Patio And Outdoor Furniture: How To Install A Hammock

Whether you prefer to hang in the trees or relax on the patio, learn how to safely install your outdoor hammock.

Location, Location, Location

Hammocks can be hung from anything sturdy enough to support the weight. You can hang them between trees, posts, buildings, or a combination of these. For portability, you can use a collapsible stand or tree straps. The most important decision to make when hanging a hammock is location. You must take the time to consider several elements such as noise level, sun exposure, and swinging room. If you desire a quiet spot with full shade, make sure your location choice will deliver. Make sure that you will have enough room to get in and out of the hammock.

Distance and Height Requirements

The two hanging points for your hammocks should be approximately five to six feet from the ground. The distance between these two points should be the length of your hammock plus zero to two feet. To maintain a stable hammock without excessive swing, do not use more than 18 inches of hanging chain on either end of the hammock. Be sure to maintain the same length on chain on both ends to prevent uneven weight distribution. The first time you get in your hammock, you may think it is hung too high. Remember that it will stretch over time and you will need to occasionally adjust the chains.

Required Hardware

If your hammock did not come with hanging hardware, you can purchase your own at any hardware or home improvement store. Four-inch long, 3/8 inch diameter steel eye lag bolts are recommended to screw into the posts/trees. You will need two strong chains (such as welded steel chains) at least 18 inches long to hang your hammock, and four steel "S" hooks to attach the chain to your hammock and the post/tree

Hanging Your Hammock From a Tree

To prevent damage, select a healthy hardwood tree (e.g., maple or oak). Some manufacturers recommend hanging from trees with at least a six to eight inch diameter. If you want to lean towards the safe side, select trees with at least a 12 inch diameter.

To minimize damage to the tree, drill a pilot hole half the diameter of your hanging hardware into the tree as far as the length of the hardware. Screw the hardware into the pilot hole until the hook/eye is against the wood of the tree.

If you do not want to drill into the tree, you can hang your hammock using tree straps. These strong straps wrap around your tree and hook to the hammock. They are designed to prevent harm to the tree and are a portable solution for hanging your hammock. Never wrap a rope or chain around a tree, as it can damage the bark and eventually kill the tree.

Hanging Your Hammock From a Post

When hanging your hammock from a wooden post or building, be sure your hanging point is at least six inches in diameter. The wood should be in good condition, strong, and free of cracks and splits. Metal posts should be strong enough to support the intended weight and at least two inches in diameter. Install your hardware as previously described for a tree, pre-drilling a pilot hole before screwing in your hardware.

You can choose to set your own hanging posts, allowing you more flexibility when choosing a location. Be sure to purchase wood that is treated against rot and moisture. Dig a hole two to three feet deep and at least twice as wide as your post. Place your post in the center of the hole and fill with concrete. Before the concrete sets, you can slightly tilt the poles away from the hammock area to increase support. Wait at least 48 hours before hanging your hammock.

© High Speed Ventures 2011