DIY Backyard Clothes Line

When Angela and I first saw the property which would become Hidden Truth Farms, one of the first things we did was mark out the area she wanted her clothes line. There is nothing more calming than laying down on a set of sheets that have been dried by the fresh country air. Well, 7 months later I finally had the chance to get to it! I sat down at the computer to scour the internet for the design my baby would be pleased with. Quickly I came across Ryan and Kristyn’s blog at This Natural Dream DIY Clothes Line Tutorial and I knew we had found the perfect one! I want to thank Ryan and Kristyn for allowing us to post about this on the HTF blog, I am good with about any tool you can think of, but sometimes the design part can be a little tricky for me.

This looks like a good spot!

We loaded up the crew and headed to Lowes with the material list Ryan provided hoping my phone didn’t go off telling me I had to head into the office (being on call is always nerve racking when you have project’s planned)

Material List:

Tools Needed:

Lets get to work!

Back at the homestead, we got everything laid out and ready to go.  The location we selected for the clothesline is on a bit of a decline, but right outside the door for the laundry room.  I wanted to make sure no one had to travel too far to get to it, so I felt this was definitely the best location for it.  I also had to take into account those who may be slightly vertically challenged to try and make sure no one had to use a stool to reach the line, so I did make a few slight adjustments.

Based off of the area we selected for the clothesline, we decided 20′ would be a perfect distance between the poles.  This would give us plenty of hanging space, plus room to easily get around it while tending to the grass.  Following Ryan’s suggestion, I measured out the 10′ 4×4’s to 8′-81/2″, when adding the cross beam, this would make the post 9′ tall.  Once those were cut, I cut each of the 8′ posts in half moving two of the 4′ pieces to the side.  These are going to be for our cross beam.  The other two 4′ pieces, I cut those in half again, giving me 4 2′ pieces, which will be used for the cross braces.

The first cut is done

Now comes the fun part, ANGLES!  These can be very tricky if you don’t take your time and measure multiple times prior to cutting.  One thing I have found out is sometimes the eyes see one thing but the brain registers something different.  The first cut I made was on the cross beam.  I always wondered what kind of cuts these were called, but thanks to Ryan I now know it is a chamfer cut.  To accomplish this, measure 2″ on the edge of the post, place your mark, them make a 45 degree cut with your miter saw.  They do have tools designed specifically for this, but the saw works just as good for this application.

The Champfer Cut!

Once this is completed, take your four 2′ cross braces we cut earlier and mark them for 45 degree cuts on each end.  This is where you can really go wrong if you are not careful.  To make sure you’re measurements are correct, lay your main post down and cross beam on top, then place the braces where they will be attached and visually check that you have the cuts going in the proper direction.  Once these are cut, it is time to begin assembling your clothesline!

Assembly Time

Looking at Ryan’s material’s list, he opted for 1/4″ galvanized lag bolts.  I tend to go a little over board with things so I chose to use the 3/8″ lag bolts for a little more security, and Lowes didn’t have 1/4″, but that is beside the point.  Attach your cross beam to your post by centering the beam on the post and drilling a guide hole for the lag bolt.

Make sure you go a size or two smaller than the bolt size to ensure a secure fit.  Now its time to attach your cross braces.  Lay your lag bolts out to make sure you know the proper distance and depth they need to go, drill your holes and get to wrenching!

I should have bought an adapter for the drill!

Next its time for the eye hooks.  Space the eye hooks 12″ apart, starting 6″ from the end of the cross beam.  Ensure you are centered on the beam for each one so everything is lines up straight.

Eye Hooks

You are done with the posts, now time for the real work to begin!  Apparently our homestead was once a graveyard for discarded rocks, boulders and gravel all mixed in with that wonderful Carolina Red Clay, which is why the ibuprofen is included on the Tools Needed list, because I sure did need it when I was done!  As I mentioned before, there is a slight decline in the ground from where one post is to the other.  I chose to dig one hole 3′ deep and the other 2′ to compensate for the elevation change.  With shovel and post hole digger in hand, I went to work!  I do some tournament bass fishing and some of the lakes we fish, you can have 2 bass that are 12″ long.  I don’t understand how small the fish can look when your holding them, but that last 12″ of clay / rock mixture I had to dig up seemed like it was 12′!

I really need to by an auger!

With the holes finally finished and heat exhaustion staved off, it was time to mix up the concrete.

80 lbs should do it

I went with the 80 lb bags of quickrete for this particular project.  I wanted to make sure these were never going to move……..ever!

Mixing is done

I did find out just as I was getting ready to mix the concrete my wheelbarrow tire had lost every bit of air.  Luckily I have a small air compressor to remedy that.  Except it appears my compressor has decided to take a break from making air at this particular moment.  Look’s like another project on the list of things to fix!  You ever try to move 80 lbs of mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow with a flat tire?  Oh it is all kinds of fun, but we managed to get pretty much all of it in the holes.  As you notice in the material’s list, scrap wood is mentioned.  In the event your post’s will not hold after you level them, you may need to attach the scrap to them to ensure they do not move.  Fortunately I didn’t have to do this with either of our post’s, but have it available just in case.

Angus has such a tough life!

While waiting for the concrete to harden, I wanted to add a couple personal touches to the clothesline.  No one want’s to have to bend over to get clothes out of the basket so I wanted to install a shelf to keep that from happening.  The largest clothes basket we have is 14″x14″, so I took a 2’x4’x8′ board, cut it into 4 20″ pieces to make the frame for the shelf.

Shelf frame

I then took an old pallet I had laying around and carefully removed the slat’s to make the top of the shelf. (And of course I kept the trusty throwing knife close at hand for that random zombie attack!)

We are all about re-purposing!

With the concrete dried, the shelf and hook for the clothes pins attached, it was time to string the clothes line.  I chose not to do two separate lines but instead to have one continuous line throughout the 8 eyes.  For me, this left two less points of failure in the event my knot tying skills were not up to par!  Also, I went with two 5/16″x9″ turnbuckles instead of the Aluminum Clothesline Tightener, this was more out of accessibility, but may be something I change too in the future.  Over the next few uses, I will have to go out and tighten the line up until I am able to work out all of the slack, but I know one thing, Angela is extremely excited and pleased with it, which for me, that is all that matters!


It took us about 6 hours total to complete this, at a cost of around $92, which we will make up for in energy savings in no time!  This is just another step towards the self-sustained life we dreamed of when we purchased our homestead, we are getting there one project at a time!  I again want to thank Ryan and Kristyn from This Natural Dream for allowing us to share this with ya’ll.  Make sure you subscribe to their blog for a lot of amazing Urban Homesteading and DIY ideas.  See ya’ll next time!

~ Brian

One thought on “DIY Backyard Clothes Line”

  1. That looks awesome Brian! Love the additions you made. The shelf has been a project on the back burner for us for a long time. You have inspired us to knock it out. Thank you all so much for the shout out!

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