Reconsidering the Hammock’s Place in our Backyards


teaching-weaving

My interest in everything DIY started with hammocks. As a youngster growing up in Nags Head, NC, I worked part time at a local store learning how to weave the complex rope pattern.

Somehow, I ended up getting good enough to teach others. They even sold a few of the hammocks I wove. It was tough work — one mistake on the finished product, and I’d have to start all over.

The store where I learned to weave had a patio area that was great for testing outdoor furniture arrangements. It was our own little laboratory for trying out everything in the store to see how different furniture types fit together.

At times, the patio was a hodgepodge, displaying as many different products as possible. In this picture, for instance, we had a bar height dining set and a traditional dining set on the patio together. It’s much simpler (and more affordable) to decorate around one or the other.
A Nags Head Hammocks Weaving Area
Given my background, I’ll admit what you have probably already guessed. When it comes to outdoor decor, I’m a big believer in hammocks. What’s more, I think the prevailing approach to hammocks is just a little too narrow. Here’s a couple of examples:
Roman Arc Hammock Stand with Hatteras Hammock

 

If you think about it, hammocks are almost always outcasts. We exile them to some far corner of the yard, or isolate them in the front. They look good, but they stand alone, without providing continuity with the rest of our design.
Hammock in Mom's Backyard
But why not bring them closer? A good hammock offers the kind of symmetry that many designers crave, and a quality stand like the one above can dramatically update the feel of a hammock from old-fashioned to chic.

When starting from scratch in an outdoor space, I’ve always recommended starting with one key element, and then letting everything else flow out from that beginning into a coherent look. Most of the time, people settle on using an outdoor dining set or conversation table as their centerpiece.

Here in the southern U.S., where I’m from, you also see a lot of folks building around their grills :-).

Outdoor Furniture Setup - Pool Lounge Area

 

My friend’s backyard is a good candidate for an unusual centerpiece. Three major segments surround a grassy square: poolside loungers/grill, umbrella dining, and a shaded entertaining space. I’ve been encouraging her to move the hammock you can see peeking out of the left side of the photograph into that grassy area.
With a red rope hammock and wooden stand, you would complement your existing colorways and add a distinctive centerpiece that ties everything together. While it’s a beautiful and spacious backyard, the three areas are really hurting for continuity, and a properly placed hammock would provide that.
What other little-known centerpieces are out there? Have you tied your backyard around a bird bath? Your garden? There’s no better space to really let your creativity run wild than outdoors. Experimentation can breed some amazing and unique results.

 

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