DIY Arbor Swing: How to Install Wood Beam Supports

We’re sharing step by step as we build a DIY arbor swing in a beautiful backyard! This is Step 7: how to install wood beam supports on an arbor or pergola.

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2×6 Wood Beam Supports on the DIY Swing Arbor

I designed this DIY swing arbor to use affordable and readily-available lumber, so the design uses primarily 2x redwood boards (like this DIY deck pergola tutorial) rather than thick square cedar beams like the rough lumber pergola I built.

The swing arbor mimics a pergola design – it’s anchored with thick 8×8 square posts, then the beams are 2×8 boards rather than square wood beams. A pair of 2×6 wood beam supports at each end (around the post) holds up the 4 arbor beams.

This is a great method to have a strong arbor or pergola structure without the extra expense and tools/skills needed to notch and trim thick timber beams like I did on the pergola. The size of the beam needed will vary depending on the beam span needed and wood species – for a single standalone porch swing arbor, the 2×6 wood support beams and 2×8 beams are sufficient to prevent sagging, but for the larger firepit pergola for swings, the thicker beams add extra strength (and also match the posts for a better design).

These wood beam supports also provide an attachment point for the wood brace corbels (not installed yet) – and they all look really nice together with the matching curved rafter tails!

Since this is an outdoor structure and not a home, we don’t have to worry too much about load-bearing support beams and other technicalities. Depending on the scale of your project, though, you may want to consult a structural engineer or contractor, or you may need a building permit or inspection.

How To Install Wood Beam Supports On DIY Swing Arbor Posts, Remodelaholic

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Wood Beam Support Install Supplies

In addition to the 2×6 beams (2 for each post), you’ll need

How to Install Wood Beam Supports on an Arbor or Pergola Post

Installing wood beam supports is integral to the strength of the structure, and thankfully also a pretty easy step in the DIY arbor swing process.

Once you’ve cut the wood beam supports to length (and cut a nice matching rafter end tail design!), follow these steps to install the wood beam supports.

Use A String Line To Level Wood Beam Supports, Diy Arbor Swing, Remodelaholic
using the string line level to place the second beam support correctly

Note: The video shows the process to install one beam support on each post. I later added a second wood beam support to each post (4 total supports). You can add both supports at the same time if you prefer – I prefer adding the second supports later to make it easier to level the rafters.

  1. Mark the center of the wood beam support, and mark a level line on the post at the height of the top or bottom of the beam support, plus mark the center of the post.
  2. Set the beam support in place and clamp it for temporary support. Adjust for level and center.
  3. Measure and mark where the 4 lag screws will be placed. Lining up bolts and screws is a sure way to have your project look more professional!
  4. Predrill the holes for the lag screws, then drive in the lag screws. I used 6-inch lag screws with wide flat heads for a nice finished look.
  5. On the second post, use a string line level to mark the height of top of the beam.
  6. Repeat the installation process for the second beam.
  7. The second supports on each post are added after the rafters (to make it simpler to level the rafters between the 2 points) following the same process. The lag screws need to be offset on the two opposite beam supports, so they don’t run into each other.

Stay tuned and subscribe to see how we set add the arbor rafters and purlins, stain the posts, and more – right up until the finished project reveal!

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How To Install 2x6 Wood Beam Supports For 2x8 Beams, DIY Arbor Swing Step By Step, Remodelaholic
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I am the husband of the amazing Cassity of Remodelaholic. I love to problem solve and to design and build things inside and outside the house to make life better. I am a professional Landscape Architect by trade and love the outdoors.

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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

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