What You Need to Know Before You Get a Tree Swing
The tree swing is one of those classic pieces of Americana that is making a comeback. They look simultaneously nostalgic and classy and make your property seem more inviting with minimal cost.
Are there any drawbacks or points of caution you should have to make sure that you check on beforehand? There are a few.
Find a Safe Spot
The rule for tree swings is the same as the rule for all real estate: location, location, location. You will want to make sure to scout the spout before you mount the swing permanently. It needs to be a sturdy enough branch to bear the weight of swinging, without an extreme amount of flex.
You also need to be able to swing unimpeded. The path for your swing should not travel into any close walls, hedges, or other trees.
Ideally, the ground underneath your spot will be smooth and soft, with grass or a bed of straw, instead of hard-packed dirt or knobby roots.
Don’t use a permanent, non-removable mount until you are sure you have found the spot you want to place your swing, and you have tested it.
Your Swing Needs a Secure Mount
On the subject of movable mounts, you can quickly mount your swing by looping a rope over the tree branch and tying it back to itself. This can then be tied to your swing pretty easily, but there are some cautions with this technique.
Rope can damage tree branches. It is thin and rough, and swinging your body weight from it can act like a chainsaw that tears right through tree bark, leaving a permanent reminder of your temporary location for your swing.
The rope also can be damaged over time by the friction of swinging back and forth against a rough branch. If you decide to make the location permanent, then you run the risk of the rope wearing out and failing without notice at some later date.
Another major concern with rope is that it requires really solid, well-tied knots. If you aren’t a knots master you could end up with knots that seem strong, but that come untied at a crucial time, like when you are swinging your body from that knot 10 feet in the air.
You could also use eye bolts to anchor your swing to the tree, but this should be done after you have found a permanent location. If you have to relocate eye bolts, they leave ugly marks on your tree, which also creates an opening for pathogens that can harm the tree.
Another option is a SwingTie. These are straps that loop over the branch and attach to themselves with metal loops. The straps are wide enough to avoid damaging the branch, and they can easily be moved with no trace.
SwingTies also are extremely secure. When used properly, they hold up to 1000 pounds per strap and are anchored with carabiners, so you do not have to worry about your knot tying.
One last consideration before you go out to get a tree swing is your insurance standing. Some policies, especially on rentals, have guidelines for “attractive nuisances” like swings.
This shouldn’t impede you from having the swing but might require it to be in the rear of a property, or inside a fence. Your insurance agent should know your guidelines.
In summary, with the right equipment, it is easy to get started with a tree swing. Just decide where you want to put it, securely fasten it to a tree branch, and you are ready to start swinging!