Having a tree with a swing in your backyard adds a relaxing vibe to your property. Hikers also use swings to sleep on during their stopovers at the top of the mountain. It’s a great spot to relax, away from the crawling insects from the ground.
If you’ve experienced relaxing on a swing, you would agree that nothing beats the feeling of being cradled to sleep. If you don’t have a tree with big branches in your area, you can still build a swing using the trunks of two trees.
In this article, we’ll help you build a swing between two trees and the details you need to consider before setting it up. Let’s start with the first decisions you have to make.
Different Methods Of Hanging A Swing
There are a lot of kinds of swings that you can creatively build for your home. It can be an old car tire, a saddle, or a camping hammock with a mosquito net attached to it. But before you choose what kind of swing to use, you must decide how you’ll attach it to the trees.
Here are some of the methods you can choose from:
1. Ratchet Strap Method
Ratchet straps or tie-down straps are webbed straps that you can use to tie around the tree trunks to hold the swing in place. Using ratchet straps is a handy tool to use if you’re setting up a temporary swing in a camping site or your backyard.
The ratchet strap method is pretty handy, especially if you don’t have the tools to install a beam or if you don’t have much time to spare. You’ll only need the straps, D-rings, carabiners, and your preferred swing or hammock.
2. Beam Method
A beam connecting the two trees is the best go-to option if you’re going to use a big swing like a tire or swings that can handle the weight of more than one person. If you’ve got the tools, this method would be better to build a permanent swing.
The trees will grow around the materials you attach to it over time. A sturdy timber beam can handle the weight you’ll put on it that can also be attached to the tree permanently. You’ll also need power tools like a drill, saw, and a bunch of bolts to keep the beam in place and make the swing safe to use.
3. Eyebolt Method
Eyebolt is a screw-like metal where you can attach the straps or the cables of your swing. However, this method can’t hold too much weight and requires a sturdy beam to secure the ropes for the swing.
Using an eyebolt for a swing has an aesthetic finish. If you a more minimalist vibe for the swing, this method is for you.
4. Knot Method
One of the inexpensive ways to hang a swing between two trees is to tie some ropes. If you don’t have any materials with you and only have a swing and a nylon rope, you can do a running bowline knot to hold your swing in place.
Use this method and put your boy scout or girl scout skills to use for a less expensive way to hang your swing.
Since your swing will elevate you from the ground, any malfunction can cause accidents, especially with kids playing on it. About 40% of accidents in children happens using a swing. So it’s essential to not only focus on the fun but also the safety of the swing.
From head concussions to sore butts, it’s best to secure the following as you hang your swing:
1. Choose Healthy and Sturdy Trees
Ancient trees may seem to be the sturdiest of all the trees, but it’s not required. The trunk of each tree must be at least 8 to 10 inches in diameter to hold the weight of the swing and the people sitting on it.
To measure the diameter of the tree, you can use a measuring tape and wrap it around the trunk at the tree’s diameter breast height (DBH) or the part of the tree trunk that is 4.5 feet (1.4 m) above the ground. Once you got the measurement, divide it with pi or 3.1416.
Some trees may also look like they’re sturdy outside, but it can be hollow inside. The following signs make a tree not suitable for a tree swing:
- The tree is dead
- Big cracks and splits are all over the tree
- Big roots run in the ground between the two trees( ground must be flat)
- The tree has decayed spots
2. Weight Considerations
The last thing you’ll want to happen is to lay flat on the ground because you’re too heavy for the swing. Every material you’ll use will have its weight limitations. If the kids will use the swing, make sure you’ll choose a method that’s up for the job.
The beam method is the best way to hang a swing between two young trees, or the swing that will hold more than one person. The ratchet strap method, on the other hand, is best for swings used by adults for relaxation and quick naps in the afternoon.
Eyebolt is best for swings made for toddlers and young kids holding one saddle or swing seat for every two eyebolts.
3. Prefer Using Good-Quality Materials
Aside from the trees, you’ll also have to choose the strongest ropes to hold your swing. Since the swing is in the outdoors, it will stay under extreme weather conditions, so you should choose the materials that can withstand the scorching sun and frost.
Types of Ropes
Here are the kinds of rope materials used for hanging the swing:
- Polyester ropes – are the best material that can hold the swing even when exposed to different kinds of weather conditions.
- Metal chains – nothing is better has the strength of a metal chain to hold a swing. However, it’s heavier than a rope and requires more technical stuff to keep it from falling.
- Polypropylene ropes – are the most affordable option for a swing, but they can easily break when the weight exceeds the limit.
- Braided nylon ropes – are also a good option, but the webbing can stretch over time due to different weather conditions.
Best Types Of Trees To Hang A Swing
The sturdiest trees are the best options to hang a swing. Trees with the right diameter can hold a swing. However, if you’re putting the swing for good, you may want to set it up on the mature hardwood kind of trees possible.
