12 Different Types of Backyard Swings

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Complete your outdoor setup with a backyard swing set. It’s an excellent spot to hang out in, for families to gather, and to keep the kids entertained.

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A white, wooden swing with stylish throw pillows, on a back yard.

Swings existed as early as 1450 BC in Ancient Greece. They were basic and made of wood and rope suspended from a tree. In 1859, the first public playground was opened in Manchester, England which spread the popularity of outdoor swing sets worldwide.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park opened in 1887 and became the first U.S. playground. By this time, outdoor swing sets held their own structures and no longer tied to trees. Designs also became safer and standardized. During the post World War II era, home swing sets began appearing in the backyards of prosperous American families.

A. Types

1. Tire Swing


Tire swing with yellow-painted chains.

Source: Wayfair

Tire swings are something that people think about when they hearken back to the days of old. These swings exude an ample amount of charm, and they can also be quite fun for your children to play with. The basic premise behind a tire swing is that an actual car tire will be used to make a swing. Typically, a rope or a chain will be connected to the tire, and it will hang from a tree.

These tire swings can also hang from something that is more like a traditional swing set if you so choose. People who don’t have strong trees in their yards will often build bases from which to hang their tire swings. You can use spare lumber to very easily make a base from which you can hang your tire swing, so it won’t be an arduous task. You definitely want to make sure that the tire swing is secure, as you want to keep your children safe while they’re playing.

A lot of people create their own tire swings, as well. If you have a sturdy old tire somewhere on your property, then you could use it to make an effective swing. This is a fun way to repurpose something that you otherwise in all likelihood would have thrown out. Your children will appreciate having a fun new swing, and it will help your house to have more old-fashioned home appeal.

Professional tire swings are also available for purchase. If you aren’t confident about your carpentry skills, then this is likely going to be your best option. These commercial tire swings are built to be very sturdy and will stand up to rough play from your children. The tire should have no trouble fitting your child, and it will be able to hang there without you having to worry about its stability.

Keep in mind that you will want to be careful about using the tire swing yourself. Some adults do enjoy using these tire swings, too, but you will want to pay attention to how much weight the swing is meant to handle. Tire swings that are meant for children will not likely hold up to adult use, so you will want to refrain in these situations. As long as you are mindful about using these tire swings properly, it should be a great experience.

2. Swing Set

A swing set with a white frame and dark green seats.

Source: Amazon

It is possible to purchase your own swing set for your backyard. If you were always envious of the swing set at the playground when you were growing up, and you wished that you could have one of your own, then providing one for your child is the next best thing. There are many different styles of swing sets that you can choose from, so there is a lot to consider. You will find dedicated swing sets that only feature swings, but other sets might have teeter-totters and even slides attached to them.

Take everything into account before making an ultimate purchasing decision. You should try to buy something that is going to be safe and appropriate for your child. Depending on what age your child is, you may not want a swing set that has all of the different bells and whistles. It is possible to change out the swing seats on your swing set, though, so you shouldn’t feel too concerned if it isn’t in the style that you prefer for your child right out of the box.

Having a swing set is going to provide your children with many hours of enjoyment. They will be able to get together with their friends and enjoy playing while using their imaginations. In an age where many children have taken to playing video games and becoming engrossed in technology at a young age, it is nice to see them get back to the basics. Playtime will always be a thrill when they have a fun and durable swing set to play with.

This is an investment that will be worth the money for sure. Make sure that you buy a swing set that is going to have enough swings for all of your children and their friends. You can purchase sets that have at least four swings if you take the time to look. If you don’t think that you will need to worry about that many children playing at once, then purchasing a set with two or three swings will certainly suffice.

3. Sling Swing

Green-colored sling swing.

Source: Wayfair

There are also many different types of swing seats that you need to consider when looking into backyard swings. The traditional swing that you likely think of when remembering your times on the playground as a child would be a sling swing. This type of a swing is very sturdy and is capable of providing ample support while you’re swinging around. It is the best type of swing to purchase for children who are six and above.

Adults can also make use of these sling swings quite readily. If you want to be able to swing alongside your child, then you can purchase a slightly larger sling swing that will work for you. Just make sure that the base of your swing set is capable of holding the weight of an adult before you attempt to swing on it. Some children’s swing sets are made with only children in mind, so you might wind up collapsing the entire thing if you aren’t careful.

