My wife and I have a patio swing that was gifted to us about 7 years ago, when we moved in to our current home.
It sits right outside of the back sliding door, on our raised deck.
Using it is lovely. We’re surrounded by large trees, an army of birds chirping, and a good amount of privacy.
The structure of the swing has stayed mostly solid and rust free over the years. However, the cloth canopy and cushion to the swing were starting to look like this:
Gross! Pretty unsightly. Algal blooms? Mold? Definitely nothing you’d want to have any part of your body or clothing touching.
To make matters worse, the cloth canopy ripped to shreds this year, while I was trying to install it after pulling it from winter storage. All of the UV rays and repeated storms had done a number on it.
Replacement patio swing canopies averaged about $125 in price. And replacement cushions were as least as much as well. Also, size compatibility was going to be an issue.
Meanwhile, new swings could be hand for $250 on the low end ($500+ on the high end). So I could literally get a 100% new swing without the compatibility headaches for approximately the same amount as a replacement canopy and cushion.
The other option was to have someone try to sew together a new canopy and/or cushion cover for me. But I was doubting that this would be any cheaper in price.
Replacing the swing altogether seemed like the most reasonable option. However, you know how I struggle with consumer waste and throwing the perfectly functional ‘bones’ away wasn’t an appealing option.
Then it hit me!
Tarps have grommets. If I could find a tarp that was approximately the same size as the canopy frame, I could zip-tie it to the frame, through the grommets, like so:
So I took some measurements (4′ x 7′) and hit up Lowe’s, while doing a kitchen renovation run.
The closest tarp size I could find was for a Homax (outstanding company name, btw) “SofTarp“, in a 5′ x 7′ size, for just over $7. This would work, because I could fold over the extra 1 foot underneath the frame and zip-tie it down.
Canopy problem solved.
But I still had the nasty-ass cushion issue. Until I unpackaged the Homax, that is. This SofTarp is basically a waterproof tarp on one side (the ground side) and a soft fabric material on the other side. I would use the tarp side up as a canopy and could simply purchase another one and flip it over to make a cushion cover out of it, which I could also zip-tie down to the swing frame and use as a cushion cover.
I hit up Lowe’s a second time and purchased a second Softarp. Perfect fit! I then zip-tied it down. And the result is this (happy dog to the right included):
Super soft, comfortable, and looks great!
Canopy problem? Solved (with added durability and waterproof functionality)
Nasty cushion problem? Solved (with added durability, waterproof, and washable functionality)
Waste problem? Solved – nothing but the torn-up old canopy ended up in a landfill.
And the total package looks way better than it ever did originally.
Total project time: 5 minutes.
Total cost: $15.
Total savings: $235+
Maybe a few of you will actually benefit from being able to repeat this project (which would be sweet), but I wanted to highlight this project primarily for another reason – it shows how a little DIY creativity and stepping outside of the normal purchase->replace mindset can help you save a ton of money. And make you feel like a modern-day MacGyver. And who wouldn’t want that?
postscript: CBS has all MacGyver episodes, in their entirety on YouTube for free, if you need some DIY super power inspiration.