Tree swings take us back to the simpler days of our childhood. You definitely remember the joy of holding on to a swing set, kicking up and bending your small feet, and feeling like you were flying in the air like a bird.
Your children also deserve this carefree joyful experience but as caring parents, we sometimes feel too scared to hang a tree swing for them in our backyard.
The good news is that it’s possible to build a good and safe old-fashioned tree swing when you have the right tree and proper tools.
How to Hang a Swing from a Tree
When you know how to hang a tree swing safely, you can have your young ones swinging up and down in no time.
Here the key steps and considerations for creating a safe and tree-friendly swing:
1. Choose the Right Tree
The perfect tree for your child’s swing should be a mature, straight, strong, and healthy hardwood tree. Good examples of the best tree species for your swing include oak, beech, and maple.
If possible, avoid weak and brittle tree varieties such as black willow, birch, and poplar. The tree should also be strong and healthy without signs of rot or fungus and able to handle even hammock tree straps. It shouldn’t have hollows, cracks, or wood-boring insects.
2. Pick a Strong and Safe Limb
Once you have identified a strong and healthy tree, the next step is to find the right limb for your swing.
The right limb should be strong and safe, preferably 8 inches or more in diameter measured 3 feet from the tree trunk and at a height of between 12 and 20 feet from the ground.
Check for signs of rot, disease, and damage to ensure that the tree branch is strong and secure enough to hold the swing.
3. Find a Perfect Landing Spot
The landing zone is another important consideration when you want to know how to hang a tree swing properly.
It should be a relatively soft surface free from hazards and potentially harmful obstacles. It should preferably be a natural surface that provides better cushion than concrete or paved surfaces.
Make sure there are no rocks, tree stumps, and exposed risks that pose injury risks to the young ones. Trim any intruding branches and ensure that the entire area within the swing’s maximum travel is clear of any obstacles.
4. Get the Right Type of Rope
Anybody will tell you that the type of rope you choose will determine the strength, safety, and durability of the swing. Ropes are made of fibers, the most common being polyester, manila, nylon, and polypropylene.
So, which is the best rope fiber for your tree swing so you don’t damage the tree same as you would get a portable hammock stand so it’s safe for the environment? We highly recommend polypropylene because it’s strong, waterproof, lightweight, and can hold a knot quite well.
Nylon is slippery and may not hold the knot securely while manila will rot after some time when exposed to outdoor weather. A poly-twist rope is also highly recommended for strength and durability.
5. Select the Right Size and Length of Rope
The right length of rope depends on whether you are building a double or single rope tree swing.
To get the right length for a double, multiply the height of the swing twice from the ground and add 4 yards. If you’re using a single rope for the swing simply cut the total by half.
The additional 4 yards is to provide sufficient allowance for the overhang and enough space under the seat. In terms of rope size, we recommend a rope with a diameter of 3/8 or 5/8 inches.
How to Securely Tie the Swing Rope to the Tree
Now that you know the right tree and rope to use, the next step is to learn how to hang a tree swing by tying the rope securely.
The rope is actually knotted to a stainless-steel carabiner, which is connected to eye bolts that pierce the tree branch. You should then have a length of rope hanging from the tree branch.
To secure the swing seat, just pass the free end of your rope through a hole at the base of the swing with the help of camping knives and tie another snug knot that will hold without giving out.
The knots you use to secure the swing are similar to the ones used to tie up a hammock. Once you have secured the tree swing, test the strength of the swing before you let your youngsters jump on to it and make sure you get a lightweight camping blanket to cover yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s recommended to install a rubber tree branch strap over the tree and attach the rope or chain to the strap to avoid damaging the tree and for smooth fluid movement of your swing.
The type of tree swing you build will determine the type of rope to use but a polypropylene rope is highly recommended because it’s strong, waterproof, lightweight, durable, and can hold a knot better than nylon or manila fiber rope.
It’s not just enough to know how to hang a tree swing if your actions will damage the tree. You need to know how to do it without hurting the tree.
Don’t wrap the rope or chain around the branch with nothing in between because you’ll damage the tree. Every time the rope rubs against the tree as you take a swing, the rope strips off the bark and leaves the tree susceptible to diseases and pests.
To avoid damaging the tree, either use a rubber tube between the rope and the tree or connect the rope to large screws or bolts connected to single points on the tree. These penetrations eventually callus over and heal as the tree grows.
The branch that you choose to hold the swing should be thick enough with a diameter of at least 8 inches measured 3 feet from the tree trunk. The branch should not only be thick but in good health too.
The tree branch should be thick enough and preferably a hardwood tree. Check for signs of rot, disease, and damage to ensure that the tree branch is strong and secure enough to hold the swing. A strong and healthy tree to hang a swing should have properly shaped, green, and unspotted leaves.
To test if the tree branch is strong enough to hang a swing, you can thumb the tree with a blunt object for signs of hollowness. Avoid the tree branch that gives a hollow thud for this could be a sign of rot, disease, pest infestation, or general weakness.
For the best performance, a tree swing should be set around 24 inches off the ground. For older kids, you may need to raise the swing approximately two and a half feet from the ground.
Tree swings are amazing, versatile, and fun. They can be a serene calm place to do your personal reflections or provide thrilling rides to your kids.
However, for the safety of your children and tree, you need to know how to hang a tree swing safely using the right materials.
Remember to inspect your swing regularly and replace any worn part to maintain the swing in optimal condition and performance at all times.