How a Porch Swing Came to Be and Its Present Use

September 14, 2021

Who can ever forget the fun of riding a porch swing? Imagine the breeze brushing the sun-kissed skin of childhood. The joy is beyond compare.

A porch swing is a chair or bench that is suspended from overhead. When thinking of purchasing a swing as outdoor furniture, one must think of how porch swings came to be and know of several ways that they can be used to add to a deck's life.

History of the Porch Swing

Today, let’s do a little digging on the brilliant concept of a porch swing.

Dating back to 1450 BC, swings have been common all over the globe. One British engineer however by the name of Charles Wicksteed has been credited however as the playroom equipment inventor. This playroom equipment includes the modern swing and slide. Mr. Wicksteed is also believed to be the founder of Wicksteed Park in 1921 in Northamptonshire, England.

So now, the question is this: how did the swing from the playgrounds find its way on the front porch?

We go now to the 19th century where families have begun to live in detached houses as the cities expanded and grew larger. Progress has also caused sprouting neighborhoods to form and workdays were shorter. People made front porches to pass some time and also as a means to behold their gardens and the neighborhood. This became more convenient as opposed to seeing them just behind the windows. People would take their time to sit on the porch observing everything in front of them while still being under their houses' roofs. Back porches were also not uncommon. In the 20th century though, the backyard was often a place for trash heaps and outhouses which make them less pleasant.

In the 1880s up to the middle of the 1920s, porches up front houses were most famous. Front porches were most lucrative as they get people to mingle and socialize. This unsurprisingly paved way for more houses built with this incorporated addendum.

Then, front porches weren't predominantly vast. They are only about five feet in width with a wooden ceiling and floor. Often, the furniture on the front porch is very basic also. Some households prefer functionality over aesthetics. Some people place unutilized dining room chairs and other useful furniture on the front porch. The chairs place on the front porch must be chosen from materials that can withstand the elements. Iconic rocking chairs were easily found on the front porch as well. The greatest addition though would be a porch swing.

Suspended from the ceiling of a porch by ropes or chains or some other form, the porch swing is essentially a swing taking the shape of a bench. It can hold several people at the same time because of its elongated shape. It creates a rocking motion as it is swung which enables relaxation.

Developments in the 1930's to the 40's disabled most new houses built of the front porch. Rather, houses came with a stoop, patios, and decks providing more backyard privacy.

By the 1950s, somehow the popularity of front porches declines as newer forms of indoor entertainment like radio and television emerged. New methods of socialization have formed with the rise in automobile access. This then resulted in less need to sit outside of home porches waiting for friends and neighbors to walk on by.

Front porches are not as popular as they once were but they are carefully emerging in architectural house designs. And together with this growth is the familiarity of porch swings.

Porch swings are unique in the sense that they can be hung from virtually anywhere as long as it supports them. Tree branches are familiar together with arbors and A-frames as a substitute for a ceiling. Considering this, a porch swing can be put anywhere than just a house's front porch.

Ways to Utilize a Porch Swing

Here are several good examples of different types where a porch swing can be placed:

  1. On a porch

Hanging a wooden porch swing from atop the ceiling of the front or back porch is still the most famous way to utilize and enjoy them. In hanging porch swings this way, use heavy-duty hooks and chains. Pilot holes drilled into the beams will let the porch swing hooks screw in more simply.

Different porch swing materials hang differently. So, make sure that the kind of material for the porch swing has been decided before purchasing the hardware to suspend it.

2. In the yard on a stand

There is no problem having a porch swing without the porch. Porch swing stands are convenient and portable. It can be installed anywhere the user chooses. The user can move the porch swing somewhere else perfect if the first location is not so ideal.

Some porch swings come with a stand and a canopy for built-in shade. No beams, hooks, and trees are needed. Appreciating its comforts while using a porch swing without a porch or deck is still possible with these versatilities.

3. From a Tree

Strong tree branches give excellent backing for porch swings. Lush trees inherently provide shade underneath and thus are perfect spots to unwind and relax with a soothing, cold beverage. For this utilization of porch swings, try using thick ropes to hang the porch swing instead of chains.

4. From a garden arbor

When there is an arbor in the garden or if the owner plans to build one, this spot can be the perfect place in the garden and can create a lavish respite spot as it hangs from the beams.

Style the surrounding of the arbor with lush plants, a few patios furniture, and the site will become as endearing as the indoors. Also, make any swing that's chosen more comfortable to sit and stay on by installing an outdoor porch swing cushion.

Remember that having a porch swing can reinvent spaces from romantic to a more modern feel. Choose designs carefully to suit your style. There are suppliers of porch swings that offer products that go with modern architectural designs and have interchangeable seatbacks.

Whether it is quiet time with a good book that you are after or the conversations with loved ones, porch swings are great. Give it a go.


Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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