If you are wanting to create an oasis of relaxation in your backyard garden furniture is a good start, but if you truly want to portray a relaxed and inviting setting then you can’t go past a hammock gently swaying in the breeze.
Nothing says ‘relax’ better than a gently swinging hammock and a little time in one is sure to help lighten any stress or worry from the day.
Whether this is between your two favourite trees in your backyard, or from a free standing frame on your deck there are many options to enjoy and enhance your outdoor living spaces.
Which hammock should you select
- Traditional hammock; Nothing quite instils that feeling of tranquility like a traditional Mexican hammock. The instantly recognisable banana shape curve hanging between trees or posts always brings a great reaction from guests. It’s a big sign that basically says ‘hey, grab a drink a book and come over here, take a load off, I’ll look after you!’ You’ll often hear children exclaim ‘wow, they have a hammock, can we have a turn?’ Mexican hammocks are a great option for garden hammocks for many reasons including being one of the most comfortable hammocks in the world. Handwoven in a unique diamond pattern with many many cords they support and cradle your whole body. The high number of body and suspension cords is a factor in the ability of Mexican hammocks to support much higher weights than other types of hammocks. Your weight is evenly distributed across the whole hammock meaning you don’t have any pressure points and can relax for hours on end without getting any sore body parts! The open weave pattern is very small, so the cords will not dig into your skin like cheaper rope hammocks while also providing the benefit of allowing air to circulate around your body, preventing overheating and sweating. The most comfortable Mexican hammocks are made from cotton cord, with nylon support arms for greater strength and durability. With these style of hammocks, the best and most comfortable way to lie in them is at an angle across the hammock allowing the hammock material to spreader out under you. Due to the natural cotton, these hammocks do require protection from the elements when not in use to really get the best longevity out of them. Well care for Mexican hammocks have been known to last anywhere from 10-20 years. But leave them outside all year round and that might be as long as they last.
- Resort style hammock; Just like those pictures on the travel ads for Fiji! Open and inviting, resort style hammocks can really enhance the decor of your outdoor area. While a traditional hammock may be off to the side or under some trees, the attractive design and look of the resort style hammocks make a great option for a centrepiece. Very visually appealing these hammocks are a great option for purpose built pergolas and palapas, covered decks or in gardens. Some people worry about flipping out in these types of hammocks, but really all it takes is a little bit of care to enter and exit. Simply sit back into the centre of the hammock, let it take your weight and then swing your legs around onto the hammock and recline! Suitable for hanging from stands or trees/posts. Sometimes referred to as spreader bar hammocks or North American hammocks, these hammocks come with a wooden spreader bar at each end to keep the woven body of the hammock open and inviting. Our Mexican resort hammocks are woven in the same method as our traditional hammocks but come in a thicker grade of material, still providing the same great comfort.
- Chair hammocks; If you want the same comfort and feeling of relaxation of a full-size hammock but are short on space then a chair hammock is a perfect option. Quick and easy to hang from a single fixed overhead point, whether a tree branch or beam there are many options to hang your hammock chair. Chair hammocks work well in gardens hanging from tree branches and can encourage you to use and enjoy parts of your garden you might not normally spend time in. If you are limited on space or in an apartment they work well in balconies, either from an overhead hanging fixture or using a free standing metal stand. If you have a covered outdoor area with overhead beams a chair hammock is a great option. You could even hang a couple and enjoy chilling out with a friend. They are a nice social option as you can sit upright and more easily carry on with conversations around you. Even on a wet day it really is a lovely experience gently swaying in you chair hammock from cover while watching the rain come down. Our Mexican chair hammocks are an XL size so you can either enjoy them sitting up, or recline back fully with you feet stretched out.
- Colours; While natural white is a lovely neutral colour and looks great, there are many other colour options for a hammock. From natural greens and blue, through to two tone or multiple colour variations. Hammock colours can really allow you express yourself with some bright colours and funky designs. Or should you wish to maintain a similar decor with your home and garden then you can choose something to compliment your colour scheme. Our range of Mexican hammocks come in many different colour variations, from out set of 12 popular colours options through to unique ‘one off’ colour combinations woven by skilled crafts-person weavers.
- Material; Often various hammocks will come in a range of different materials. Each will have its own benefits and some will suit your needs better than others. For pure comfort, cotton is always the best choice. A lovely soft feel to the touch and on your skin. It stretches and molds to your body shape the best. Other materials include synthetic material such as nylon. This has the benefit of slightly better durability in that it is quick drying and can resist the elements better. Nylon hammocks do have a firmer feel than cotton hammocks and while still very comfortable will not have the same degree of stretch and comfort. Both types of hammocks will still wear down with constant exposure to the elements but will respond well to being well cared for and being kept inside when not in use.
