How to Make an Outdoor Arbor Swing

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Do you want to enhance your outdoor living environment? An Outdoor Arbor Swing could solve your problem. Here is a tutorial on how I made an easy step-by-step guide. how to built it using basic tools.You also might be interested in other DIY projects that I’ve built such as DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench or an Outdoor Sofa with Cushions.

Get printable plans in pdf

$7.00 This PDF download contains Cut Diagrams, List of Supplies and 3D Illustrations with step-by-step instructions to build the project. The measurements are in imperial units and not metric. Outdoor Arbor Swing

Material list

  • 2x6x10′ (x2)
  • 4x4x8′ (x6)
  • 2x4x8′ (x6)
  • 2x6x8′ (x3)
  • 1x6x8′ (x5)
  • 1x4x8′ (x12)
  • 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ Metal Angle 8′ Long (x2)
  • 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ Metal Angle 6′ Long (x6)
  • Chain length: 24 feet
  • Comforters and pillows
  • Bolts & Nuts
  • Eye Bolts with Nuts or Washers
  • 2 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 2 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • 3 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • Notice: Lumber dimensions will be listed in nominal size.  Refer to lumber sizes for the actual dimension vs. nominal. Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.

    Dimensions

    Step 1 – Cut Four Corner Posts for the Arbor

    If you are building projects for the outdoors, pressure-treated lumber is best. The wood that has been pressure-treated is stronger and more resistant to water damage, insects, decay and mold. This wood is more durable and will last for many years. Pressure-treated wood does not have water resistance and is therefore rot-resistant. Wood decay will accelerate if it comes in contact with soil. So it’s important to have the arbor standing on bricks or concrete blocks and not on the ground. Begin by cutting four corners for the arbor. Take 4×4 pressure treated wood and cut four pieces to 84 1/2″ in length. 

    Step 2 – Cut Horizontal Side Pieces

    Next, take a 2×4 board and cut two pieces to 82″ in length and two pieces to 60″ in length. Then take 2×6 and another two pieces to 60″ in length. This will connect the corner posts to each other horizontally. 

    Step 3 – Trim the Lower Diagonal Brace Pieces for Stability

    You can add diagonal braces to each corner of the arbor frame in order to make it more sturdy. Take a 4×4 and cut four pieces to 39″ in length. These diagonal boards should be trimmed at an angle of 15 degrees as illustrated in the image. 

    Step 4 – Assemble the Sides of the Arbor

    Place the two corner 4×4 posts on the ground parallel to each other 60″ apart. Then take the lower 82″ board and measure 11″ from both ends. Place this board over the 4×4 posts at the 11″ mark and secure it with 2 1/2″ wood screws. Pre-drilling pilot holes is necessary if your lumber has been very dry to avoid it splitting. Instead of using wood screws, you could use bolts or nuts. Bolts and nuts are easier to tighten as the wood shrinks over time. Next, attach the middle board at 34″ from the ground and the upper board at 66 1/2″. Be sure that the boards are connected at 90°. A construction square could be used to verify the angles. And finally, install lower diagonal pieces from the post to the bottom 2×4 board. Attaching the top end of the diagonal brace will require longer screws. The diagonal board must be aligned with both the horizontal bottom piece and middle horizontal boards. This is how you will build the second side panel. 

    Step 5 – Connect the Two Side Panels of the Arbor

    Find a suitable location to place the arbor before connecting the side panels. Make sure you have concrete blocks or bricks on four corners under the posts.The side panels will be connected together with 2×6 boards at the top. Take 2×6 and cut two pieces to 109″ in length. Take measurements and mark four points on the bricks/concrete. Next, ask someone to help you stand the sides panels. Next, measure 5″ from both ends of the 109″ piece and attach it to the post at those marks. This board should be flush with the top of the 4×4 post. See the picture.  It’s essential to have the side panels leveled and the horizontal boards attached at 90 degrees. To check angles, you can use a construction ruler and a level. 

    Step 6 – Install Upper Diagonal Brace Pieces

    To prevent your arbor from moving backwards and forwards, you have installed the lower diagonal brace pieces in step 4. Install the upper diagonal brace in order to prevent your arbor rocking to one side or another. Take 2×6 and cut four pieces to 26 1/4″ in length with 45-degree miter cuts on both ends. These pieces can be left as is or you could make an arch for aesthetic purposes. The arc could be 15″ long. Measure 3 1/4″ from one end and then draw the 15″ long arc. Then, use a jigsaw to cut the arc. Use the cut arch as a guide to make the next arches. Then, you can cut the remainder of your pieces. Two pocket holes should be drilled on each side of the brace board using your Kreg Jig. The pocket holes will go on the end that attaches to the 4×4 post. Measure 64″ from the ground and mark it on the post. Then attach the diagonal board at that 64″ mark. Use 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws when connecting the brace to the post and 2 1/2″ wood screws when attaching it to the horizontal upper board. Place the diagonal brace at 45°. 

