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How To Build a Swing Set

Updated on July 20, 2011

In this quick guide we will discuss in short how to build 3 types of swing sets - a wooden swing, a metal swing set, and a simple tree swing. Get your tools prepared and enjoy!

Here's roughly how it looks!
Here's roughly how it looks! | Source

Build a Wooden Swing Set

So how do you build a cool wooden swing set like the one on the picture above? As you can see, there are several important elements in it. Let's discuss each one separately:

  • The foundation. Most swing sets do not need special foundation, they can just be installed on the ground. However if the ground in your backyard is too soft or uneven, you may need to build a concrete or gravel foundation. Here is how to make it from gravel.
  • The frame is the most important part of the construction. There are many types of swing set frames. If you want to keep things simple just build an A-frame. It consists of two tall beams that meet at the top and one support brace to keep the triangle construction.
  • The top beam should be installed over the frame and be very robust. Then the seat will be attached to it via thick ropes or a chain.
  • You can build the seats in any way you wish, or buy ready ones. There can be multiple swing seats or a single swing bench depending on how many people will usually use it together.
  • For maximum comfort you can place a swing custion on the top. It can be made of fabric and a light wooden or metal construction. This type of cushions are mostly used on outdoor canopy swings.

When the constuction is attached to the ground you may want to finish the wood and treat it against decay.

Build a Metal Swing Set

Most DIY builders prefer wood. But you don't have to. You can build a great swing set from conduit pipes! Use a long bolt for upper support and you are all set. Such swing set is called a tripod swing because the 3 pipes joint at the top and form a very stable construction.

First you will need to cut the pipes and bend them at the end with a pipe-bender. This will form a construction looking a bit like Indian tent. The swing set hangers should then be attached to the upper bolt.

Instead of trying to explain you how to do it, better just watch the video below. The cost of this metal swing set can be just around $20!

Building a Tree Swing

The tree swings are the simplest possible swing set constructions. They are great for kids, easy to make, and easy to assemble and put back at home (for example in the winter). They don't occupy much space in the backyard as well. The only thing you really need to have is a big tree with thick branches.

Here is in short what you need to do:

  • Use a really strong large diameter braided rope.
  • Build the seat from thick wooden plank or planks
  • Drill 2 holes on each end of the seat, a couple of inches inside from the ends
  • The tope will go through these holes
  • Bind two ropes on the tree limb with good running bowline knots.
  • Make sure the swing is leveled well.

Essentially that's it. But the devil is in the details. Here are they. (It's a two-parts tutorial so make sure you follow the second part as well)

So now you know how to build three types of outdoor swings yourself. Just to get you thinking, here are some other types you may want to construct:

  • Toddler swings. These need a special seat for babies and enforced secutiry.
  • Adult swing sets. Usually have a swing canopy and cushion
  • A hammock swing. The only complex part here is to build the hammock stand.
  • A seesaw. This is a type of swing that allows two kids stay in front of each other

Any other types I am missing here? I'll be very happy if you share your experience!

Now Let's Hear You:

What kind of swing set your prefer to build?

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