Is there anything more indicative of summertime relaxation than gliding along lazily on a swing? We don’t think so! When we were given the opportunity to help our friends Josh and Liz with their their rooftop deck makeover, we couldn’t shake the idea of adding a pair of custom swings to their newly-assembled pergola. We knew that their kiddos would love this fun custom touch, although we knew that the swings would also provide conversational adult lounging for dinner parties and hangouts. (Because surely, us big kids won’t be able to resist!)
Supplies + Tools Used
3/8″ poly rope (approx. 16′ per swing)
2″ x 6″ cedar board (approx. 24″ per swing)
Drill and 1/2″ bit
Speed square or tape measure
Lag screw eye (2 per swing)
Quick lock (2 per swing)
Utility knife or heavy shears
What We Did:
After a quick Google, we confirmed that 24″ was a great width for swings that would accommodate use by both kids and adults. We used our miter saw to cut our 2″ x 6″ x 8′ cedar board down to two 24″ lengths, then we used a sanding block to smooth out any uneven sections and ease the sharp edges and corners. Tip: Cedar is strong and lightweight with beautiful grain and color, but pressure treated lumber could also be used for outdoor applications.
Once we were happy with the easement of the seats, it was time to drill the holes for the rope! We measured in 1″ from the corners using a speed square (a tape measure or small ruler would also work), and then we carefully marked and drilled our holes using a 1/2″ bit to accommodate our 3/8″ poly rope. Tip: The bit size will vary based on the thickness of rope selected. A general rule of thumb would be to use a bit one step down from the thickness of your rope.
To protect the finished seating surface from rain, snow and run, we sprayed two thin coats of Thompson’s WaterSeal clear sealer on all sides. This will keep the cedar looking great for the long haul and help to keep moisture from penetrating the surface of the wood!
While the WaterSeal was drying, we took that time to install the hardware into the pergola! We drilled pilot holes for the lag screw eyes and hand-tightened them as far as we could, then used a screwdriver for additional leverage to finish the job. We mounted into a load bearing pergola beam in this case, but we’ve used a ceiling stud in the past as a mounting location for our front porch swing a few years ago. Tip: Make sure that your point can safely support the weight of an adult. Mounting into a ceiling support beam or stud is your best bet!
With the lag screw eyes mounted into the pergola beam, we connected quick lock links for easy removal if necessary. This combo will also allow for a smooth pivoting motion that will cut down on wear and tear on the rope itself.
Using a fresh knife (a pair of sharp shears would also work!), we then cut 4 lengths of rope – 2 for each swing – and looped them through the quick lock links. We made sure to cut them extra long, leaving additional length to accommodate the knots that will support the cedar seating surface.
By wrapping the cut ends of rope in painter’s tape, we found that it would allow the rope to pass easily through the corner holes. This was so important to keep the rope from fraying further!
The height of the swing seat from the ground can vary slightly, but we found that 18″ from the floor was the magic number to allow for comfortable seating (it’s also standard seat height), but it’s still a sweet spot for actual swinging motion for Josh and Liz’s two young sons. Keep in mind that poly rope will stretch about 1″ the first time an adult sits on the swing, so plan accordingly! Once we were happy with the height and had confirmed that everything was level, we tied sturdy knots in each end and melted the ends of the rope with a lighter to keep fraying to a minimum.
To keep the rope from sliding when the swing is in use, we used white zip ties at the base of the quick locks. This will prevent the swing from tipping back and forth from a slippery rope, and once we cut the ends of the zip ties, they’re barely visible – if at all!
The Project Breakdown:
The boys were absolutely giddy with the finished product (their reaction was priceless!), and Josh and Liz were also eager to hop on the swings and give them a try. All told, the project took 1-2 hours from start to finish, with a total cost of $50 for two swings! The best part is, with a few additional bits of hardware, we had more than enough leftover rope and wood to accommodate another pair. File this one under a must try. (Now, if only we can find a home for swings on our back patio.)
If you create this project at home, we’d love to see! Tag your social posts with #YBHDIY and @yellowbrickhome so we can take a peek and share the love.
Such a fun idea. (And Liz has such killer nails!) This whole project has me considering a pergola kit for my new backyard!