DIY Outdoor Clothesline Simple Farmhouse Style

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When you think farmhouse, what is the first picture that pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with dry clothes and linens gently blowing in the breeze? That’s what I always envisioned when thinking of our future farmhouse. A garden just off to the side of the house, chickens wandering about the yard in search of fat worms, and all the freshly clean clothes drying in the warm summer wind. 

When you think farmhouse, what pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze?

When we purchased our farmhouse, one of the first things I asked for was a dreamy white clothesline. 

We were here for just shy of three months when one evening as we walked the yard after dinner I asked my husband if, for my birthday, he could make me my very own clothesline as a gift. My country clothes line beside my country house. I found some free plans (which he altered because he always does), and off he went to the store to purchase the necessary items. 

And it turned out perfect. 

The simple wooden frame is one I picture the original mother who tended this house 100 years ago hanging her family members laundry on. We learned her husband was the towns postal worker, and together they built this house and she raised their 8 children in it. 

Of course, they didn’t have a traditional washing machine, and for modern inventions I am truly grateful. But there’s just nothing like the smell of line dried clothes. It brings back the feel of a simpler time. I think watching clothes sway in the breeze is akin to free therapy. Its so soothing and a great way to stay relaxed. Don’t believe me? Try it some time and be sure to let me know. 

Outdoor clothesline materials used: 

Power tools needed:

  • Electric drill
  • Auger
  • Chop saw

A trip to the hardware store and you’ll be able to purchase most of these the same day to get started. This doesn’t require a huge in-depth tutorial. The longest part of the process is waiting for the concrete to dry. With these general guidelines you could easily assemble the clothesline in a weekend. 

Where to place the clothesline 

I wanted the clothesline next to the back door that was closest to the laundry room. For our house, this is the door that exits the kids’ playroom/homeschool room. It felt like a good spot that was close to the house and a room I’m often in mid-day, making it easy to gather and put out more clothes as needed, keeping my laundry routine streamlined. 

We decided to make the clothesline 20 feet long, and 6′ tall, which is plenty of room to hold a full load of laundry. That seemed to be the perfect length to keep the lines taut, and height to keep clothes from touching the ground. Any longer and the lines begin to sag, and tightening can actually pull the posts toward each other, causing them to lean. It’s the sweet spot in size to offer lots of space for clothes, towels, and linens. If you have limited space and need to make it smaller, that will work as well! 

Making the holes and pouring concrete

Our soil here is clay, and it’s compacted so hard that a post hole digger isn’t a great option for us. Instead, we use this auger for making holes. It’s been a game changer and time saver for all our projects around the farm. We even use it to dig the holes to plant our orchard trees and my rose bushes!

Because of the probability of high winds throughout it’s lifetime, and heavy items like the weight of a wet, full load of laundry, you want to make sure the posts are in the ground deep and secured well with concrete. 

We placed our clothesline on a small sloping hill, so one of our post holes had to be a bit deeper than the other to help accommodate for the elevation change. Travis is the king of making things strong enough to last until the end of time, so each of our posts was placed an average of 4′ into the ground. We used one and a half bags of concrete for each side. Using spare pieces of wood, support your main post by screwing temporary smaller leaning support pieces into the sides while pouring and as the concrete dries. Allow 24 hours to cure before moving on to the next steps. 

Making memories incased in concrete 

If you are sappy like me and want to create memories to pass down, we framed a square around each post for the concrete to form around the bottom, which keeps the post above ground level, meaning the post bottom won’t rot out over time. When we did this, we all each took a hand and made a print in the concrete with our names to commemorate the addition and add our piece of history to the farm and land. I get to look at it each time I use the clothesline. 

It will be bittersweet seeing my kids tiny hand prints there while I get to watch them grow, knowing it was such a short little piece of time. And one day, when they are grown and have kids of their own, I envision my grandchildren placing their little hands in their parents prints, wondering in awe at the fact that not so very long ago, their mommy or daddy was as small as they are now. 

When you think farmhouse, what pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze?

Look at me over here sharing a tutorial and getting all watery eyes thinking of the past and future all at once. 

But I digress. Back to it. 

How to assemble & dimensions 

When you think farmhouse, what pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze?

We placed the posts in the ground first and trued them together to ensure they were straight. After the concrete cured we took a line level and made sure the tops were level to each other. Once level, attach the top horizontal board and side supports. 

We cut the horizontal cross boards to be 4′ in length. 

The cross members that support the horizontal boards were cut to 23″ in length, with 45-degree angles on each side. 

We pre-drilled pilot holes for the eye bolts and attached them to make assembly easier. Make sure to space eye bolts identically on both horizontal boards. Measuring is key here to the lines looking straight when clothesline is assembled. 

I’ve seen the top horizontal boards be notched and also not, but I liked the look of the puzzle fit notched assembly. Plus, it provides the clothesline with a bit more strength. 

We glued the horizontal board to the upright post mainly to make it watertight. You can also glue the side supports for added strength and waterproof. 

Once posts are complete, assemble wire using the clothesline kit materials mentioned above. 

Attaching the wire

Loop and connect one side of wire using the rope thimbles and the wire cable clamps, make your first end and attach to one side of the clothesline. This will be the non-adjusting side. 

Now take the opposite end with thimble and clamp and attach to other post. Then, with turnbuckles open, pull wires as tight as possible, then clamp down using the wire clamps. You may need assistance with this part to keep the wire tights while clamping down. 

Hang clothes and enjoy! 

These old-school clothes pins are my favorite and go so well with this farmhouse style clothesline.

When you think farmhouse, what pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze?

A tie to the old ways

It brings me such joy to pin up my clothes to the line. It reminds me of my grandma Judy, who would always hang everything outside to dry. (And I mean everything. From the sheets to her skivvies.) She said the dryer was a waist of time and everything smelled better line dried. 

​Sun Bleaching 

And if you have a problem keeping white clothes and sheets white, a good option is to hang them on the line on a blue sky day and the sun will naturally bleach your whites and make them bright again. I always use to hang my stained baby cloth diapers at our first house and the stains never stuck! 

Note: Your kids may get all kinds of inspiration and confiscate the clothesline like mine last weekend and use it to make a huge tent. Be prepared.

When you think farmhouse, what pops into your head? Is it a clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze?

Now you’re ready for my favorite part: 

On a sunny day you get to enjoy the fresh smell of drying clothes, gather them from the lines in large flower baskets, all while sipping tea from your favorite mason jar as the chickens work their way across the grass. You’ll be saving on your electric bill, and it didn’t cost a ton of money to make. Plus, with how well build your nice sturdy clothesline is, you’ll be able to recreate this moment daily for years go come. What a wonderful idea to this about. 

Want to see my dreamy clothesline in action? Make sure you’re following along on Instagram where I share all the farm happenings in real-time.

When you think farmhouse, what pops into your head? Is it a white clothesline with linens gently blowing in the breeze?

Share away friends!

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