here are some steps that will help you:
Find The Right Place
This is the first step to installing a swing. Find an area between two trees that you can tie the rope around easily.
We recommend finding tall, wide trees – no obstacles or other trees in the area. The most important aspect is that the two trees should be separated by several feet so that one can easily hang a swing.
You should make sure to have at least two times the swing width for space before you mount it.
Choose The Ideal Rope
Once you find the perfect spot, it’s time to choose your rope. For this, nothing beats a choice with strength. But there are different types of ropes out there – you need to know which is best for you.
Among the many options, polyester ropes are popular. These ropes tend to withstand any weather condition and are a reliable option.
Nylon rope is also a good option when it comes to building a swing.
Because nylon ropes are stretchy, they may disappoint over time, but you can always replace them with new ones as needed.
Then are also ropes made from polypropylene, which is lightweight and affordable. But it does not stretch very much, so it can be easy to break.
Finally, a swing can be made of metal that is durable and works in every environment. These swings come with an installation process not found with other swings.
Look For Sturdy Trees
To create the perfect swing, you need an anchor and a sturdy place to attach it.
One of the many trees available for use is hardwoods. Hardwood trees include oaks, hickory, pine, walnut, maple, and other types of trees. Generally speaking, these have larger branches.
However, avoid fruit trees and thin trunks to keep the swings functioning safely all the time.
Only Attach To Strong Branches
Next, you’ll want to find the strongest branches possible in such a tree.
We suggest using angled branches for the ropes so they can be tied on more easily. The optimal ones should be at least 8-inches thick and not taller than 15 feet.
The two branches you choose should be both strong and not too thick.
Never attach the ropes or plan out a swing on an unhealthy, old branch. It could eventually break off and fall to the ground, resulting in injury.
Cut Branches In The Way
With the two branches from each tree in place, it’s time to remove any other trees that are in their way.
To generate a freer swing, you can use two trees instead of one.
It would be best if you still were careful when using the trunks of two trees because ropes may get stuck or break because of tree interruptions.
Apart from that, you will need to maintain at least three feet of distance between any branch and the swing. This way, the swing can remain unfettered during use to avoid collision with other parts of the tree.
Pay Attention To Safety Considerations
To maintain your child’s safety, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind when building or buying a swing.
Safety Tips For Artificial Bough Swing Types
Check The Rope
Check the rope and the artificial bough to make sure it remains as safe as you intended. Ensure nails are tight and knot securely with ropes in place, with no cracks in the wood.
Inspect Any Connecting Swing
Before using your swing, inspect for any rusted or worn connecting hardware and replace it as needed.
Replace The Rope
Replace the rope in your swing at least every two years.
Check For Maximum Weight
Ensure the swing and rope are capable of holding an appropriate weight.
Do not allow more than one adult or child to swing on the artificial bough at once. Without heavy-duty planks or metal, an overweight person swinging could cause the tree to fall.
It is important for the supervision of children when swinging, regardless if it’s safe.
Choose A Good And Strong Rope
Make sure to use a good, strong rope. It should be tough enough to support the weight of your swing without coming apart from the attachment point on the branch.
Take The Test In Advance
Ideally, have your child test the swing before you finish. You don’t want to build a swing that is too high and potentially makes it hard for them to play with it or one that is too low and not comfortable for them at all.
Safety Tips For Between Two Trees Types
Choose two trees within the recommended distance. If they’re too close, you risk cutting into their trunks when swinging back and forth, but if they’re too far apart, the swing might start to sag.
The thicker the beam used to make a swing, the more weight it can support. When installing swings for older children, consider laminating two planks together before using them in your development.
Safety Tips For Swing On Angled Bough
Use only UV-protected marine-grade rope or braided polypropylene synthetic ropes that can handle heavyweight.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Can Your Child Use A Swing?
There are swings for everyone–starting from a baby swing at one. Make sure to encourage them with several swings in case they’re still not comfortable-this is absolutely normal!
Assist children on swings until they are old enough to control the swing correctly. Who says that flying can’t be practiced from a tree?
How Thick Rope For Tree Swing?
There’s no way to know the exact thickness of a rope that will support a swing, but most ropes are thick enough. Be sure not to choose paracord or other types of fragile ropes.
How Much Does A Swing Set Cost?
A swing set is affordable. You can buy one for less than $100.
How Thick Should A Tree Branch Be For A Swing?
The general rule is to use wood that can handle at least 200 pounds of weight which usually means plenty of 5-inch boards.
Do Tree Swings Hurt Trees?
They can, but it will be much more difficult if you have to drill a hole through the tree branch or remove any of the limbs to increase weight-bearing. You could avoid this by installing the swing around or near an existing tree’s branch rather than drilling holes in them.
Tree swings are a perfect way of spending time with those you care about. Trees themselves don’t feel pain and will only experience a little extra stress when subject to pressure, even if it is as minor as that caused by the use of swings.
Having a swing in your yard is a great way to entertain the family, and it’s also important to know how to hang it from any branch you can find.
Whether you install a standard-issue swing for the kids or opt for a more elegant front porch-style version, I hope this guide helps make your backyard dream a reality!