DIY Pergola Swing for Your Patio

wood swing set on patio
  • 10-30 hours
  • Advanced
  • 500-2,500
What You'll Need
Miter or skill saw
Reciprocating or circular saw
Jigsaw
Power drill
Belt sander
String level
Auger
Socket wrench
Concrete
2 dozen wood screws
8 rust-proof carriage bolts
8 washers
8 nuts
2 heavy-duty anchor bolts
4 anchor bolts
6 eyebolts
1 high-capacity chain
2 10' 4x4 (main support posts)
2 8' 2x4 (cross beams)
6-12 4x6 (top trim pieces)
3 1' 6x6 (beam support pieces)
2 28" 2x6 (back uprights)
2 24: 2x6 (seat supports)
1 3.5' 1x6
2 20" 1x6 (armrests)
2 13.5" 2x4 (front uprights)
2 24" 2x4 (arm rails)
2 39" 2x4 (back supports)
1 48" 2x4 (back cleat)
1 48" 1/x (top rail)
8 25" 1x2 (back seat slats)
5 48" 1x2 (seat bottom slats)

A patio swing adds immediate charm to any outdoor area. It looks whimsical and inviting. It adds a homey touch. And it's even fun to sit in. The problem? It's expensive to buy one of these ready-to-go from the store. With some power tools and DIY skills, you can create your own pergola swing for your patio and add this charming, practical sitting spot anywhere you want.

DIY With Care

Check out patio swings on Amazon.

When building any construction project, make sure you're using quality materials and the right hardware. A forgotten bolt, the wrong size screw, even a little mistake can cause the structure you're building to be unsafe. When you’re building a swing, you want to be sure to work precisely and with care. If your pergola swing is well-built then it will continue to bring joy and beauty to your outdoor area for years. If it is not, it can become a potential safety hazard for anyone who tries to use it.

Making a Pergola

wooden pergolas on a patio

Before you begin, assemble all of your materials and tools. Once you get into the flow of your DIY, you won't want to stop. Make sure you've got everything you need beforehand so you don't end up stopping your project for a trip to the hardware store.

Step 1 - Pick a Spot for Your Swing

Pick out the exact spot where you want to erect your swing. Decide how big you want the swing and the surrounding pergola to be. Measure the area. If you don't know the size of your project, how can you build it?

Step 2 - Cut all of Your Wood

Make sure you have all the wood you need and get it cut with a miter saw or a skill saw. You need to cut pieces to match the measurements of the space where you will erect your pergola. For example, if you are going to build a swing that is four feet wide, you want your two main support posts to be nine feet apart. This will leave two and a half feet of clearance on either side of the swing between the swing and the support pole.

Step 3 - Dig Your Holes

You want your pergola to be well-supported and solid...and that means you have to dig. Use an auger to dig about three feet down and about one foot wide for each main support pole.

Step 4 - Mix Concrete

Mix up concrete according to the instructions that will be on the bag. Place the first post in the first hole. You will need help in order to do this. Make sure the pole is steady and plumb and then fill the hole with concrete. Keep pouring until the concrete is level with the ground.

long tool stirring wet cement

Step 5 - Repeat with the Second Pole

Again, make sure the pole is plumb and level and make sure the two poles are even with each other.

Step 6 - Let the Concrete Set Overnight

When it's all dry, you'll have extremely sturdy supports for your pergola and swing structure.

Step 7 - Level the Posts

Measure eight feet from the ground to the top of each pole and cut them off at this height. Use a string level to ensure that the posts are level with each other. A reciprocating or circular saw will work nicely to level off the posts.

Step 8 - Position the Crossbeams

Place one crossbeam across the front of the two posts at the very top of the structure, leveling it so it just comes to the top of the posts. Place a screw in each end of the beam, into the post, as a temporary means of holding it in place.

man connecting large pieces of lumber into a pergola

Step 9 - Repeat

Repeat this process for the crossbeam on the other side.

Step 10 - Drill the Crossbeams

Drill a hole through the crossbeams and post at each end. Place a washer on a rust-proof carriage bolt and place it through the hole. Secure it in place with a washer and a nut. Tighten it down with a socket wrench.

Step 11 - Repeat

Repeat this bolt process on the other side of the structure.

Step 12 - Find the Center of the Structure and Mark

Measure out from the center point to perfectly place the swing.

Step 13 - Add the Supports

Place one-foot pieces of 6x6 wood between the cross beams at the center point and the two endpoints of the swing. Use carriage bolts, nuts and washers to secure the supports through the cross beams, placing two on each side.

Step 14 - Place the Bolts

Drill holes to install heavy-duty anchor bolts at each endpoint where the swing will be secured to the pergola. Drill through the bottom of the supports to secure these bolts.

Step 15 - Add the Trim

Add 4x6 pieces of wood to the top, going across the crossbeams. This would make the short pieces of wood perpendicular to the beams. Place these pieces six to 12 inches apart and screw them into place.

Step 16 - Stain and Steal Your Pergola

After all that hard work, you want your pergola to look great and last as long as possible. Stain the wood and seal it against the weather so it will stay beautiful.

Making a Swing

Once your pergola is built and secure, you can attach an already assembled swing or make your own to hang.

Step 1 - Cut the Pieces

Use a jigsaw to create curved pieces. Draw out the curve on the wood before you cut and follow the lines precisely.

Step 2 - Sand the Wood

Use a belt sander to get all the wood smooth. Your pergola does not need to be sanded but the seat certainly does. You don't want people getting splinters on your seat.

belt sander applied to wood

Step 3 - Pre-Drill Pilot Holes

You want two holes at each end of the seat plank and four holes in each end of the vertical supports at the top and bottom. This prep-step will help the rest of the assembly go smoothly.

Step 4 - Build the Skeleton

Attach the back support, front support, seat support and railing together.

Step 5 - Attach the Supports

Attach the seat supports and the bottom slats to the swing and the back of the swing using screws.

Step 6 - Assemble the Rest

Attach the sides to the back and bottom of the swing, then attach the armrests.

Step 7 - Drill Holes

Drill holes for the anchor bolts, two on each side of the swing, and then screw eye bolts into the anchor bolts.

metal eye hook with drill end

Step 8 - Stain and Finish the Seat

Add your stain and your sealant to the swing to finish it.

Step 9 - Add the Chain

Place the chain into the eyebolts and hang the swing.

Optional Variant: You can make a much simpler swing seat using two 10-inch wide pieces of wood 36 inches long each. Use 2x2 boards measuring 18 inches long and secure these, crosswise, to the two pieces of long wood to bring them together and create a simple bench seat. Sand the wood thoroughly and drill holes at either end, through the bottom supports, to use rope or chain to secure the seat to the pergola.

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