Whether it’s the air against your face, weightlessness felt in mid-flight, back-and-forth sway, or just childhood nostalgia, there’s simply nothing like a backyard tire swing. Join landscape designer Doug Scott to learn how to build a backyard tire swing your family and friends will enjoy for years to come.
Backyard tire swing materials list:
- Sturdy tree
- New or used auto tire
- Step or extension ladder
- Approximately 20 feet of rope
- Drill and drill bit
- Lighter or exterior-grade duct tape
Steps to Make a Tire Swing:
1. Select a tree and limb. Optimally a hardwood that’s at least six inches in diameter, and about seven to eight feet off the ground.
2. Select a hanging point on the limb. This should be at least three feet from the tree trunk to ensure safe liftoff and touchdown.
3. Prep your new or used tire. Select one with ample tread to avoid possible injury from exposed radial wires. Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of the tire to avoid mosquitoes—or wet surprises when someone sits in it.
4. Select your rope. Opt for either a manila or polypropylene-style rope (based on which best accommodates your budget).
5. Tie rope around branch. Use a step or extension ladder to reach the main branch your swing will hang from. While you can construct a swing that only uses one knot at the top of your tire, you can also leave about a foot of rope over the branch itself and secure it here with either a bowline or rolling-hitch knot. No matter the knot you end up going with, make sure it’s tightened so that both ends of the rope are adjacent and parallel to one another.
6. Attach rope to the tire. Once your preferred branch knot is secure, you can now tie a second knot—either the same or different one than used on your limb—to the tire itself at your desired height from the ground. (A good rule of thumb is to set the bottom of the tire at least 12 to 18 inches from the ground.)
7. Protect rope ends from fraying. Either burn your rope ends, or wrap them with exterior-grade duct tape.