Nothing is more appealing to children than to see a home with a swing in the backyard. If the kids are pestering you for a swing for the backyard of your home, don’t be alarmed if you don’t have a single tree with a massive limb just in the right place. Although most instructions will show how to hang a swing from a tree, it is possible to use two trees growing in close proximity to support a swing between them. If you decide to use two trees, you are then free to opt for one or two swings if the trees in your home can accommodate this.
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Before getting started, consider the safety aspects not just for the installation process but also for the long-term users of the apparatus you will be building. The following are some minimum requirements concerning the use of different tree types.
- The two trees to be used must be established and sturdy. Mature hardwood trees like maple, oak, or sycamore are the best choices. Avoid more delicate trees like willow, birch, or ash.
- Consider the distance between the trees as this will impact how to hang a tree swing and the materials that will be used.
- Make sure each tree is in good health. Cracks or splits in the trunk, dead or hanging branches, or decayed spots indicate a tree isn’t up to the task. Healthy trees will grow around the bolts used for securing the materials for the swing. If you are unsure about the trees’ condition, ask an arborist to check them out for you.
Simple swings may be suspended from cross beams or poles spanning the gap between the trees or suspended below tie-down ratchet straps connected via swivels to strategically placed carabiners. The latter method is best suited to spider swings. Consider what best suits your home and environment.
Swing Location Considerations
You should use good quality materials that will support the expected weight of people using the swing.
- To connect the two trees for the tree swing, you will need at least a 4 x 6 timber beam to span the gap between the two trees. You are also free to use poles of 6-inch diameter.
- Use a reliable rope material like polyester, manilla, or braided nylon to hang the swing. It should be ¾ inches or more in diameter and approximately 20 feet in length (the measurements will depend on the height of your rope swing, but you should allow at least twice the swing’s height plus 12 feet).
- Leave at least 3 feet of free space between the trunks and the swing. You don’t want the swing hanging too close to the trees so that the swing bumps the tree or little fingers get jammed into the tree.
- Measure the right height. Swings should be approximately 3 feet off the ground. You don’t want the tree swing hanging too high off the ground so that it is too hard for little legs to reach it.
- The landing zone for a swing should be clear of hazards and relatively soft. Attach the swing above an area in your home backyard that is full of grass and free of exposed rocks, stumps, and exposed roots.
- What you use for the swing seat is only limited by your imagination. A hanging tree swing can be made from many free items that are no longer fit for purpose in your home. You might consider a flat section of a tree stump, a painted and decorated tire, a section of a chair painted in bright colors or a nicely smoothed flat section of wood. A swing hanging kit will provide one way to get the exact seat you want if you prefer.
How to Hang A Swing From A Tree Without Branches
There are many options worth considering when hanging a swing from a tree without branches, and the best way will be the one that suits the materials you have chosen and the trees you are using.
- Crossbeams can be attached to the two tree trunks using Treehouse Attaching Bolts (TABs) or lag screws screwed into the tree trunk.
- Poles are best lashed to the tree trunk using manilla rope.
- Ratchet tie-down straps tensioned between two trees with the swing suspended from swivels clipped to strategically placed carabiners provide a further way to hang the swing securely.
When using beams or poles, the swing or swings are attached to eye bolts fitted through the beam or pole.
Swing hanging is an art, and you will need to have the proper tools. If you don’t use a ready-made hanging kit, you will need some specialist tools to cut and shape the swing seat and to drill holes in the seat for the rope to go through. If using chains or rope, you will need to consider how you will attach these to both the swing and the trees. The following list is a minimum:
- Handsaw or electric saw
- Level/string line
- Drill bits wide enough for the rope being used
- Stainless or Galvanised steel eye bolts/fasteners/TABs or lag screws (these should be at least ⅝ inch in diameter)
- Miscellaneous spanners
- Ladders (make sure you have someone spotting you as you climb the ladder)
- Swing hanging kit
How To Hang A Swing Between Two Trees
You have selected your rope and swing tree (or trees). The first step is to measure the distance between the outside of the two trees you wish to use and add another two feet to each end. This is the length of the beam or pole that you require to span the gap. Measure the height from which it is desirable to suspend the swing and use the level and/or string line.
Mark each tree trunk where the beam or pole will locate. Screw an 8 or 10-inch lag screw into the trunk on which to rest the beam or pole. With assistance, raise and rest the beam or pole on the lag screws and lash to the tree trunk to prevent falling. Drill the beam and secure it to the tree trunk using two appropriate length lag screws or TABs in each end. Remove the temporary lashing.
The pole should be lashed to the trunk using manilla rope.
Your next step is to measure the beam or pole for the swings. Allow two feet between the outside rope and the tree trunk and two feet between ropes. If using a hanging kit, attach the supplied fittings to the beam or pole. If using eye bolts, drill through the beam or pole and fit securely, ensuring that the nuts are locked.
Attach the two ropes to the eye bolts in the beam or pole using the double bowline knots. Determine the seat height above ground and attach ropes to the seat using double bowline knots with overhead stopper knots in the tails to ensure they can’t pull through. You could also use one figure eight follow through knot with a backup knot around the standing end of the rope.
After you have installed the swing, check the eye bolts regularly to make sure that they are in good condition. You may need to replace the rope every few years.