DIY Clothesline Post Installation

DIY clotheslines have many advantages over a dryer machine for clothes drying. To start with, they save you money, but they also have zero greenhouse gas emissions, reduce wear and tear on fabric so your clothes last longer, eliminate static cling, and eliminate the noise, risk of fire and excess heat produced by a drying machine.

There are a number of different types of clothesline you can buy, like a rotary unit, or wall-mounted unit and even indoor clotheslines. The type most people are familiar with is the T-post outdoor clothesline, which uses lines strung between two upright posts. They are simple to set up once you have the posts in the ground, but how do you do the installation of the clothesline posts? Basically it is the same as setting a fence post.

What You’ll Need

Gather the following items: a shovel or fence post hole auger, wheelbarrow, cement mix, clothesline posts of wood or metal (or rotary clothesline), pulley and clothesline, and a carpenter’s level, try square or plumb bob. You can get clothesline T-posts online, at a department store, big box store, or even make your own from metal tubing.

The rotary style clothesline post is a sort of upside-down umbrella shaped metal contraption; some of them come with a ground insert that lets you remove the post when not in use, so you don’t have to look at it in your backyard for the rest of your life. The wheelbarrow is for hauling away the excess dirt from the holes and mixing the cement.


Pick a good location away from trees and away from heavy foot traffic areas and mark off the spot or spots you want the post(s) to go with a rock or stick. Some people use 2 posts and string the line between them, or you can use one post and attach the other end of the line to a tree or the exterior wall of the house.

Before you start digging, call the local utility companies and have them verify you won’t be digging into any gas, phone, electrical or cable lines. In colder climates where the ground freezes during winter months, you will need to dig the post holes to below the frost line; a depth of three feet is typically sufficient too avoid the posts being displaced due to frost heaves. Make the hole diameter about 8-12 inches.

Another thing to remember for the depth of the holes is that the depth will determine the height of the posts. You want the post tops to be a few inches above the head of whoever will be using it, unless they like stretching and getting sore necks and backs.

You can’t just dig a hole in the ground and shove a pole in, though. A wet load of laundry can get heavy and put a lot of strain on the post, which is you need to set it in concrete. You can use the same type of cement that is used for fence posts. Before you start putting the concrete in the hole, it helps to spray some water into it; dry soil will leach the moisture from the concrete and cause it to crack during drying.

Mix the cement to a good consistency, then fill your post hole about a third of the way up from the bottom. Now put the pole in the middle of the hole and have someone hold it in place while you fill the rest of the hole with cement mix. Check to make sure the post is at true vertical orientation, using the level, plumb bob or try square. Adjust the post as needed.

Let the cement dry for 24 hours, covering it loosely with some plastic tarp in case of rain. The next day you can install the pulleys and line and start hanging clothes.