How to Build a Wooden Swing Set…the EASY way!

How To Build a Wooden Swing Set..the EASY way! A DIY swing set that’s a fun and easy summer project that your kids will love.

DIY Wooden Swingset

COST: around $300 (see explanation at end of post)

TIME: 3-4 hours

LEVEL:  Beginner

We’ve been working hard on your backyard this year, adding a few more fun things for the kids to play on. One of the items that we really wanted to get was a large swing set. We’ve had a wooden play set for quite awhile, and it has a couple of swings, but as kids get a little older–7+–they start getting too big for those smaller swings.

We needed a swing set that could hold our bigger kids (8-12), and give them more of a playground experience. I started looking at large swing sets, and the prices were just not what I wanted to pay, so we decided to make our own! After a bit of research, I came across something that makes it SO easy–with no need to cut any wood. It’s a simple swing set, and you don’t need any specific swing set plan.  I’ve got all the instructions and tutorial below, and you’ll have a awesome swing set for your backyard play area in no time!

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

I honestly can’t believe how easy this was to put together, and how quickly it came together, considering how big it is.  It’s approximately a 4-6 hour project, making it perfect for a Saturday afternoon!

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

The secret is a set of swing set brackets that you just slide the wood into, and screw them in. If you buy the right size of wood posts, you don’t even have to cut them down, which also saves a ton of time.

The top piece is a 4×6 post that’s 12 feet long, and it’s perfect for three swings. The legs are 4×4 posts that are 10 feet tall. We wanted them tall enough to allow the kids to swing pretty high, and to accommodate our older kids. It turned out perfectly, and the kids love it!

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

Affiliate links are included below. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please find my full disclosure here.

Wooden Swing Set Supplies:

***You can also opt to buy this set, which includes the a-frame swing brackets, swings, ring trapeze, and all the hardware! 

Putting together your Wooden Swing Set…

You’ll need the posts and the brackets first–and in the set I purchased (linked above), all the bolts needed came with it. Make sure you are using pressure treated wood–that will make it last outside much longer. We also used galvanized bolts and screws for the same reason.

We laid out the top beam first, with each end resting on top of a scrap 4×4 post, to keep it off the ground and easier to work with. Then we slid each end of the post into their respective brackets, and drilled the bolts into place.

Next we slid the 4×4 posts into their respective brackets (bottom sides, then top) and bolted them in. It really is as easy as that, when you use the awesome a-frame brackets!

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!
How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!
How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

Once all the posts were bolted in securely, we carefully brought the swing set into a standing position, and moved it where we wanted it to be. We started it right where we wanted it, so we didn’t have to move it too far. This took the two of us, and you might even need a third person to help you get it into standing position. I have had some questions about this process, and we lifted it up on either end, then walked it forward, moving our hands down the sides as necessary.  I honestly don’t remember any specific details, but we were able to do it together.  

We decided to add the wooden stringers connecting the two posts on each side, and we cut them at 5.5×8. This isn’t necessary–you can do it without as well. But if you want to, it’s a super easy step.  If you don’t have a circular saw or another way to cut wood at home, Home Depot will also make cuts for you when you buy it there, and these would be really easy to do.  I’ve seen some locations charge for this service, but I know others that haven’t.  It’s definitely worth asking about!

We anchored the swing set down for now, but we are planning to cement it in place. You’re seeing it with just mulch (used it as fill), but wood chips are next, after it’s cemented in. We highly recommend that you cement them in place, but I did add some anchor options to my supplies list.

**I added this note above, but if you are going to cement them in, then I suggest buying 12 foot 4×4 posts for the legs, so your swing is still 10 feet high.

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

Next up…hanging the swings! I ordered separate seats and chains, because I needed a longer length chain than usual because of the swing set height. Along with the seats and chains, I also ought the swing hangers that attach to the top post. If you purchase similar ones, make sure to check if they come with the bolts to hang them. Ours didn’t, so we bought the right bolts and washers to attach them.

After the pressure-treated lumber is totally dry, we recommend adding a water-repellant sealer to the wood, so it will help prevent cracking and splitting due to weather (hot or cold), but especially where it’s sunnier.  Doing this regularly (once a year is best) is a good idea for maintenance, so your swing will last longer!

MEASUREMENTS BETWEEN SWINGS:

There are 16 inches from the each edge to the first bracket. The brackets for each swing have 20 inches between them (this is for the actual swing–the two brackets holding the swing up.). Then between each swing, there are 18 inches.

So from edge to edge, it goes:

  • 16 inches–from edge to first swing,
  • 20 inches–the two brackets for swing #1,
  • 18 inches-the space between the first swing and second swing,
  • 20 inches–the two brackets for swing #2,
  • 18 inches–the space between the second and third swing,
  • 20 inches–the two brackets for swing #3, and 16–the space between the third swing and the other edge.

TOTAL MEASUREMENTS OF SWING SET:

8 feet deep x 16 feet wide x 10 feet high

NOTE: The dimensions for the finished swing are 16 feet–because the legs are at an angle, and stick out past the 12 foot top post. The finished dimensions are for those that need to fit it in a certain space.

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!
How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

The very second those swings were on, my kids were swinging, and they haven’t stopped since.  They LOVE it! Such a fun and easy summer project, that will be a wonderful addition to our backyard for years to come.

How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!
How to Build a Wooden Swing Set the EASY way!

