Pergola Swing Bench

Can I Use the Hexagonal Pergola Plans With A Swing Bench? 

Copyright image: A fabulous hexagonal pergola with swing bench and trellis.

Brian's Question:

My goal is to hang a garden swing bench from 4 of the 6 sides of the hexagonal pergola I am going to build, leaving one for a trellis panel and the other for ingress/egress.  I'm hoping to have a fire pit in the center.    

If I assume swings with a load rating of 300lb each, will your hexagonal plan be sturdy enough for the weight?

Pergola Swing Bench Ideas

Hi Brian,

The ideas for your pergola sound great!  It is important to note that the plans are written to be used with any size of posts and rafters. Your pergola would have to be a fairly sturdy one, though.

There are three things in particular you will need do to make sure everything is stable.

  1. The posts are anchored very firmly.
  2. The posts are not too far apart.
  3. The wood you use is of sufficient dimensions to bear the weight.

Let's take the example pergola in the plans, which is 3m or approx. 10ft diameter.  

Because a hexagon is made up of 6 triangles, all with equal sides, the length of the radius (that's the distance from the centre, or half the distance across) will be approx 5ft which means the length between posts will also be approx. 5ft.  This is ideal for the distance between posts for your swings, but will depend on their size.

Hanging benches can range in size from around 1.100m (42.5 inches), which would fit in to the space with 20cm between each side of the seat and the post (just about do-able) to about 1.350m (53 inches), leaving 7.5cm on each side (not enough clearance).

Usually this type of pergola swing is just for slight rocking rather than a full blown swing, but it's important to make sure there is a bit of room for manoeuvre!

A 4m diameter may be more suitable, but draw it out on the ground, even if it is only roughly with chalk or string to make sure the size will accommodate your swing bench.  You can do this straight away, in the planning stages.

Hexagonal pergola plans - calculating the radius.

For the wood dimensions:

Your posts will need to be minimum 4" for a smaller pergola or 6" for a larger one.  Of course, the larger your pergola, the greater distance between posts.

The support rafters, where the swings are attached, will need to be 3", 4" or 2 x 2" (joined together for ease of handling) thickness to avoid bowing and to give the strength needed.  However, the rafters themselves can be 2", as they sit on top of the posts.

Because the thickness of wood is greater, it is more difficult to handle, but is needed for this type of pergola and will be there to stay.

I have adapted a large hexagonal pergola drawing I did for someone else, measuring 5m diameter, with 6" posts and 4" supports, with post to post at 2.5m, just over 8ft (for a 4m pergola the radius would be 2m so the post to post would be the equivalent of 6.5ft).

I tend to recommend putting a central post in, as a feature of the larger hexagonal pergola.  This isn't possible with a fire pit, however.  Another option would be to 'pitch' the roof rafters.

The pitched roof hexagonal pergola plans are part of the additional plans series, which include the step-by-step instructions for the flat rafter style pergola, too.  The pitch, or angle, of the rafters, coupled with the kingpin in the centre, make this a very strong structure.

Copyright image: A beautiful pitched roof hexagonal pergola with swing bench seats and trellis panel.

I hope these ideas will give you some sense of what your pergola might look like.

Please feel free to ask if you have any further questions.

Kindest regards,


Garden Swing Bench For Any Pergola Design

Even though Brian asked about an hexagonal pergola with swings, the same principles apply for any pergola design.

This is very easy to do with the free pergola plans.  Here's what your pergola might look like made from the free pergola plans.

Lovely, isn't it, especially with a few well-chosen accessories?

Copyright image:  A beautiful garden pergola with swing bench made from the free plans.

Here's one hanging from a lean-to attached pergola.  Just the job for relaxing on a lovely sunny day.

Copyright image:  Attached pergola with garden swing bench made from the additional pergola plans.

This has two 2" thick rafters joined together from where the seat is hanging.  The bolt for the swing bench runs through both rafters.

Copyright image: A pergola swing bench attached to rafters with chain and bolts.

The swing bench can be set at an angle, too, as it is here on this attached pergola.  Very cosy and inviting.

Copyright image: A gorgeous attached pergola with hanging swing seat.

A seated arbour is wonderful for this type of swing, and is easily achievable using either the free plans or the arbour, pergola and arch plans.

Buying In Wood, Fabric, Metal or Polywood

What a turnaround this year!  Enthusiastic DIY pergola builders have been asking about these swing seats for a while now.  They really do make a statement in a garden.

However, it has been monumentally difficult to source them, but thankfully there are quite a few more coming onto the market at the moment, and in different materials, too, so there is much more choice. 

Having so much more choice has made it so much easier to create exactly the pergola we want.

Here are a few ideas.

This is an attractive wooden swing bench with chains and fixings that can be used in many situations: hanging off pergolas, arches, porches and arbours.

This metal pergola bench has been very popular since showing it on the pergolaplans4free blog.  Metal can be made into very intricate designs  that look fantastic in a variety of situations.

This is another new metal swing bench available this year.  Again, it is very intricate, giving a wonderfully classically romantic feel.

For those of us who find room is at a premium, or if we'd like to hang a swing off a smaller pergola, this is an interesting accessory.

Here's a really colourful swing bench for under a porch or covered pergola.

What a good idea.  This recycled Polywood plastic lumber is ideal for a wooden look without the maintenance.  

The black one has £160 off at the moment.

A slightly different design is available for these plastic wooden swing benches available in white and black from Eco-Friendly Furnishings.

I hope I have been able to inspire you to have a go at making a fantastic garden pergola with an integrated swing bench.  They look so beautiful, and everyone wants to sit on them!

Here's one of the maintenance free, eco-friendly benches under a pergola arch.  Imagine yours surrounded by colourful plants and climbers.

I've really enjoyed writing this ezine for you: to give you ideas on how to make a really stunning and beautiful feature in your gardens.  I know how much it means to people to know where to source these lovely seats, too.

Let me know how you get on!

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