Outdoor Living – Hammocks
Outdoor rooms, an extension of our indoor living spaces, is a hot trend now. It’s natural to want to create a welcoming and comfortable living space on the patio that will ensure we get the maximum out of these sunny, warm days of summer. Throw in an awning or patio cover of some sort to complete the look. I can’t help turning green with envy when I flip through the pages of any magazine that shows outdoor rooms set in California, southern Italy, or wherever summer-like weather seems to dominate throughout the year. Here in Ontario, we’re lucky if the warm temperatures last through September. Sometimes, the end of August heralds the start of single digit temperatures. But, enough of that depressing train of thought! My patio is populated by a table that seats six, an umbrella that just barely keeps the sun off diners, two comfy swivel chairs set a safe distance from the fire pit, and my absolute favourite piece of furniture — a hammock.
There are a lot of different types of hammocks out there. Some are woven cotton nets, like the one in the picture, and are very light and airy. Most large stores, like Lowe’s or Canadian Tire, carry nylon versions. Some are fashioned into a net style and others are solid lengths of fabric. The issue I’ve found with the first is that they’re not very comfortable. After a few minutes, I can start to feel the nylon netting digging into my back. The only problem I’ve found with hammocks made from solid fabric is that even a little breeze flips them over. That’s not a problem while you’re lying in it of course.
Another tip to keep in mind is the size of the hammock. I own a standard hammock stand, but it’s too short to accommodate a two-person hammock. Larger hammocks have so much stretch to them that you’ll end up lying on the ground. If you have two well-spaced trees, try to rig the hammock ends high up so any excessive stretch won’t end up being a problem. Finally, most hammocks sold at chain stores are made with a bar (usually wooden) at each end of the hammock. It’s there to make it easier to manoeuvre in and out of the hammock without ending up with bruises to your pride. This seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? It depends on the type of hammock. The bar doesn’t really add anything to a well-made hammock. Getting in and out of it still requires careful machinations — sink slowly into the middle of the hammock, swing one leg over to the other side, lean back, swing legs up onto the hammock one at a time. No problem. With a poorly-made hammock (and you won’t know which is which until you try lying in it), the bar will further unbalance it. Lying comfortably for any length of time in one of those is next to impossible. Look instead for hammocks that don’t have bars. They’re definitely trickier to slip into; but, once in, you’ll feel like you’re resting on a cloud. Guaranteed: if you can protect yourself from mosquitoes, raccoons, skunks and all other creatures of the nights, you’ll have the best sleep of your life!
Here are some to check out:
Mayan hammocks are made by weaving together multi-coloured fabric. The result is a super comfy contraption.
Quilted hammocks look cushiony and comfortable. Though I wonder if the thick weave would actually leave you feeling hotter in hot weather.
Brazilian-style hammocks that are either handwoven or crocheted. Very comfortable and pretty to look at.