TOTAL COST:  around $300

This amount reflects the prices of wood and supplies at the time we built them.  Wood can greatly vary in cost from area to area, so there could be a difference for you—either more or even less.  But to purchase a swing set of this size and durability, it would be much more.  I’m so pleased with the swing, and with the cost savings!

UPDATE:  

I thought it would be helpful to add an update so you could see how it’s held up since we put it in 3.5 years ago. It’s gotten a lot of use, from a lot of kids, and it’s completely solid and sturdy. We still absolutely love it!

DISCLAIMER:

We are not experts, nor engineers! We built this for our kids, and wanted to share in case others wanted to as well.  If you have any concerns about safety, weight limits, or overall stability, please contact other sources.  The Eastern Jungle Gym Company may be able to help answer specific questions–they are the makers of the a-frame brackets that hold the structure together.

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118 Comments

  1. Hi thanks so much for this, I followed your links and got all the stuff. I don’t completely understand best practice for using the anchors, I can get them into the ground of course, but what’s the best way to anchor them to the bottom of the four swing set posts?

    1. We only used the anchors for a very temporary time. It’s highly suggested you cement them in. However, we bolted them in to the bottom of the posts through the rings that are on the anchors. Hope that helps!

  2. Hello, I’m going to build this this weekend, but with 2 swings instead of 3. I’m still using 12′ 4x4s and a 12′ 4×6, and I’m going to, at the very least, bury the 4x4s 1-2 feet deep and possibly add concrete. The A frame brackets are designed to be used with screws and I was thinking it would be better to modify the brackets to accommodate bolts to protrude all the way through the 4×6, and do the same with the tops of the 4x4s. Did you use the screws that were provided with the brackets? Don’t you think it would be better to drill holes all the way through the brackets and posts and use bolts with nuts? That way you could tighten them overtime. I suppose if you’re holes ever wear out, you could do it at some point.

    1. We did use the screws that came with the brackets, and they’ve held tight with no issues at all–and it’s been 3 summers of use. They’ve completely sufficient for us. You could drill through for bolts/nuts, but if you are using these brackets, there are holes on either side that line up on both sides of the bracket. You’d have to be able to drill perfectly straight to make sure you could get through both of those holes. But it really is what you feel comfortable with and want to do.

  3. Btw for anyone who decides to build this, the brackets are available from Walmart as well. They don’t have the sticker on the side but they’re $20 cheaper than Amazon.

    1. Good to know! I can’t vouch for them, since I’ve not used them, but it’s always good to have options if you’re looking.

  4. Could you use 14 ft instead of 12 ft, so that the finished swing is 12 ft high if the feet are buried? Or do you think this would cause an issue? Thanks!

    1. Yes, we think it could work! The legs will automatically be longer because of the wood length, so you’d need more room. And I’d definitely cement them in for safety. Good luck!!

  5. Wonderful writeup, it saved me a ton of time. Everything was on point!

    You really don’t realize how tall 10′ is until you’re staring up at this massive swing set!

    We opted to use cement to anchor the 12′ posts ~2′ underground, leaving 10′ exposed. Digging the holes, slanted, at the corners of a 8′ by 16′ rectangle worked perfectly.

    We assembled in a different order than yours, dropping the posts loose into the holes, then sliding them the brackets to make the “A”s, then finally lifting the giant 4×6 into one side, then the other, we had 3 people in all, although could have been done with two. And after hand-ratcheting the 28th lag screw in, I smiled thinking back to the drill that you recommended.

    Great weekend project, and now everybody can swing, kids and grownups alike. Thanks again!

    1. Oh my goodness, this is the best!! I’m so glad you came back to tell me how it went. I’m also glad you explained how you assembled it, so other readers have an alternative option. And that made me smile too, about the drill. :) Happy swinging!!

  6. This is an excellent post! I bought the same hardware set and was curious about swing spacing. Your information was exactly what I was looking for. Thank!

  7. Thanks for continuing to answer all of these questions! What makes you recommend the concrete? I’m planning on putting this on the side of a playhouse tower, so it’ll be fixed at one end and have only one side of the A-frame on the other. I’m worried about the A-frame side sinking into the clay over time and torqueing the fixed end. My initial plan was to set the A-frame about 12″ down on a bed of gravel, but your post is making me wonder if I should do something else.

    1. The main reason we suggest cement is that it’s because it’s the most secure way to anchor swing set posts that we know of!

  8. Been wanting to make this for a couple years! Finally ordered the kit off Amazon and just made my wood list! It’s happenin soon!! My kids are so excited! :)

  9. Could you please let me know where I could purchase the materials other than the wood, which I know from Lowes. Can I buy as a kit or is it individual pieces? .I have left my email below. My daughter and myself are going to attempt to build for my grandson.
    Thank you

    1. Hi, Debbie! It doesn’t come as a kit, but I do have a checklist with direct links in the post so you can get exactly what you need. Let me know if you have another questions!! You can totally do this, I’m excited for you!!!

  10. Thank you for sharing! The big swings for adults that I ordered from https://treeswingstore.com/adult-tree-swings/ just arrived yesterday and I’m about to set it up tomorrow after work. I really needed some tips on how to put it up properly and of course sturdily to make sure it’s safe for us to use!

  11. How on earth did you stand the swing set up? It’s so tall and heavy, we can’t possibly do it with two people. We’re going to have to call in reinforcements, I think.

    1. We had two adults, and then our bigger kids helped on the sides as we lifted it up. I’m so sorry it was so difficult. Hope you were able to call in reinforcements to help you lift it up, and now enjoying your swing set. :)

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