When I was looking for backyard inspiration, I really loved the look of cedar post archways, especially contrasting against a black fence.
I then saw a few examples where these archways were swings, which I thought could be a fun feature for the kids!
I decided that the best place for this swing would be at the back of our property, where the backyard narrowed so the span of the posts wouldn’t be too wide. I talked to a few engineers at work to talk through the idea and decided that I would install two 6×6 cedar posts, at the midpoint of the narrow part of the yard.
Because the holes had to be 18″ in diameter for the posts, I decided to hire someone to come and dig the holes. When that failed – because no one wants to come all the way downtown to dig two holes – we rented an auger to do it ourselves.
Unfortunately the auger bit was in rough shape so it didn’t work. We got about 2′ down and it wouldn’t go any further – even when 4 guys were using all of their weight.
I gave up on trying the easy way and got to work with my trusty shovel. The first hole was relatively easy, as I didn’t find too many bricks or concrete chunks. The other side had all sorts of obstacles and took about twice as long. Once we got to a certain depth, I used my trusty vacuum method to remove the dirt from the bottom of the hole.
It took the full day, but Alex and I managed to dig two 18″ holes that were almost 4′ deep. I also wanted to finish the holes in time for the concrete truck to arrive, as it would be much easier to use ready-made concrete from the truck than lug 20 bags of concrete home from Home Depot.
On the morning of our garage concrete pour, we placed the 6×6 posts in our newly dug holes, carefully making sure they were square to the garage, the same distance away from the fence and square to each other. When the concrete truck showed up for the garage pad, we first grabbed a few wheelbarrows full of concrete and poured them into the holes. It was so satisfying to have these holes be filled so quickly and not have to mix a gazillion bags of concrete by hand!
Once the concrete set, the posts were ready to have the final piece installed on top. I took advantage of our garage contractors being at our house and asked them to put the final piece on top for me.
Surprisingly, the posts were almost at the exact same height, so we only had to remove a minimal amount from one post to make them level.
To connect the vertical posts to the top, horizontal piece, I bought the L-shaped Toja brackets for 6×6 posts. They weren’t cheap (at $160/bracket), but they’re heavy and sturdy and should hold the posts really well.
It looks a little busy with the garage unfinished, but I’m really happy with the result.
The final step was to buy and install the swing itself.
I purchased a commercial grade swing and bracket kit from Playstar (via Home Depot). Both the swing and brackets are very heavy-duty and justified the $200 price tag. Working above my head was hard, but I managed to get the brackets screwed in place.
Once the brackets were up, it was relatively easy to set up the swing and connect it on the brackets. My only problem was that the swing chain was way too short, so I’m now looking for an extension (which isn’t that easy to find) because the swing is much too high for anyone to use. Even when I tried it out, my feet didn’t touch the ground.