Want a gigantic zipline in your backyard? We show you how to make a zipline launch pad platform up in the trees that is safe and sturdy. Using materials you can buy at the home center, we made one that is 9 feet tall and 175 feet long!
The concept behind this gigantic zip line is that I need to build a platform that is about 9 feet up in the trees as a launch pad. The zipline is built to match the sloping contour of the terrain out at the farm. The 9 feet was measured off of that information matched with the droop of the cable and the height of a grown adult hanging from the line. So, if you are considering making one of these for your backyard, take those dimensions into consideration.
I first began by doing a lot of research. After the treehouse build, I wanted to take the comments I got about some of the building methods and research their validity. Things like using nails instead of screws, the tree-attachment methods, and the lack of joist hangers all came together in the plan for this zipline platform. I chose to screw some ledger boards directly to the tree and build the frame on top of those. Using some pressure treated lumber, I built the frame on top of the two ledgers using strap hangers and structural screws. To add even more structural stability, I ran knee braces from the bottom of the platform to the tree trunk at 45 degree angles and secured them with more joist hangers.
Now that the platform was structurally sound, I could make it suitable for people. That means adding pressure treated decking boards across the joists, spaced 1/8″ apart and adding a safety railing all around the platform. The railing was supported by 4×4 posts and structural screws and consisted of pre-assembled deck railing panels from the home center. Of course, I added a space at the launch point so the zipliners can shoot off the side. After building a quick and easy 2×4 ladder, I was ready to install the actual zip line.
I have made a backyard zip line in the past, but it was made to fit the backyard we no longer have. The farm affords us the opportunity to make a really, really long zipline that should be way more fun. My intention is to make it 175 feet (53.3 meters) long and to do that, I had to get thicker cable to ensure a safe experience. After running the cable to a hardwood tree at the end, I used a cable puller to make the line as tight as the instructions mentioned. This time, I opted for a pre-made zipline kit that had the arrest break, the carriage, and some safety gear already in it. I didn’t have to DIY this bit, and to be honest, I was okay with that.
It is Strong, Safe, and Super Fun!
I am really happy with the new Super Sized Zipline and really confident in the strength of the platform. I took the information I learned from the treehouse (which is still holding strong) and a lot of private research, and was able to build with confidence. Now, this isn’t the last you’ll see of this zipline platform. I plan on making that area an entire tree fort village with linked platforms and rope ladders, so stay tuned!
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- Skil circular saw
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Countersink drill bits
- Classic steel ruler (cork backed)