Flower swag created with rope

Manila rope – a rosy option for your rose swag

Looking to add a floral swag to your garden? Perhaps one featuring a stunning rose? Or colourful clematis? Or wisteria? The good news is, they’re pretty easy to make.

In fact, for most people, the trickiest part of the job is choosing a rope!

To successfully support a climbing plant, it needs to be strong yet flexible, aesthetically pleasing yet durable, supportive but not too structural and suitable for long-term outdoor use. That’s a lot of boxes to tick. And with so many synthetic and natural options available, it’s easy to become confused and unsure of your decision.

So what is the best rope for a flower swag?

Manila rope - recommended for making a rose swag

A few rope materials successfully meet the criteria. But a popular choice with our previous customers – and one of our top recommendations for this type of project – is manila rope. Here we explore why it’s the perfect option to add to your swag bag.


5 reasons to choose manila rope for your flower swag


  1. A natural choice

In more ways than one.

Manila rope is made from 100% natural fibres, taken from the abacá plant.

For a start, this means it’s environmentally friendly and will only ever deposit biodegradable fibres into your garden’s soil. But it also means it’s soft enough to be gentle on delicate climber stems – whilst still providing an adequate level of support for growth.

Plus, its traditional aesthetic will nicely complement your flowers and any timberwork.


  1. Surprisingly tough

Manila may be 100% natural, but it’s still very durable and hard-wearing.

It’s certainly tough enough for prolonged outdoor use.

Due to the natural oils found in its fibres – unlike other natural ropes – manila is resistant to UV rays, abrasion and water. Use it to create an outdoor rose swag here in the UK (i.e. subject it to continuous harsh weather conditions) and it will easily maintain its integrity for many years.

It can successfully withstand the elements and demonstrates very little stretch when wet.


  1. Strong enough to be supportive

This is an inherently strong rope fibre.

Providing you choose the right size for your need, a manila rope will successfully support the weight of your climbing plant (even in wet conditions) – allowing you to train the stems along its length, encourage growth and create the desired ‘swag’ shape without risk of any sagging.


Rose swags made using our manila rope


  1. Easy to work with

Despite its strength, manila is both soft-to-touch and flexible.

This makes it incredibly easy to handle the rope – and even if you’ve never made a flower swag before, most people find it quick and easy to create the ‘swag structure’ and get started.

Manila also demonstrates excellent knot retention, particularly when it gets wet.

As the fibres are natural, they shrink in wet or damp conditions. This is something to keep in mind when buying your rope, as you’ll need to add a little extra to the length – but it does have one key advantage. It means the knots become much tighter and more difficult to untie, meaning they’re less likely to loosen or slip.


  1. Affordable

Manila is one of the most cost-effective garden ropes available.

Here at RopesDirect, it’s cheaper to buy (by the metre) than many other natural and synthetic options that are suitable for outdoor use (e.g. synthetic hemp and flax hemp). Making it a fantastic choice for anyone looking to create an effective floral feature on a limited budget.


Not sold on manila rope?

It comes highly recommended by our in-house experts and previous customers. But whether you’d prefer something a little more robust or would like to add an extra pop of colour to your garden, there are several alternatives which also tick the right boxes for use as a rose swag:


Our ultimate best-seller. It has a soft texture and natural hemp appearance. But as it’s made from synthetic polypropylene fibres, it’s one of the hardiest options available for prolonged outdoor use – fully weatherproof, incredibly hardwearing and highly resistant to UV rays.


A hybrid option that offers the best of both worlds.

Our jute rope boasts a natural jute outer that’s soft-to-touch, comfortable to handle and has a stunning rustic finish. But thanks to the addition of a polypropylene core, it’s also very strong and demonstrates excellent resistance to heat, sunlight and general wear and tear.


A colourful, luxurious alternative.

PolySilk comes in seven vibrant shades – including red, purple, white, black, silver grey, navy and pink – to complement the colours in your climbing plant, and is a great way to inject a touch of personality into your garden. But as it’s made from polypropylene, it’s still tough enough to withstand the elements and will hold up well in the face of prolonged outdoor conditions.


Alternative ropes for making a floral swag


What diameter and length will I need for my floral swag?

The ideal diameter will depend on several factors, including the type and size of the climbing plant you have chosen, the size of the posts and the look you’re hoping to achieve. But for most home garden flower swags, we’d recommend a minimum of 24mm.

Similarly, the ideal length of rope will depend on the specifics of your project.

We advise measuring the distance between the two posts, then adding roughly 3-5% extra to create the ‘swag’ shape – plus a further 40-50cm for each knot you intend to tie in the rope.

It’s also important to remember that natural ropes are prone to shrinkage when they get wet. So if you do choose manila rope for your floral swag, or any other natural option, it’s worth adding a minimum of 10-15% extra to the overall length.


Got a question?

Whether you’d like to find out more about the manila rope available in our store, or are still unsure which is the best option for your flower swag, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Just send a message via our online form and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

And keep in mind, if you do have a go at making a floral garden feature – rose swag or otherwise – with our manila rope, we’d love to see the results. Feel free to tag us in your photos on social media using @RopesDirect. Or for a chance to feature in our blog, send them to info@ropesdirect.co.uk and we’ll be in touch.


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