How to build your own amazing backyard zip line
A backyard zip line is the perfect addition to any yard, but there are a few tips and tricks to make it totally awesome for kids and adults alike. So, let’s get started!
So, we have a huge ugly stump on the edge of our yard (long story). Instead of spending hundred of dollars getting rid of it, we decided to use it to make our own backyard zip line. It turned out even better than I thought, thanks so to my husband. Here’s how to make your own.
#1: Gather your backyard zip line supplies
There are some essential supplies that you’ll need to buy in order to make a high-quality zip line that will last.
- Zip line trolley kit (carabiner and dual pulley)
- 1/4″ galvanized cable (at least 125 feet)
- Seat (we made our own seat out of Trex deck board)
- Slackline and ratchet
- Wire rope clamp
- Extra carabiners and rope
We bought individual supplies for our zip line but depending on where you are setting up your zip line, you can also buy a zip line kit that includes everything you need.
#2: Set up your wire cable
We attached the highest point of our zip line to the top of our tree stump in our backyard. My husband sawed some grooves into the tree stump. Then he wrapped the end of the 125-foot cable around the stump and then over the top.
Then, we attached a wire clip to the cable to secure it tightly in place.
Once our wire cable was in place, it hung at its highest point at about 9 feet in the air. If you don’t have a tree to attach your zip line, you can also build your own anchors. I found this really helpful video that explains how to do that.
#3: Secure opposite end of cable
We attached the opposite end of the cable to an apricot tree on the other side of our backyard using a giant slackline ratchet. We doubled up a strap from an old tie down and fed it through the ratchet until it was super tight.
If you’re wrapping the slackline strap around a tree, make sure you put the tree protector around the tree first. It will protect the tree and make your zip line last a lot longer. And make sure it is a strong section of tree. If it’s a dead branch, it will break off under the pressure. We learned that the hard way.
The end of the zipline cable ended up being about 5 1/2 feet above the ground. It took a little bit of adjusting to make the cable at the right height and tautness.
#4: Add the trolley and seat
You can buy a seat online or you can make your own. We decided to make our own. We got a free scrap of Trex deck board from the hardware store and used that for a seat.
First, place the dual trolley on the cable, then add the carabiner below that. Then, tie a rope onto the carabiner. You can add one or two additional carabiners to the rope below that and then wrap or unwrap the rope around the carabiner depending on the height of the person riding the zipline. Finally, add the seat and an additional rope (see the image above).
#5 Install a break (optional)
If your zip line is really fast, you may want to add a break at the bottom. You can buy a spring zip line brake or you can make your own. My husband designed a makeshift brake from the same material we used from the seat. We attached the board to the cable below the trolley and then attached that to an adjacent branch on the tree using a rope. It worked great.
The thing I love best about our backyard zip line is that adults can use it, not just kids. My kids ride our zip line over and over. It’s one of the best parts about our backyard.
If little kids are too scared to ride the zip line from the top, we just set them on the seat at the bottom and pull them up as far as they want to go. It’s perfect!
Here’s a fun video I made when our family came over and tried out our zipline.
What other ideas do you have for making a zip line for your backyard? Leave your comments below.
Related link: 17 easy backyard ideas for your kids