Tree Swing Installation


Tree swings are the perfect addition to your idyllic yard, farm, or woodlot and can be enjoyed by young and old. Contact me at [email protected] if you are interested in a custom tree swing installation or if you need repairs/upkeep done to an existing swing.  The higher the better for a tree swing anchor point and no adequate limb is too high for this service.  I install and service tree swings in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Hillsborough, Burlington, Greensboro and other nearby locations in the Triangle and Triad of North Carolina.

What makes a great swing?
First of all, a great tree swing is a safe tree swing!  Safety is the foremost consideration before, during, and after any tree swing installation.

Safety considerations aside, every person's opinion of the ideal tree swing can be different, but in my opinion a great tree swing is one that has a long swing arc unimpeded by lower branches.  A swing with a really wide arc can be hard to "pump" on so it is advantageous if your swing is on a hill so that you can start your ride from an elevated area.

Some people prefer a two-rope swing like the one pictured on the right.  For this kind of swing it is important to find a horizontal limb on which to affix the ropes.  If the limb is not horizontal, the two ropes will be different lengths and the seat will twist at either end of the swing arc.

Some people prefer, or some trees are best suited to, a single-rope swing (like the image to the left).  With these kinds of swings the rope can be secured on any sturdy limb whether it is horizontal or not.  One thing to keep in mind with single-rope swings is that the swinger can move 3-dimensionally - not just forward and backward. This means a single-rope swing has to be a greater distance from the trunk to minimize the chance of a trunk collision.

What kinds of swings do you install?
I install and service single- and double-rope swings as well as "Y" shaped swings that are suspended between two tall trees.  I specialize in tree swing installations on limbs over 30 feet tall that are out of the range of most ladders.  I can safely install or service swings that are on limbs up to 100 feet tall.  Click here for a video playlist of some of my recent swing installations.

How do you install the swing hardware?
A video is worth a 1000 words.  Check out this narrated video of a 40-foot-high, single-rope tree swing installation.



In short I climb the tree using technical tree climbing gear that won't harm your tree.  For the safety and longevity of the swing, the tree, and the swing users, I believe the best way to install swing hardware is to:
  1. Drill a hole (or two for a double rope swing) through a sturdy limb high in the tree at least 8 inches in diameter.
  2. Insert a galvanized, forged, shoulder eye bolt through the hole and secure it with galvanized dock washers, and locking nuts.  I cold weld the threads of the nuts above the limb so that they will never loosen.
  3. I use 12-strand, solid-braid, polyester rope for the swings I install.  I have researched dozens of kinds of rope and settled on this variety based on all the qualities that are needed for a tree swing.  The rope has a breaking strength of thousands of pounds and very low elasticity. It is not affected by rain, and it is highly UV, mildew, and mold resistant.   I splice the rope around a galvanized thimble and then connect the rope to the eye bolt with an anchor shackle (see video above). 
It may seem like drilling a hole (or two) through the tree limb that is going to hold the swing is a bad idea, but if the limb is healthy a small hole will not weaken the limb whatsoever.  In a short amount of time the tree will seal the wound making the system even stronger.  The alternative means for hanging a tree swing - tying a rope or webbing around the limb - can actually be much worse for the limb since it can girdle the limb and prevent it from growing thicker.  The main reason that I will not install tree swings by tying ropes around the limb is that there are too many ways that a rope in that configuration can deteriorate and fail without anyone from the ground ever noticing.

What about the swing seat?
There are tons of options for the fun end of your tree swing.  There are the traditional disc seats and plank seats, but there are also hammock chairs, tire swings, egg shaped suspended chairs, and even chairs intended for toddles.  There are lots of great options online including:
Can't choose just one seat option? Do you want a different seat for the playful kids and another for the adults who want to read in the cool breeze?  No problem!  I can splice a coupling into the rope near ground level so that every family member can clip in their favorite seat and enjoy the swing however they want to.

How long will a good quality tree swing last?
A well-installed tree swing requires very little maintenance and can easily last for 10 years or more if it is made of high quality materials designed for outdoor rigging applications.

How can I know if my tree is a good candidate for a tree swing?
I provide on site consultations.  As part of a consultation, I am happy to set up a temporary tree swing in the tree you are considering (assuming it passes my inspection and that the swing arc is clear).  I will bring my ropes, as well as adult and kid size harnesses, so that everyone can try out the temporary swing before making an installation decision.

Aren't tree swings dangerous?
Tree swings certainly can be dangerous - just like most everything else worth doing.  I suggest supervising children when they are using the tree swing.  If you are interested, I can install a locking mechanism so that the swing can't be used by unauthorized swingers.  With a little instruction from me on how to perform periodic visual inspections of the tree and the tree swing system, and with a healthy dose of common sense by all users, a tree swing can be very safe and provide years of outdoor enjoyment and life-long memories.  Due to the unpredictability of tree structures and human judgment, homeowners must sign a liability waiver before I will install a tree swing on their property.  Here is a copy of the Tree Swing Installation Waiver.

How much does an installed tree swing cost?
Hardware appropriate for a safe and maintenance free tree swing is not cheap and can not be purchased at the local home improvement store.  The rope and hardware for a 40-foot high, single-rope tree swing will generally cost about $175 and my installation charge is $150 on top of that.  The supplies for a double-rope swing or a "Y" style swing of the same height will usually be around between $225 and my installation charge is $175.  Removal of interfering limbs/trees/dead wood costs extra if that is required.  The final price variable for any tree swing is the type, quality and number of seats.  Swing seats are made to be very sturdy and some are rated to hold 300 or even 600 pounds.  Generally speaking each seat you buy costs about $100.

In other words a single rope swing with 1 seat will likely cost about $425 and a double rope or "Y" swing with 1 seat will be around $500. 

Do you provide a warranty on installed tree swings?
Yes, all tree swings I install come with a one-year warranty on all purchased parts and hardware.  In addition, all installed swings come with a free safety inspection by me anytime before the one-year installation anniversary.  During the free inspection, I will re-inspect the tree and the entire system from the ground and in the tree to ensure that everything is safe and sound.   Any parts that are worn to a dangerous level within the warrantee period will be replaced for free.

Since trees are living organisms prone to disease and accident, the 1 year warranty does not apply to tree damage.  Outside of the warranty window, I can check on the safety of your tree and tree swing system for a fee depending on whether a climb is required and whether any modifications or replacements are needed.

If you are interested in a free consultation regarding a tree swing installation on your property please contact me by email ([email protected]) or phone (919.928.4230).

Scroll through the pictures and videos below for lots of tree swing inspiration!