I have two big trees in my backyard that happen to be about 5 feet
apart. I wanted to rig up about an 8' high swing between these two trees
using a 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" horizontal beam (in a vertical position for
better strength) and then hang the swing from that using two swing hooks
with lucite in the middle that are made for this purpose.
I've already constructed the seat part, 3' wide by 11" deep, using four
planks. Now I'm ready to hang the swing and I was wondering what would
be the best way to anchor the supports for the beam into the trees.
I was thinking about using two 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" supports for the beam,
about 9 inches long. Drill a hole in each of them, then nailing them
into the tree with about a 5 or 6 inch spike. Then put two braces on
either side of the horizontal beam so it wouldn't come off the bottom
Does this sound workable? I want to make sure I get the beam up
securely, because if it fell down on my head it would probably kill me,
Oh yeah - the ridges of the bark on these trees are pretty deep, so I
need something that will go pretty deep into the trees.
The one thing I'd suggest would be using
stainless lag bolts and washers. Ratchet
wrench to put em in. Clear holes for the
lags, and pilot holes (and grease) for
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
I think I have seen those kind of lag bolts at the local Tractor Supply
Co. I may have to pay a pretty penny for them but I guess it would be a
better solution than nails.
My only concern is drilling the pilot holes, I've never tried to drill
holes into a big tree with my drill which is a lowly Black & Decker
portable that runs on an 18 volt battery (not sure if it would have
The problem with attaching a structure to trees is that trees move. If
you lag bolt a beam between the two trees, there's a real risk of the
bolts splitting the beam at each end as the trees sway in the wind. It
won't happen immediately, but over time it could be a dangerous
situation. If you do it, you should check the beam at each end
One alternative would be to drive large eye hooks into the side of each
tree, then just attach your swing ropes/chains to the hooks in each tree.
You wouldn't need the beam, and the trees could sway back and forth as
needed without hurting anything.
Alternatively, make some kind of bracket (preferably steel) that you
could lag bolt into each tree and hang your swing from the brackets.
Again, not tying the two trees together with a beam.
If you still want to use the beam approach, I would use a pressure
treated 4x4 to minimize rot. A 2x4 mounted vertically wouldn't leave much
wood by the time you drill a hole for the swing hardware. It could
potentially crack as the wood ages and weight is hanging from the beam.
Use a single galvanized (to minimize rust) 1/2"x10" lag bolts at each
tree with a washer between the tree and the beam, and another washer
under the head of the lag bolt (washer on each side of the beam).
Extend the beam at least 6-12 inches past each of the lag bolt holes to
minimize splitting near the end of the beam.
Center the lag bolt vertically in the 4x4 beam, but elongate the holes in
the beam horizontally. Center the lag bolt in the elongated hole,
snugging it up to the beam, but don't cinch it down tight. Allow the
bolts to move a little in the elongated holes as the trees sway in the
An impact driver would make quick work of driving the lag bolts, but you
could do it with a large ratchet too (using a cheater pipe for more
leverage if needed).
+1 Do not use nails. Do not use deck screws. Perhaps use chains to attach
your seat supports as the frees will move and if want you could washer out
from the tree to the chain to provide clearance for the chain.
Yes I had considered the chain approach for the reason you mention as a
matter of fact.
The problem is I looked for some eye hooks that were long enough to go
deep into the trees and I couldn't seem to find any (even online).
I'm thinking the screw area of the eye hooks would need to be at least
three inches long, so the total length would need to be at least five or
six inches. I could not find any eye hooks that long.
Or just a big screw hook I noticed on that page would be good, it would
help the chain from slipping off.
I was thinking how in the world I was going to attach a heavy chain to a
thick eye hook unless it was with a small Master padlock, lol.
I guess you could use one of those "carabiners" like the mountain
climbers use but that would be another big expense.
Have you looked at the load limits of the hooks and such? Even
has a "safe" working load limit of 240 lbs. I don't know how they rate
things. The limit doesn't make sense compared to bolt ratings.
Misprint? This one is on Amazon: http://preview.alturl.com/iygyv
Kids ain't skinny these days.
get a good sturdy mat of some kind,
wrap it around the trunk and then use rope
to secure it in place. then you can use these
mats as an anchor to string a good rope across
(with some slack in it so the trees can move
with the winds and storms) and then hang the
swing from that rope.
no damage to the tree (the mat and ropes if
wound right will distribute the weight so that
the tree bark isn't damaged). at the end of the
season you can take it down again. next year
put it back up in a different location.
Excellent! The price is right on both items too.
There's a Home Depot in a town that's just about 20 minutes from me (we
have a Lowe's here instead).
Maybe Home Depot has a better selection of screws and hooks because I
didn't notice anything like those at Lowe's.
Thanks to you and everyone else for their input.
(P.S. - nice little DIY website you got there)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.