Here are the best trees to hang a swing:
- Oak trees
- Maple trees
- Sycamore trees
- Narra trees
- Mango trees
- Hornbeam trees
- Beech trees
Avoid hanging a swing on the following trees because they have the softer types of wood:
- Willow trees
- Birch trees
- Ash trees
- Spruce trees
- Poplar trees
How To Hang a Swing Between Two Trees
Once you’ve decided about the method and selected the right trees, you can start building a swing.
First, prepare the materials you’ll need for the swing installation method you’ve chosen.
- Bolts and nuts
- Tape measure
- Preferred type of swing
Materials For a Swing Using Ratchet Strap Method
You can buy a set of these tools on Amazon and other outdoor equipment shops.
- Two heavy-duty carabiners to clip on the swing
- A pair of rope to tie around the trees
- Two D-rings
Materials For a Swing Using Beam Method
You can buy timber beams from hardware stores or directly from the lumberjack’s shop. Other materials are available online or in outdoor equipment shops.
- 4 x 6 timber beam( length depends on the distance between the two trees)
- A pair of rope or metal chains
- Two swing hangers with suspension hooks(spaced based on the swing’s length)
- Set of screws for each hook
- Two heavy-duty carabiners to clip on the swing
A Quick Guide: How To Attach A Beam To A Tree?
- Electric drill
- 5 1/16 drill bit
- 2 6-inch bolts and washers
- Pipe wrench
- Drill pilot holes in the beam where you will attach it to the tree.
- Get rid of the branches that get in the way of the beam.
- Place the beam and check if it is at the right angle using the level on top of the beam.
- Drill the holes on the tree using the electric drill.
- Attach the washer and knot using a pipe wrench before climbing the tree to make it easier for you to attach it to the limbs of the tree.
- Place the beam and match it to the holes you made on the tree.
Start inserting the bolt using a pipe wrench. Voila! You’re halfway in hanging your swing on the tree.
Materials For a Swing Using Eyebolt Method
Eyebolts are also called hammock hooks and work well with the DIY installation of hammocks and yoga hanging equipment.
- A pair of eyebolt hooks
- Two heavy-duty carabiners to clip on the swing
- A pair of rope
Materials For a Swing Using Knot Method
Since the running bowline knots will hold the swing for you, you’ll only need:
- A pair of rigging ropes
- Two heavy-duty carabiners or buckle
A Step-by-Step Guide To Hang a Swing Between Two Trees
Here are the general steps on how you can get started
1. Find The Best Location
If there are a lot of trees around your area, you may need to find the best location that will make you enjoy sitting on your swing. You may find the best trees, but they can be in the wrong spot.
Here are the ideal conditions for the cation where you’ll be setting up your swing:
- Trees located in the area with the best view
- Trees in good condition
- Trees placed with the right distance apart
- Flat ground
2. Evaluate Where You’ll Hang The Swing
Now that you have selected the perfect spot and healthy trees, it’s time to evaluate how you’ll set up your swing. Remove any branches in the way of the swing and check the conditions of the trees to make sure they’re safe to use.
The ropes or the beam should be at least 15 to 16 feet off the ground, and the distance between trees should be twice the width of the swing you’ll use. If you’re going to use straps, branches can secure the straps and keep them from sliding down.
If the trees are too far apart or too close to each other, the swing will not work as desired. You’ll also end up falling to the ground if the distance between the two trees is not part of the measurements used to build the swing.
3. Get The Right Measurement
The ropes that you’ll use to tie around the tree should have the same length for both trees. If the other tree is larger than the other, make sure to add a buffer to the rope so there will be enough inches of straps to adjust.
It’s better to have a little excess on the ropes that compromise the safety of the swing. If kids will use the swing, it’s better to adjust the height of the swing seat lower so it won’t be too high for them. Otherwise, hang the swing based on your preferred swing height.
4. Place The Foundation and Connect The Swing
Once you got the right measurements, place the ropes or the beam onto the trees. Use power tools like cordless screwdrivers to make the job easier for you. Both straps on the trees should be on the same level, so you won’t lose your balance as you sit on the swing.
5. Test It Out
It’s time to see if the swing is safe and work the way it’s intended to. Sit on the swing and look for any loose bolts or unbuckled carabiners. See if the trees or branches can handle the weight properly. When everything works fine, then the swing is good to go.
Congratulations! You just learned how to hang your first swing between trees! You can now add another tree hanging survival skill to your list.
Swings are one of the fun parts of our childhood, and having one at home can throwback a lot of memories. Your kids will also enjoy the outdoors if you install a swing they can play around. Plus, working your way around trees is a skill that you can use when you hike.
Learning how to hang a swing between two trees is one of the DIY projects that you can enjoy with your family. Since the pandemic has given most of us time to stay at home, spend some productive time improving your home with DIY projects like this.
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