It would be beneficial to purchase a very sturdy base on which to hang your swings if you plan on doing any swinging yourself. Many adults actually do enjoy using swing sets for recreation. There has been a resurgence in people staying connected with the activities of their youth in modern times, so it isn’t too unusual at all for adults to want to swing. Using your child as a convenient excuse will simply allow you to continue looking responsible without having to admit that you just find it to be fun.

In all seriousness, you can find excellent sling swings at many of the biggest retailers. Turning online to purchase these swings is also a very good option. The swing being shown off here is perfect for children and is something that will provide many hours of fun for them. It’s always good to invest in a high-quality swing seat when you want your child to have the best experience possible.

4. Full Bucket Swing

Yellow, full-bucket swing perfect for toddlers.

Source: Amazon

Very young children love getting to use the swing set, as well. In fact, this is something that is likely going to be very satisfying for them even before they learn how to talk or walk. Children that are this young will not be capable of swinging themselves, of course, so you will need to be there to supervise them and swing them yourself. You will also need a special swing seat that is going to work perfectly for small children.

Full bucket swings have been designed for young toddlers to be able to make use of the swing set. These seats allow your child to be fully strapped into the seat so that you can ensure their safety. This is the easiest way to have fun with your small children on the swing set. You will feel at ease because you will know that this type of a seat has been designed with them in mind.

These seats are made with the comfort of your child in mind, as well. They will feel comfortable to sit in, and they won’t get annoyed while you’re swinging them. They will just be enamored with the fun sensation of swinging up and down. Also, note that the seat will secure them snugly, but it won’t be tight in any way, so you won’t have to worry about them fitting.

Your child is going to grow out of this seat at some point in time. This is going to be useful to them while they are in that toddler age-range. You can enjoy swinging them safely with a full bucket seat while they are young, and then you can transition them into a more normal swing seat once they have gotten a bit older. It’s a good way to go about things and you will like the feeling of security that it gives you as a parent.

5. Half Bucket Swing

Pink, half-bucket swing great for toddlers.

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Source: Wayfair

The half bucket swing is another option that you can consider for your child. It has some similarities to the full bucket seat that is mentioned above. This seat is also designed with younger children in mind, and it will do a good job of keeping them safe. People make use of these half bucket swing seats when their toddlers have gotten a little bit older and have gained some confidence.

This is a good step to take when your children aren’t quite ready to move on to sling swing seats. They will be able to make use of the half bucket swing and still have a certain level of protection. They will have a little bit more freedom of movement in this type of a swing than they did in the full bucket seat. The model that is being shown off here still has a chain that keeps your child from flying out.

The chain is actually padded with a comfortable plastic so that it won’t dig into your child in an uncomfortable way. Unless your child is being pushed at an extreme velocity, it should be unlikely that they will be pushed against the chain. Regardless, it is good to know that the comfort and safety of your child have been taken into consideration during the design of this seat. They will feel comfortable in this half bucket swing seat, and they won’t be near as restricted as before.

There are people who skip using these types of swings entirely and simply move their children into swinging on sling swings. It really depends on where you think your child is developmental, as well as whether or not you think they will be safe to swing that way. This can be a very useful half-step to take to prepare your child for swinging like the big boys and girls do. Purchasing seats like this won’t cost you too much money either, so it is worth trying if you think it would help you out.

6. Horse Glider Swing

Green steel, back-to-back glider with a yellow-colored seat.

Source: Amazon

Another type of swing that you will want to take into consideration for your backyard play area is the horse glider swing. These swings are sometimes referred to as back gliders or back-to-back swings, as well. Whatever it is being called, the concept of how these swings work is going to be the same. Your child will be able to swing together with a friend using the exact same swing when you have one of these in your backyard.

Your children are meant to face outwards when using this swing. Two children sit back to back on the horse glider swing, and they are able to push and pull so that they swing higher. This can be a lot of fun and children really enjoy being able to work in tandem on the swing. This is a good solution when you have limited space on your swing set or in your yard, as it will allow multiple children to play at once.

If you have two children, then buying one of these horse glider swings is definitely going to be quite appealing. It is important to note that this type of a swing works best when you have children who are around the same age using it. If you have two children that are several years apart, then it might not work as well or be as comfortable for them. It really depends on the size of the children and other factors.

Even so, this can be an excellent swing to have installed in your backyard play area. If your child has friends that come over to play regularly, then a swing like this is definitely going to make them very happy. You want to create an environment that is going to allow your children to have lots of fun with their friends. Swings like this can provide many hours of fun and will promote cooperation, which is a valuable skill for them to learn.