    Step 7 – Cut the Roof Trusses

    Roof trusses can be cut at the same length but each one is made from different sizes of wood. You will need two 1x6s, two 2x4s, and seven 1x4s cut to 72″ in length. Then, use the dimension provided to create the notches as well as the curves for each truss. Take a look at the image. The 2×4 trusses will have the swing attached to them. But 2×4 by itself is not strong enough to support the weight of the swing. You will have to attach a metal angel onto the top of your 2×4. Take 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ angle and cut two pieces to 63″ in length. Measure 21″ from the ends of the 2×4 truss and drill a 3/8″ hole for the eye bolt to hold the swing. Transfer and drill these hole locations from the 2×4 to the metal angle. You should ensure that the holes are aligned so you can fit an eyebolt with a nuts. 

    Step 8 – Install Roof Trusses on the Outdoor Arbor Swing 

    First, attach the 1×6 trusses to the 4×4 post on both sides of the arbor. Then measure 9 1/2″ and attach the 2×4 truss. The remaining 1×4 trusses need to be spread out evenly between the 2×4 trusses, about 9″ apart.Now place the metal angle over the 2×4 truss and install the eye bolts with washers and nuts. 

    Step 9 – Build Metal Frame for the Seat

    The frame can be made from either only wood, or you can mix wood with metal. The main structure of the bench should be made out of steel to make it stronger and prevent it from creasing over time. To make the bench as lightweight as possible, you might consider using aluminum and stainless steel angles. Take 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ metal angle and cut two pieces to 76 1/2″ in length and two pieces to 29 3/4″ in length. For the rope/chain to be connected, both long pieces must have ears. Using your Sawzall with a metal blade, cut 2 1/2″ off the bottom section of the angle on both ends. These 2 1/2″ ears will extrude out on four sides of the seat for the chain to connect. Drill a 1/2″ hole in the ears. Next, use an angle grinder to smoothen the ears. You will connect the angles to each other with nuts and bolts. Place the angles of metal over each other and then drill holes that are slightly larger than the required bolt sizes. Next, attach the frame to your seat using bolts and nuts. 

    Step 10 – Built the Backrest Frame

    You can also make the backrest frame from four angle metal parts. Cut two pieces to 71 1/4″ in length and two pieces to 19 1/2″ in length. The picture shows how to trim the lower ends of the pieces shorter than 15 degrees. Drill the holes to accommodate the bolts. The lower part of the backrest needs to be attached 1 1/2″ higher for the 1x4s to fit through (see step 12). 

    Step 11 – Connect the Backrest to the Seat Frame

    Measure 8 1/4 inch from the back end of the frame. Then place the backrest at that 8 1/4″ mark. Turn the backrest backwards about 15 degrees, and then clamp it to ensure it doesn’t move. Next, drill holes in the bottom of your backrest by drilling through the angle. Use bolts and nuts to secure the backrest on the frame. You should never tilt the backrest more than 15 degrees. If it does, you might need to add a diagonal 2×4 brace to keep it at 15 degrees. 

    Step 12 – Cut and Install 1×4 Wood Pieces to the Seat

    Fill in the seats and backrests with wooden boards after the metal frame has been assembled. Take 1×4 and cut twelve pieces to 29 3/4″ in length. Slide the underside of the backrest into the frame and attach it to the metal. Next, cut twelve more pieces of 1×4 to 17 1/2″ in length. These pieces should be attached to the backrest frame.

    Step 13 – Attach the Wood Trim Around the Seat Swing

    Now take 1×6 and cut two pieces to 73″ in length and two pieces to 29 3/4″ in length for the trim. Next, attach the trim boards around your seat to the steel. 

    Step 14 – Install Chain and Hang the Seat

    A chain or heavy-duty rope can be used to hang the swing. Cut, and then install the chain to the eye bolt hanging from the 2×4 roof truss. Next, connect the link to the seat metal ears. Place the cushions and pillows on the seat, and you’re done with an Outdoor Arbor Swing. 

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