7 Things You Need to Consider Before Getting a Porch Swing

Seth Carter 14/03/2024

Customers have turned to DutchCrafters for reliable Amish furniture for over 20 years. That doesn’t just pertain to indoor furniture. We have specialized in outdoor Amish furniture since our company was first established in 2003!

Our outdoor porch swings are handcrafted, beautiful, durable, and immensely popular with our customers. But how do you pick the perfect porch swing?

If you want a hanging swing to grace your porch, here are seven important factors you must consider.

1. How Much Space is Needed to Hang a Porch Swing?

You might ask yourself, “Is my porch big enough for a swing?” The answer depends on the size of the swing you want to purchase. Ensure your porch has the proper clearance for the size of the outdoor swing you are considering.  

You need at least 36-48 inches of clearance in front of and behind the swing to allow space to swing without hitting the rail or a wall. Give yourself about 24 inches on either side to allow space to walk around the swing comfortably. Ensure your porch can accommodate these dimensions to determine if it is spacious enough for an outdoor swing. 

2. How High Off The Floor Should I Hang My Porch Swing?  

You want the average person’s feet to touch the floor while seated in the swing. Typically, you will want to hang your swing approximately 17-19 inches off the floor, but that’s not a concrete rule. The primary goal of picking the right distance is to ensure most occupants can reach the ground with their feet while still being high enough off the ground for a hassle-free swinging session. In other words, you don’t want your feet banging into the floor while you swing. Porch swings are intended to help you relax, not break a toenail.

3. Which Direction Should My Swing Face? 

You must also think about which view you want from your outdoor swing. Do you want to face your yard or the street?

Do you want to see the sunset or the sunrise?

Maybe you prefer privacy and the ability to observe your feathered friends’ social activities at the birdhouse in your backyard.

Do you have the required clearance and space to achieve your desired view?

These are all questions you must investigate before installing your porch swing. 

Determining how you would like to orient your swing will help you decide if you have enough space in the right location. If the logistics don’t work out to get the view you want from your porch, you can always go with a patio swing with a stand. You can position these swings anywhere in the yard!

Watch the sunrise in the morning and turn it around to watch the sunset in the evening.

Make sure you take time to thoroughly evaluate the view before installing.

Hanging porch swing with dog in front of it.
The LuxCraft 5′ Adirondack Poly Swing is strategically hung in a spot with an entertaining view for humans and canines!

4. Ensure Your Porch Ceiling Can Support an Outdoor Swing 

You can choose to hang your outdoor swing from the ceiling of your porch, a pergola, or a swing stand. No matter what you choose to hang your swing from, it is important to ensure the structure is strong enough to support a swing full of people, assuming the occupants do not exceed the maximum weight limit of the swing.

If you are attaching your swing to the porch ceiling, make sure you locate a joist or support beam that is supported on both ends. Attaching the swing to multiple joists will help distribute the load and reduce the pressure on a single joist.  

Joists should be 2×6 or larger. You may need to remove vinyl ceiling panels to identify the location of your joists.

Things to Consider When Determining Support  

  • Current Load of Beam or Joists
    You need to consider the load the joist or beam is already bearing before you add to the stress. For example, a joist might also be supporting a deck above it. In that case, you may need to consult a contractor or an expert to determine how much pressure is on the joist and how much more it can safely withstand.  
  • Quality and Condition of Joists
    Make sure the joist has structural integrity. Any rotted, withered, or damaged wood can be weakened and should not be used to support a porch swing. Rotted and damaged wood is also more susceptible to pests like termites, which increases the risk of failure.
  • How Much Space You Need Around the Swing
    Once you have found a stable support beam or joist, mark your spot with a marker or pencil. Remember, you must allow the appropriate amount of space (covered earlier in the post) in front of, behind, and on the sides of the swing. This is especially important to consider when deciding where to hang the swing.  
  • Swing Hooks and Hanging Hardware
    Refer to any product-specific instructions for installing the eyebolts or hooks into the joists at your marked spots. Swing hooks should be 2-4 inches wider than the hanging hardware on the swing. This prevents the chains from rubbing on the swing. Please note that some products come with hanging hardware, while some do not. You must refer to the product specifications to see if you need to buy the hardware to hang your new swing.  Contact one of our furniture specialists if you have any questions!
  • Blocking the JoistsWhat if my joists don’t align with my swing?
    You need 3-4 feet of clearance in the front and back of your swing and 1-2 feet of clearance on the sides. There is a chance your ceiling joists won’t align precisely where you need to hang your swing. If you need to hang your outdoor swing in a space between joists, you can block the joists. Blocking the joists entails cutting a 2×6 long enough to fit between the two joists and screwing it into each joist. This allows you to pick a spot for you to hang your swing. If you need a bigger area to screw your hook in, you can simply sister the block. Sistering the block means adding a second block next to the first one.

WARNING: Please contact a professional if you are uncomfortable assessing your ceiling joists’ strength and structural integrity.

5. Why You Should Not Chain Your Swing From a Tree 

It might be tempting to hang your swing from a tree to capture an idyllic scene of relaxation, but we do not advise using a tree as your swing’s support system. The bark can interfere in a couple of ways. Bark can grow around the chains, becoming one with the swing. Alternatively, the swing can wear the bark away over time, causing instability and withered wood. If you want your swing under a tree, perhaps consider one of our patio swings with a swing stand.  

6. No Porch? No Problem!

Don’t fret if you don’t have room on your porch for a swing. Perhaps you don’t have a porch at all? Either way, this doesn’t have to stop you from spending your leisure time hanging out on a hanging swing! DutchCrafters has a wide selection of swing stands. You can put these swings anywhere in your yard or on your patio. You can select from standard swing stands, arbors, and pergolas!

Bench swing hanging from a structure called an arbor.
Berlin Gardens Vinyl Swing with Arbor is a stunning garden swing that allows you to choose an off-porch location.

7. How Much Does a Porch Swing Cost?

Amish-made patio swings vary in size, style, and options. Everyone has a budget, so price is certainly an important consideration. Use the price filter to help guide you to the perfect swing within your budget. We have a sizeable selection in every price range.

Porch Swing Price Ranges at DutchCrafters

Below is a list with the percentages of porch swings with base prices within each price range (as of this writing). These numbers will change over time, but this snapshot paints a picture of how much a porch swing costs and the price ranges.

Remember that selecting certain options or increased sizes will change the base price. If you want a beautiful pergola or garden swing, expect the price to be on the higher end of the range.

Conclusion

There is much to consider before buying a porch swing for your home. DutchCrafters has specialists standing by via phone, chat, or email to help you along the way. If you are near Alpharetta or Sarasota, stop by one of our showrooms and check out the selection in person!

While this guide serves as a list of things to ponder, we always recommend consulting an expert before installing a porch swing or assessing structural support.

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by Seth Carter (5 Posts)

Seth Carter has been with DutchCrafters since 2020. Seth has won multiple awards for his work in Amish furniture while with DutchCrafters. He has advised and partnered with more than 150 Amish wood shops on furniture presentation, features, industry trends, product options, and development of exclusive products. He contributes to the Timber to Table Blog and has written content throughout the DutchCrafters website. Seth has a B.S. in Business Administration from IU-East and has owned Carter Family Insurance, LLC. since 2014.


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1 comments

  • Wavie Carter
    March 14, 2024 at 8:25 pm

    I like your presentation about the swing, very helpful and I love the quality look of those swings!


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