7. Disc Rope Swing

A blue disc swing with a yellow rope.

Source: Wayfair

Another interesting option for you to consider is the disc rope swing. These tiny swings can provide a lot of entertainment for your children without taking up too much space in your yard. If you don’t have a large backyard but you want to be able to have a swinging solution for your children, then this is going to work out well. These swings can hang from a small base, or you can potentially hang them from a tree.

If you decide to try to hang this disc rope swing from a tree, then you should ensure that the tree is going to be sturdy enough to hold it well. You want to make sure that the branch you are using is very strong, as you would hate to have it snap and injure your child. For this reason, it might be safest to build a base for it or buy something. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that it is as safe as possible.

Your child will be able to stand on the disc and swing from a standing position. This might not be a swing that you will want a very young child to use, so it may be best for ages seven and up. Use your parental discretion and decide whether or not it is going to be a good fit for your child. These swings are becoming more and more popular with people who want to save space, so it is certainly an option worth considering.

8. Flat Swings

A swing set with a flat, blue seat. Source: Amazon

Flat swings definitely aren’t as common as sling swings or bucket swings, but they are an option that some people prefer. If your child would feel more comfortable sitting on a flat surface while swinging, then this is going to be the ideal option. It may be best to get your child’s opinion before proceeding, as you want to get something that is going to be comfortable and fun for them to use. Some children prefer the sturdy feel of a flat swing and have an easier time balancing on one of these.

You will find many of the flat seats are made out of plastic. A lot of them are branded in such a way that makes them seem like they are for younger children as well. You can find flat swing seats that will work well for older children too, they just might not be as prevalent. This is a good option to choose when your child is more comfortable with sitting on something that is flat.

B. Materials

1. Rope

A swing with ropes attached on a tree.

Source: Wayfair

Some people prefer to hang their swings using traditional ropes. In many ways, ropes aren’t going to be as durable or effective as chains. For the most part, chains are going to be capable of holding greater amounts of weight than ropes. The reason that people decide to use ropes to hang their swings is that it looks really nice aesthetically.

If you choose to build a wooden swing set, then using chains to hang the swings might not look quite right. Using rope just seems to feel more natural when you’re working with a wooden swing set. The visual appeal of the swing set certainly does matter, so if you want it to give off the right vibe, then using rope might be a good idea. You can buy a rope that is quite durable and will be more than capable of swinging your children effectively.

2. Chain

A swing set with yellow-painted plastic chain straps.

Source: Amazon

Chain swings are significantly more durable than their rope swing cousins. If you want to buy a swing that is going to stand the test of time, then it makes sense to purchase one that is using chains. The chains are going to work effectively to swing your child in a safe fashion. Hanging a chain swing is very easy, too, as putting the chain on the hooks will always make sense.

Most children’s swing sets will come with chain swings, but there are exceptions. It can be worthwhile to seek one out, as you will be able to make use of it throughout your child’s younger years. They will love playing with their friends, and you will be able to feel assured that they are swinging on something that is safe. As they get older, you may want to buy thicker chains and larger seats to accommodate their growth.

3. Rubber

A black leather swing with metal hooks.

Source: Wayfair

A rubber material is often used to make the swing seats that your children play on. These types of seats are very high-quality, and they are going to stand up to several years of regular use. When you want to buy something that is going to last a long time, going with rubber is going to be a fine option. These seats often come in many interesting colors as well, so it will be a good choice from an aesthetics perspective, too.

Buying a quality rubber seat is going to make the swinging time your child has that much more enjoyable. You don’t want to buy something that is inexpensive if it isn’t going to be fun for your child to use. Making the investment in a really good seat makes sense, so take the time to pick out the best option for your child. You should even be able to find something that comes in their favorite color.

4. Plastic

Swing with a blue, rigid plastic seat.

Source: Amazon

You will also find some swing sets that come with plastic seats. Plastic seats will work just fine for younger children, and they can even work well for older people depending on how well they are made. Depending on its quality, plastic can be either great or less than desirable. A high-quality and durable plastic seat or swing set is going to hold up to regular use quite nicely.

Some people shy away from plastic as they find it to be less comfortable than other options. There is some merit to this, as hard plastic seats may be a little rough to sit on for long periods of time. Take this into account, and decide whether it is going to be a good fit for your swing set. You want to buy whatever option is going to work out best for your children, so it’s worth looking into all the different avenues.

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