Turning your backyard into your own hammock oasis
There are 1440 minutes in a 24 hour period and of those precious minutes how many of those minutes do you spend unwinding or just relaxing after a long day at the office, working as a day laborer or being a homemaker?
The perfect setting for kicking back and relaxing is in the hammock backyard and the best part is almost any yard will work.
How is that possible you say?
Let’s find out how!
First let’s tackle the 3 reasons you may think you can’t have a hammock in your backyard.
The first reason - My backyard is way too small for a hammock.
If you have approximately 11 feet X 4 feet (I just measured my hammock) then you have enough space for enjoying a hammock.
That is not a very big space, if you don’t have that you can still enjoy a hammock you just have to take it indoors! Yes you can and there are ways to do it that we will discuss a bit later!
So reason number one is covered so the next item of business is deciding which hammock, no worries we are getting to that just keep reading.
The second reason - The idea of a hammock sounds awesome but I don’t have any trees in my backyard.
That is a common misconception, people think the only way they can enjoy a hammock is by having a couple of trees, I blame advertising because whenever there is a hammock scene it is usually strung between two palms trees on a white sandy beach, come on now not everyone has access to a sandy beach or palm trees!
No trees? No beach? No problem… there are numerous ways to secure a hammock without any trees, let’s dive into some of those options.
A hammock stand – There are a plethora of hammock stand options that you can choose from whether it is wood, steel or a portable stand.
If you decide on the wooden option it is best to invest in a bamboo, spruce or cypress type wood that will stand up to the weather and last for many years, after all you are going to be mini vacationing in it for a long time! Bamboo is a renewable resource so if you are thinking Eco-friendly that would be a good choice!
If you invest in a steel stand be sure it is powder-coated so it doesn’t rust and collapse just when you are ready to fall asleep.
If you are getting your hammock and stand at the same time (usually the best value) you can get a hammock that will match the stand, if not it is wise to get a hammock stand that is adjustable so it will accommodate any hammock you select now or in the future.
Learn more about your hammock stand options here.
A support structure – You can use structures in your backyard like a pergola or the beams for your patio if you have one that is strong enough to support the weight of a hammock and it occupants.
Okay we have solved the no tree problem let’s move on to the next reason or NOT reason!
The third reason - All the conditions are right but I don’t know how to decide which hammock to get.
Deciding which hammock to invest in can be as much fun as lying in it, let’s investigate which one is best for you.
First let’s clear the air about this “best” thing… everyone is looking for everything that is the best, there is no such thing, what you should be thinking about is what is best for you and your needs!
There are a variety of different hammock types for a reason, no two people are alike when it comes to what they like, just look to the mattress industry for a clue, some like it soft, some like it firm, some like it in-between, so the industry tries to accommodates all those desires by offering different options.
The same is true with hammocks so rather than stress about deciding which one to get let’s break down what your options are:
Deciding on the hammock material
Oh boy there are a lot of different types of material used to make hammocks and the material is usually determined by the country of origin, as an example, hammocks from Brazil or Mexico are very popular and they are usually made of 100% soft cotton.
Speaking of cotton you can also get organic cotton if you are concerned about any toxic chemicals being next to your skin. Say what? Toxic chemicals? Yes… sad but true some cotton is treated with chemicals during the production process, this is not the case with organic cotton or cotton that clearing states it is chemical free.
There is also a synthetic material ( weatherproof HamacTex®)that has the look and feel of cotton but will not suffer from deterioration in the rain/sun like some cotton materials will.
Another type is polyester rope material that is used to make hammocks, the main advantage of this type they dry out very quickly from sweat (eeewww) or running to the pool and back (if you are lucky enough to have a pool).
The hammock type
When we speak of a hammock type what we are referring to whether you want a spreader bar hammock or a non spreader bar hammock not necessarily the material that is used to make it. No worries we are going to explain the difference between the two.
Spreader bar hammocks – You don’t have to be Captain Obvious to know what this is; it is referring to a hammock that features a spreader bar. Great but what the heck does a spreader bar do and why is it important to me?
The spreader bar separates the suspension cords that are weaved into the hammock on each end which in turn supports the hammock when it is secured to a tree, stand or other support structure.
If you are the type of person that likes to tan when you are on your hammock then you will enjoy this type of hammock because it is strung taut therefore there are no shadows to mess with your tanning process.
Learn more about spreader bar hammocks here.
Non spreader bar hammocks – Again this is a no brainer it is a hammock that doesn’t have a spreader bar, the advantage of this type of hammock is they will allow you to snuggle up and melt away into the hammock, also this type is least likely to tip over.
What the heck is that all about? Not to worry we will cover that subject matter later so read on.
Learn more about non spreader bar hammocks here.
The hammock size – This is a biggie, the last thing you want to do is invest in a beautiful hammock it arrives you are all giddy with excitement and then oh no you find it is too small for your needs!
