How to Build an Easy DIY Swing Set

Updated: Jan. 18, 2024

The swing set in the backyard is an indelible childhood memory for many of us. This sturdy and easy-to-assemble swing set will let you create those same memories for your kids.

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A backyard swing set offers a terrific incentive for your kids to go outside and play. This DIY friendly swing set project requires materials easily found online or at your local home store. Assembly takes a couple of hours, and it will provide years of gravity defying fun for everyone.

Tools Required

  • 1/2-in. socket
  • 1/4-in. drill bit
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Carpenter's square
  • Drill
  • Tape measure

Materials Required

  • 4x4 x 8 ft. Cedar-tone treated pine (4)
  • 4x6 x 10 ft. Cedar-tone treated pine (1)
  • 5/16 x 2-1/2-in. screw eyes (4)
  • 5/8 x 12-in. J bolts (4)
  • Pairs of swing hangers (3)
  • Swingset frame brackets (2)

Editors note: We used pre-fabricated frame brackets for this project. For the amount of time and skill it would take to build a sturdier swing set, they are totally worth the purchase. Also, this project does not include the actual swings. We encourage you to create your own or purchase separately. 

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Attach Brackets to Beam

  • Install the brackets on either end of the 4x6x10-ft. beam;
    • If they are tight, use a hammer with a wood block to knock them on.
  • Using the 1/4 in. drill bit, pre-drill the three holes either side of each bracket. Make the holes about three inches deep;
  • Use a 1/2-in. wrench or socket to install the 12 three-inch lag bolts supplied with the brackets;
    • Pro Tip: Using a socket adaptor for your drill/driver will make this task fast and easy.

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Step 2

Lay-out and Install Swing Hanger Hardware

Note: This swing set will allow for three swings. The optimal safe distance between each swing is 18 inches. For most swing attachments you want a spacing of 16 inches between each pair of hangers.

  • With the bottom of the beam facing up, mark the center of the beam (five feet from either end);
  • Measure and mark eight inches to either side of that center to get the 16-in. spacing for a swing attachment;
  • To place the other two pairs of hangers, measure and mark 18-in. from either side of the center pair and lay out your 16-in. spacing again.

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  • Center each mark on the width of the beam, 1-3/4-in. from edge;
  • Using 1/4-in. drill bit, pre-drill at each mark about two inches deep;
  • Use an adjustable wrench to thread in all six swing hangers.

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Step 3

Attach Legs

  • With the beam on the ground, insert the 8-ft. 4×4’s into the brackets. Be sure they are all fully inserted.
  • Using 1/4-in. drill bit, drill four pilot holes for each leg about three inches deep.
  • Using 1/2-in. wrench or socket, install the 16 three-inch lag bolts.Family Handyman
Step 4

Situate and Stand Up Frame

  • Find a level plot of yard to allow for a safe play area. Roughly 20 ft. x 18 ft. is ideal.
    • We recommend a clear six feet for the front and back of the legs and four feet of walk-around clearance to either side. 
  • It will take two adults to lift and move the frame into place. Here are a few tips to help you build an A-frame swing.Family Handyman
Step 5

Install Safety Stakes

  • Using 1/4-in. drill bit, pre-drill a hole two inches up from the bottom on the outside of each leg. Keep the hole centered on the width of the leg and make it about two inches deep.
  • Thread in the 5/16 x 2-1/2 in. screw eyes. It helps to insert the J-bolt into the eye to help spin in the threads.
  • Hammer in the 12-in. J-bolts through the screw eye on each leg into the ground. If you’re planning to build more swings, here’s our collection of tire swing ideas.Family Handyman
Step 6

Final Thoughts

We assembled a bucket swing and trapeze bar out of materials we had on hand. If you go the DIY route we recommend quality nylon climbing rope that will knot and weather well but won’t stretch.

Take extra care to ensure your swings are securely fastened. There are also many options you can shop for, so find the swing that your child will enjoy the most and get them swinging!

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