Originally Published on December 8, 2022. Last Updated on September 27, 2023.
Thinking about buying an outdoor swing for your porch or beneath your deck? What a dreamy idea. A front porch swing enhances your home’s aesthetic and gives family a place to slow down, sit back, and sway the day away.
If you’ve never hung a porch swing before, you should know that it will require a little more time and work to install than other outdoor furniture, but the end result is well worth the effort. To make things easier, we’ve created an in-depth guide filled with detailed instructions on how to hang a porch swing, as well as valuable information to know beforehand that will help make this a seamless and stress-free project.
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Prep Stage: Things to Consider
Before you purchase a new porch swing, be sure you can confidently answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do I have the space for a porch swing?
- Do I have a structure that’s strong enough to support the weight of a swing?
- Have I chosen the right swing for my home?
- Do I have the correct mounting hardware?
An outdoor swing needs 3–4 feet of distance to both the front and back and 12–14 inches of clearance on either side. This gives it room to move and not bump into a wall or other furniture.
A Sturdy Structure
From your porch ceiling to a patio pergola, your chosen structure must be able to safely hold the weight of the swing and anyone who uses it. A load-bearing beam or ceiling joist will work perfectly. The joist needs adequate support on both ends and should be on the thicker side—2×6 or 2×8.
We don’t recommend using a tree as a support structure for two reasons:
- The supporting tree limb’s bark can grow around the swing chains and eventually over them entirely. At this point, the only way to remove the chain links is to cut them out with a saw.
- The back-and-forth movement of ropes and chains can rub away the bark over time, weakening the wood and leaving it vulnerable to wood-boring insects and fungi.
Select Your Swing
To find the perfect porch swing for you, prioritize checking off the above steps first. Otherwise, you might choose something too big or too heavy. You can skip this part if you already have a perfect-fit swing for your space. If not, it’s time to start shopping. Use our guide to help narrow your search and choose the perfect piece for your home.
Choose the Right Mounting Hardware
You may need to purchase mounting hardware separately from your swing. This is because all structural supports are different, so we suggest talking to a carpenter or hardware professional to find out what you need, including steel chains, ropes, porch swing hangers, swivel-type hanger mounts, and connectors.
Installation Stage: Hanging Your Outdoor Swing
We created this YouTube video to show how to install a hanging swing in your outdoor space, using our best-selling Vineyard 60″ Porch Swing as the featured product.
Installation methods vary slightly based on materials, models, and environments. Please consult a professional or read the hanging instructions provided by the manufacturer.
If you prefer written directions, we’ve broken down the instructions for how to hang a porch swing into four steps.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of items you’ll need to install your swing:
- Adjustable wrench
- Tape measure
- Power drill and drill bits
- Mounting hardware
- Friends to help
All POLYWOOD porch swings come with a zinc-coated galvanized steel chain kit that includes:
- (4) 5-foot sections of chain
- (4) eye bolts
- (6) quick link chain connectors
Phase 1: Attaching the Chains
- Four eye bolts are attached to your swing—two mounting screw eye points on each side. Grab a chain section and thread one end through the prefabricated hole at the front of the swing’s armrest.
- Use a quick link to secure the end of the chain to the eye screw located below the hole on the side of the seat.
- Take the other end of the same chain and feed it through the prefabricated hole on the back of the armrest, securing it to the eye bolt with another quick link fastener.
- Repeat steps 1–3 on the other side of the frame.
- Use another link to connect one end of the two remaining chain sections to the middle link of either chain that’s already attached to the swing. (It should look like an upside-down Y shape.)
- Repeat step 5 on the other side of the frame.
Phase 2: Installing Mounting Hardware
The distance between mounting hardware should measure 4-6 inches wider than the swing length—from armrest to armrest.
- Use your tape measure to determine the correct length, and mark each spot on the load-bearing joist with your pencil.
- Drill a pilot hole in each marked spot on the joist or beam. Use a drill bit that’s smaller than the threaded portion of your mounting hardware to ensure a snug, secure fit.
- Screw in the mounting hardware until it’s nice and tight (don’t overtighten it—otherwise, there’s a chance that it could damage the support’s structural integrity).
Phase 3: Hanging the Swing
Porch swings should hang about 17 to 19 inches above the floor.
- Use your tape measure to find the right height.
- Have your friends lift the swing and hold it steady while you connect the ends of the two chains to the mounting hardware using the two remaining quick links.
- (Optional): Adjust the pitch by moving the fasteners that hook to the middle of the chains forward or backward one or two links—just make sure that the links you choose are in the same spots on both sides.
Phase 4: Check Your Work
- Make sure all hardware connections are secure from the overhead support beam to the bottommost eye hooks.
- Use your wrench to double-check that quick links are completely screwed closed.
- Ensure the height and recline are to your liking (and the chains are the same length on both sides).
Style Stage: Add Some Personality
The hard work is over, and now comes the fun part: decorating your new swing and the space around it. We have some inspiration-sparking ideas to share on the subject.
For Small Spaces
Make the most of a cozy backyard by choosing a smaller swing that seats two, and surround it with decor that doesn’t take up a lot of real estate, such as an outdoor rug or a vertical garden.
For Large Spaces
If you have room, add more furniture to create a space for gathering. Your covered porch will look extra welcoming when adorned with your outdoor swing and a coordinating four-piece dining set nearby.
Outdoor cushions and throw pillows let you bring color and comfort to any outdoor seating, and a basket of matching blankets adds coziness to the overall aesthetic.
Style by Climate
If you own a home in coastal or desert locales, we recommend choosing decor that fits the natural environment. For example, a tranquil blue, green, and beige palette paired with bleached and natural oak finishes work well in oceanside abodes. Southwestern-inspired patterns and upholstery in earth tones complement the warm landscapes surrounding desert dwellings.
Update the look of your space when the seasons change—from floral-forward accents for spring and summer to pumpkins and plaid blankets in the fall.
Can I hang a porch swing myself?
Yes, you can hang your own porch swing. It’s a relatively quick DIY project that will cut costs since you’re not hiring help. That being said, this is more of an advanced project, and you’ll need the proper knowledge and resources to ensure a job well done the first time around. Also, swings are quite heavy, so for efficiency and safety, have a friend or family member help you with installation.
How much weight can a porch swing hold?
The average weight capacity of a porch swing is 550 pounds. This number will fluctuate depending on the size and material of the swing and its hanging hardware. If you want a stronger setup, look for frames constructed with durable materials like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or teak wood and hanging hardware made from galvanized steel or marine-grade quality unmanila.
How far off the ground should a porch swing hang?
A porch swing should hang about 17 inches off the ground. This allows most guests’ feet to reach the floor. If you have tall family members, 18–24 inches is the standard range for hanging heights.
How much does it cost to have a porch swing hung?
The cost of hiring professionals to hang your porch swing will range between $200 and $2,000. The price will change based on a few factors:
- The different materials needed
- Support structure building or reinforcement (if required)
- Additional assembly for the swing (if required)
- The time it takes to complete the project