So how do you decide which size to get? Simple decide how it is going to be used! Now I know you are thinking duh big stupid I know how it will be used I am going to lie in it and relax!
True but are you the only one going to be using it? If not what is the size of the other people in terms of height and weight? What is your height and weight? (Sorry not to be nosy but it is important)
Typically the hammocks come in sizes referred to as:
Single one person – Usually this type is designed to handle one person at a time so the only thing you need to calculate is your height/weight, look for the surface area measurement in the product description to find one that is long enough for your height, then match your weight capacity to the capacity of the hammock and viola you have a match!
Double, large or two person – As the title implies this type is designed for two people so like the single hammock you will need to determine the weight and height measurements of the people using it to select the proper one.
Family size, extra large or over size – Finally we have the giant hammock that will accommodate several people and maybe the family pet, however you still need to check the weight capacity before loading up the crew, I know it will require some math!
The hammock color – Wow the hammock colors are usually very bright, very bold and awesome so finding a color that appeals to your personality or backyard décor should not be a problem.
Learn more about the variety of hammock colors here.
The hammock accessories
As with most things in life there are the extras or add-ons the same is true with hammocks, however in some cases these add-ons are mandatory.
Oh so here is the fine print, get me all excited about the possibility of owning a hammock and now you are saying there are mandatory accessories?
Yes and here is the reason, most hammocks do not feature mounting hardware when you purchase one, the reason is there are so many different mounting options how is the hammock manufacturer going to know which one to include with the hammock?
Of course you could include all the different options but then the price of the hammock would go up and you would be spending money on mounting hardware that you would have no use for, so the hammock accessory category was created to accommodate your needs!
Having all the mounting options included with the hammock would be like ordering a pizza with all the available toppings on it and you have to pick off the ones you don’t want! Hmmm pizza I’m hungry now!
So how do I know which accessory I will need to hang my new hammock?
The best place to start is figuring out how it is going to be hung, if by two trees then there are specialized accessories for hanging a hammock using trees , even without damaging the trees!
The tree hanging hammock kits are adjustable so there is some leeway because the spacing of your two trees may not be perfect and the kit will help accommodate the difference.
If you are using a structure in your backyard like a pergola or patio beam then you will need mounting hardware that attaches to the post of the pergola there are hammock mounting kits designed for that as well.
Finally if you are using a hammock stand then the ideal system is an adjustable rope suspension design that is real easy to adjust if the need arises. Not everyone that uses the hammock may like the way it is set up so they can adjust to their liking.
Learn more about all the available hammock hanging kits here.
Let’s take this hammock project indoors
So you may have an apartment or condo that doesn’t have a backyard but fear not you can still enjoy the benefits of a hammock you will just have to take it indoors.
There are two options you can use, secure the hammock using a wall mounting kit designed for an indoor hammock in a spare room or use a hammock stand like those mentioned earlier.
Either way you will be able to take the hammock down when it is not in use so you are not wasting square footage in your living space.
Having a hammock indoors is great for kids or that unannounced overnight guest, especially if you don’t have a spare bed.
Speaking of kids let’s talk hammocks for children
There are hammocks designed specifically for children with their safety in mind, they are fun swings that can also double as a blanket if needed.
These are great for the sleep over and fort building out of bed sheets followed by spooky stories or a scary movie.
Now about that tipping thing we mentioned earlier
If you what a good laugh just go to YouTube and put in people falling out of hammocks and there will be pages of videos showing people trying to get into a hammock and their major fails.
There is no reason for these fails because getting into a hammock is really easy once you know the secret, in fact we created a blog post covering that subject.
So if you want to know how to get into a hammock without tipping over go here. There are also non tipping hammocks that make it much easier.
Wait a second UPS is at the door
So your hammock arrives at your front door, break out the champagne …okay maybe not that much excitement, however the next step is setting it up. Don’t worry we would not have taken you this far without a tutorial on how to hang a hammock.
If you are using a hammock stand that is easy and straightforward, likewise hanging it on a beam or pergola support is straightforward as well just use an adjustable mounting kit we mentioned earlier.
Hanging from two trees can be a little more challenging if you have never done it so rather try to explain which would be the same as trying to explain how to tie a shoe it is much easier to show with this video below.
Care and maintenance of your hammock
Depending on what type of hammock you invest in will determine how much if any maintenance will be required either way it is not that involved and mostly common sense.
If you have a hammock that is not made of a weatherproof material then it is not a bad idea to take it down if it is going to rain or if it is going to be in the direct sunlight all day long. If you happen to miss a time or two it doesn’t mean your hammock is going to fall apart.
If you have a spreader bar hammock it is wise to apply a waterproofing sealer to the bar at least once a year to protect the wood from drying out.
None of this maintenance is mandatory it just means you will be able to enjoy your hammock for many seasons the more you take care of it. The climate where you reside will also have a huge impact on how much care you need to give your hammock.
Now the final chapter - enjoying your hammock
There is nothing else to do at this point other than enjoy your hammock unless you want a pop quiz?