A porch, also known as a portico is a sheltered area attached to the external part of a building, in most cases a home.
Traditionally, a porch conjures images of a shaded area attached to the front side of the house where family and friends can gather, which offers an area for relaxation while also protecting occupants from the elements.
Today, however, a porch can also be at the back of the house or to the side depending on the architecture of the house. A porch could also be part of the house as is the case with a sunroom.
Detached structures adjacent to the house or detached from the main structure of the house are also considered porches provided they have the basic structure which is a functional sitting area along with a covering or a shade that shields occupants from the rain and sun.
Placing a swing on your porch is an excellent idea if you have children and since nothing stops you from enjoying the merriment of swinging, it could also offer much-needed fun and relaxation for the rest of the family as well.
In order to construct a swing on your porch, however, you must have sufficient space to accommodate the full movement back and forth that a swing has. You must also take into account that it will be occupied while in use so there is the question of leg room.
People, pets, and furniture may also be present around the swing so all these need room without squeezing up your porch and making it appear cluttered.
How much room do you need for a porch swing?
There is no standard size of a porch since there is no standard size of a home which is generally what informs the size and type of porch to have. On average most porches however will have a depth of approximately eight to ten feet. This is the distance from the edge of the porch to the wall of the house.
The width could vary that much more. While you may put up a swing on this size of the porch, it will be a tight fit and you may need to construct a small swing if this size of porch is what you are working with.
For this space, a swing with a total height of four to six feet should fit well with a seven-foot swing beginning to appear massive in this space. The width of the swing or the sitting allowance will in this case be determined by the width of the porch. As long the width can accommodate it comfortably, you can construct a swing for two or more people.
As a general rule, if you wish to have a swing that can seat more than two people, then the seat should be divided up into individual swing seats to distribute the downward weight the swing will exert on the horizontal bar at the top.
Any swing that accommodates more than two participants at a go should preferably be constructed on an open space directly on the ground to offer better function overall.
The Type of Porch
This is particularly important if you want to install or construct a swing set on your porch. As mentioned earlier, there are a few kinds of porches and some may not accommodate a swing from an aesthetic perspective.
A swing is not a simple piece of equipment that you can move around like a vase if it is not agreeing with the general look of your porch. Its size and purpose mean that it will basically become the centerpiece of the porch once you have finished it so it should be considered carefully.
The traditionally recognizable front porch, covered or open is an excellent place for a swing and the open construction of the porch allows the swing to fit comfortably from a visual perspective without appearing to crowd the space. The bigger the porch the bigger the swing set it can accommodate.
A closed porch is a different matter. In the case of a sunroom, for instance, the porch is completely walled in many cases using glass or transparent windows. While it allows you to feel the outside, it is essentially a room and a swing set will feel claustrophobic in such a space. A sunroom is functionally and aesthetically ill-fitting for a swing set.
Type of Swing
There are so many types of swings and no standard for their categorization but in general, their construction should inform which type of swing best fits your porch.
The Stand-Alone Swing Set
This is the most common type of swing available and is a favorite since it needs no additional work done on it if you buy it as it is. Simply put together the separate parts and it is ready for play.
It comes with upside-down V-shaped support that is stable and reliable and requires no further reinforcement. You can move them about but their weight makes it impractical to do so often.
The Suspended Swing Set
To install this one, a handyman is needed since they must be secured to the roof of your porch. They are not moveable from one position to another and visually, they are imposing so these need a spacious porch even more than the stand-alone swing set.
Aesthetically, however, they are the most inviting and are very attractive on your porch.
This is the most popular outdoor swing and most homes have one because it occupies little space. Since it can be propped up anywhere, it is the most versatile of all the swings. It is also light in weight and foldable.
The rattan is basically an egg-shaped cocoon-like structure that has an open side and suspends itself on a stand that comes with it. There are some that can be suspended from the roof but this beats the purpose of its mobility. This swing is the epitome of cute, fun, and functional. Space is not a major concern with this swing.