How to Hang a Swing

Children always love swings. Safety for the child is of paramount importance, but so is the health of the tree. Set up a swing incorrectly and the tree branch could die, and that could become dangerous for everyone. Set it up the right way and the tree will be unaffected and provide generations of kids with pleasure.

The big mistake you can make is to loop rope around the tree branch. This will ringbark the branch and cut off its supply of nutrients. It’s much better to use eye-bolts through the branch, and then attach the swing’s chain to the eye-bolts. For added security, use a thread cement product called Loctite to secure all nuts firmly in place.

Branch too thick?

The tree branch shown in our segment was more than 150mm thick, bigger than any eye-bolt available, so if you find yourself in the same situation, here’s what to do. Use a 10mm auger to drill holes through the branch, and instead of an eye-bolt, use a length of 10mm threaded rod. First attach a washer, nut and threaded eye-bolt to the ‘underside’ of the threaded rod, then slip the rod through the branch hole, and secure both top and bottom nuts using washers, plus the eye-bolt, applying Loctite. Repeat this procedure with the other eye-bolt and rod in the other hole.

Setting up your garden swing

Buy a good quality child’s swing, available from toy stores, suitable for the age of the child. You’ll either need two eye-bolts or, as detailed above, or if your branch is too thick for eye-bolts, you can custom-make your own to suit. The swing seat will attach to the chain from the rope loop or hook. The 8mm stainless steel chain makes up the difference in height between the swing and the branch. Don used four stainless steel 8mm D-shackles to attach the chain to the eye-bolts and the swing seat. Stainless steel has very good longevity but galvanised parts and chain are also acceptable to use. As tree branches vary in height and levels, you will need to measure and cut the chain to suit the situation. An angle grinder makes the job of cutting the chain to size much easier.


Swing seats are available from toy stores. Don used a Lift & Lock swing, which cost $49.99 from Toys ‘R Us.

Stainless steel products are available from marine shops/ships chandlers:

10mm stainless steel threaded rod, $26.59 per metre
10mm stainless steel washers, $0.09 each
10mm eye nut, $6.85 each
8mm stainless steel chain, $14.99 per metre

Loctite Nut Lock threadlocker, $15.35 for 10ml bottle