My daughter wants a swing in her backyard for her daughter. I started thinking about the different ways that I could create it, so I started searching the web for all kinds of ideas.
It appears there are some safety basics.
- Tree Type: The branches of a sturdy hardwood tree are best for a tree swing – oaks are ideal but use what you have. Avoid fruit trees, evergreens, or trees that split easily.
- Branch Size: A tree swing needs a horizontal branch at least 8” in diameter that is no more than 20’ off the ground….ideally.
- Branch Condition: The branch chosen for a tree swing must be healthy. (Really, I was going to use a rotten one.) Inspect the branch from trunk to tip, and avoid branches that show any signs of infestation, disease, splitting, or narrow connections to the main trunk. And above all, don’t use a dead branch! (this must be a list for sadists)
- Clearance: The branch should be large enough that the swing can hang at least 3’-5’ away from the trunk without the branch bouncing. (darn, they take all the fun out of it)
This is what I found in my search for the different styles of swings.
The next issue is how to attach it to the branch. If you can find a nice strong horizontal branch, that is one thing, but what if none of the trees in your yard have these ideal branches? Do you go out and buy a cheap steel swing-set? I went back to the web and came up with different ways to attach the rope to the tree branch. This is what I came up with below. If you have some better ideas, share them with us. The branches on the trees in my daughter’s backyard are over 25′ high and I’m going to have to find an extension ladder to install this. When I was young, I just took a big bolt, tied the rope through the bolt hole and threw it over the branch. Next, I simply tied a great slip knot and slid the end of the rope through the slip knot, but my aim isn’t as good as it used to be and the next door neighbor might get a bolt torpedo through his window!
So, which swing do you like best and which method of attaching it to your tree has worked the best as well?