My Beloved Garden Swing Takes a Hit

Our bedroom has the best view from the house thanks to a sliding glass door that runs the width of the room. Looking out into the garden is a great way to start my day. We have a tiny fountain on the patio, a hummingbird feeder nearby, trees, flowers and my beloved garden swing.

Re-covered Garden Swing

Re-covered Garden Swing

My family gave me the swing for Mother’s Day several years ago, something I’ve always longed for.  It’s lovely sitting there in the evenings with my husband or one of the cats. When my boys were younger, they would sit with me too.

The metal frame of the swing held up nicely, but the cushions took a beating from their time in the sun.  A few years ago I made a slip cover, giving it a fresh new look. I spent a fair amount of time at the fabric store, mulling over my choices, and figuring out a pattern in my head. The swing went from a weathered, tan-colored seat to a bright floral.

I bought the outdoor upholstery fabric on sale, along with piping cord and elastic to hold the cover in place. Using a coordinating fabric, I made strips of pink bias to trim the skirt and to pipe the edges.

garden swing cover

In other words, this wasn’t just any old swing cover.

When my eyes swept the landscape early yesterday morning, I noticed the swing cover folded back.  My mind couldn’t quite make sense of this, since I tie the corners securely with neat little bows.

garden swing damage

What happened here?

I investigated and found this:

damaged cording, exposed batting

This is the soft center they were after

To my dismay, a critter with determination and sharp teeth chewed through the ties and the trim in order to get to the soft cord inside. How could they have known it was there? The entire corner of the cover is toast.

left cover

The left corner…

right corner cover

…and the right corner.

I know there’s a lesson here, because that’s what is often said about life. Am I right? I’m just too dismayed at the moment to figure that out.

17 thoughts on “My Beloved Garden Swing Takes a Hit

  1. Wow! I wonder what critter did this. It could be a bird. If they pecked at it and found the soft center; they would have just kept working it! Pretty unbelievable. Too bad you didn’t catch someone in the act.


  2. OH NO!! Could it be a rat? I know first hand they do things like that to reline their breeding nests. They have sharp little gnawing teeth to get at any soft centre they want. Oh Alys, you must be so upset at seeing this – especially after all the thought and creative energy that went into making the cover. These wild critters just don’t appreciate our finer creative endeavours!

    On the plus side reading about your lovely bedroom door and the view you can enjoy from it adds to my ability to see you in your home and garden. What a joy!

    When your shock and disappointment has past you will just have to put your creative hat back on and find a way to repair the damage. Though I should wait if I was you until the mystery creature has finished stealing your soft inners. Mike and the boys may have to take turns standing night watch to identify and hopefully deter the pesky critter – Now that would make for some interesting stories 🙂


    • Hi Pauline!

      I suspect you’re right about the rat. I didn’t know about them relining their nest, but I know they’re prolific reproducers. They frequent our orange tree after dusk on the other side of the garden, but I’m sure a little jaunt along the fence line may have lead to further exploration. It’s strange that they suddenly took an interest. Now I’m regretting removing the laundry lint as they may have used that instead. Too late now!

      You know it’s interesting what you say about picturing me in my bedroom, because I find myself doing the same as I get to know different bloggers. I really enjoyed your remodel post, in part for your creativity which I always enjoy, put also to get a broader glimpse into your world. I love that.

      Good point about taking the wait and see approach. I can see by the photos that the cover has faded, but that’s too be expected. Ironically, I had left over material, but used it to cover a damaged screen.

      I wonder if they’ll keep coming back…or worse, tell their friends?

      I’ll see if Mike and the boys want to take up watch. I’ll report back. 😉

      You think of everything! xox


  3. What a shame – it was such a pretty cover, and all that work that went in to it. It was possibly mice Alys… they damaged our sun shade one year and we had to have new fabric. We put our hammocks and garden cushions inside overnight now!


    • Thanks for the moral support, Cathy.

      I’m sorry to hear your sun shade suffered a similar fate. Rodents have incredibly sharp teeth, don’t they? I admire your dedication to bringing in your cushions every night. I’ll have to give this some more thought. It’s hard to want to sew a new cover, only to have it gnawed again. It’s a dilemma. I’ll keep you posted.


  4. Maybe if Talia and William stopped feeding the squirrels they’d think less of your backyards as thier home. Every animal under the sun has everything they need in your backyard and theirs. Didn’t you create a pouch full of cloth and fluff for squirrels and birds to use in making thier beds? Maybe if you leave fluff out on the grass, they’ll stop having to work for it. If I were them, I’d never leave your backyard – it’s the perfect home for people and animals alike.


    • You are so right, Nichole! It turns out that it was a squirrel. They’ve got nests in the orange tree and the pine tree and plenty to eat in B’s back yard. I used to have laundry lint, but then read that it wasn’t good for nesting birds (it mats when wet). So I took it down, and within weeks, this. I’m going to explore the option of natural nesting materials. Then I’ll find a sewing day and a plan B and will make another cover.


    • I’m going to have to explore other options, that is for sure. It was too much work to see it destroyed like this. Next time I will not use what I’m guessing now was wool piping. Though what I now know is a squirrel chewed through the fabric, she was interested in the wool cord underneath. I may also purchase some decoy materials for nesting so that they leave my cover alone.


    • I know, right!? Oh well. I’ve said it before: we’ve encroached so much on their territory, it’s only understandable that they have to bump into our gardens and yards to keep things humming along.


  5. Pingback: Decoy Pumpkin Fail | Gardening Nirvana

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