Incorporating a hammock into your outdoor living space
- Pagoda, Pergola or Palapa; why not improve an already attractive looking outdoor feature of your home by adding hammock fixings and a hammock. You’ve got shelter and shade and with installed hanging hooks it’s simply a matter of hooking up then un-hooking and putting your hammock inside when you are done. These can work well for resort, chair and traditional hammocks.
- Tree planting; this is a bit of a longer term solution, but pick out a couple of attractive, strong and fast growing trees at your local garden store and plant 4.5m apart. Give it a few years and you have your own home grown hammock supports. If you already have established trees in your garden, then just check which ones look strong enough and are well spaced apart. For Mexican hammocks you need approx 4m of space as this will give you a good hang shape and allow room for adjustment as your wear in your hammock and the material stretches. If using trees, look for some tree friendly hanging options such as tree straps and take them down at the end of the season so they don’t damage your trees. Always take care to ensure your tree is strong and healthy. Never hang your hammock from a dead or rotten tree for obvious safety reasons.
- Decking; the classic Kiwi deck is one of the best places to enjoy and setup a hammock. With good indoor/outdoor flow the fridge isn’t too far away! If you have a covered deck you may already have posts set in place or overhead beams you can hang from. Alternatively decks are a great option for hammock stands. A solid steel or wood stand can stay outside all summer and you can bring you hammock in and out whenever you are using it. Many stands like our arc and curved shaped stands are very attractive features in themselves and can really improve the look of your deck space. A quality stand and hammock well setup can even help your chances of a home sale should you be on the market as it portrays that great outdoor relaxed lifestyle feel.
- BBQ area and Bar; Hammock chairs are a fantastic unique and very comfortable option for outdoor bbq areas and home bars. An outdoor (or indoor) horse shoe shaped bar surrounded by hanging hammock chairs is about as good as it gets! Just imagine gently hanging around with a fine beer and good company. Hammocks and chair hammocks can also provide extra seating when you have guests and keep the kids entertained while you fire up the barbie!
- Poolside; Poolside hammocks are one of life’s true luxuries! Recline, relax, swim, repeat. Setting up a hammock poolside can be achieved through using a hammock stand or if you want to get really fancy you can incorporate hammock posts into your pool when you are having it built. You could even create a shallow area from where you can climb direct into the hammock from the water and hang your feet in while you relax.
How to hang a hammock in your outdoor setting
Trees/Posts/Beams; if you are hanging from any of these options then tree straps or rope are a good convenient option. Tree straps simply wrap around the tree or post locking themselves in place with your weight and come with ‘s’ shaped hooks from which your hammock loop ends attach to. This makes it quick and easy to put up and take down your hammock. You can leave your rope or tree straps in place also for the next use. Just don’t leave them so long that they start digging into a growing tree.
Other options for posts and beams are installing fixed hook systems. Such as screw eye hooks from which you can then attach ‘s’ hooks or rope between them and hammock ends. These make for a very solid long term hanging solution. When hanging this way it’s always between to go a little further apart and higher than you need and make up the distance with rope so as to give space to adjust the hanging shape or your hammock. Cotton hammocks will also stretch with use so having space to adjust is very handy.
Hammock stands; if you are short on trees and posts then hammock stands are a very good option. All you need is an area of level ground, whether a concrete patio, deck or lawn space. Look for quality long lasting steel or wood frames. When comparing stands that may look similar look for details such as weight of the frame and support weight, the thickness of the steel and finish coating if possible. Obviously, a heavier, thicker frame is going to be more sturdy and long lasting with a good quality finish.
Over time both metal and wood frames do require attention. For wooden hammock frames, this is usually a sand and recoat of oil or varnish every 6-12 months to help protect the wood. For metal hammock stands, there is usually very little maintenance required. If you live in a beach location though, regular washing down of the sand/salt can be a good idea. Also, any little scratches that penetrate the paint can be touched or with metal paint. You can even re-spray you whole stand if you wish every few years to keep it looking brand new, or perhaps change the colour. For either type, disassembling and storing over winter is a good idea to enhance the longevity of your stand.
Most hammock stands should come with the necessary attachments such as hooks and chains for you to quickly and easily attach your hammock without having to buy any other accessories. It is important to check the dimensions of a hammock stand you are looking to purchase as some are not suited for popular longer length Central and South American style hammocks. Our range of hammock stands have been custom designed to fit our range of Mexican hammocks and are made to very high standards to ensure long term enjoyment.
Hanging a hammock at home creates an inviting relaxing environment. As well as providing comfort and a place to escape you can really draw on your existing landscaping to create a welcoming garden or modernise the feel of your outdoor living space. Should you need any help in developing an appealing, relaxing and welcoming environment talk to us at the Mexican Hammock Store or a landscape garden about how a hammock can work for you. Here are a few other resources for ideas to create a hammock environment in your own space.