Do-It-Yourself Guide to Relaxation

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Do it yourself relaxation

This year, as many people forgo vacation travel away from home and choose to vacation right outside his or her own back doors, creating a vacation spot or backyard retreat is an inviting option.

No matter your space limitations, whether in a city rooftop garden or on a wooded back 40, your retreat can incorporate the sensation of island breezes gently rocking you, shade of a giant umbrella oak covering you, and the soft mist escaping from an endless ocean spray cooling you. But wait, this is your backyard, not Tahiti. How can those experiences become reality?

It’s easy when your retreat plans begin with a hammock. And hammocks come in many styles and designs as well as are accompanied by a long list of unique accessories that create the swaying, shade, and mist that will perfect your relaxation spot. But, it all starts with the hammock.

1. Choosing the Perfect Hammock for your retreat…

Due to the large variety of hammock styles, there are three general areas you need to consider before buying a hammock: construction quality, general styling and accessories, and proper care.

Hammock Construction - Construction is the most important factor because there are safety issues involved. “When you’re lying in a hammock, you are suspended in mid air sometimes with a steel pipe underneath you head, the hammock stand.” states Douglas Orians, Vice President of The HammockSource, manufacturers of Hatteras Hammocks® and The Original Pawleys Island Rope Hammock®. “It is important to take steps to make certain that your hammock is not only beautiful, but it is going to be safe for years to come.” Items to look for are weight and amount of rope in the bed of the hammock. The more rope, the stronger and the more comfortable the hammock will be. Heavy-duty steel end hardware should accompany your hammock for hanging safely. This is the area at which most of the weight is placed on a hammock and the heavier the gauge steel, the longer the life in the outdoors. Durability in the outdoors is also a key factor in the safety of the hammock. Hardware that is plated for long life will provide a safer environment down the road as the elements are at work. Most hammocks are made for two-person lounging with a weight capacity of excess of 400 lbs. In hanging the hammock, make sure the structure from which you are hanging the hammock will hold the weight you plan to place in the hammock. Most hammocks will come with hooks for hanging from a tree or post, while a large variety of stands are available for those who do not have those two perfectly positioned trees.

Hammock Styles and Accessories… Once you are satisfied with the manufacturer’s construction, now is the time to look at all the styles and accessories to see what’s available to create the perfect relaxation retreat. Three basic styles of hammocks are available; classic rope hammocks, quilted fabric hammocks, and vinyl-coated open weave hammocks.

Hammock Styles…The classic rope hammock is hand-woven of either cotton or polyester rope. Although cotton is the most popular, polyester rope does offer extended outdoor life as well as often comes in a variety of colors. The comfort of the rope hammock comes from its ability to contour to the user’s body and provide a floating-on-air feel.

Quilted fabric hammocks, though slightly more expensive than the rope styles, are perfect for those that prefer a full fabric bed when lounging in their hammock. These hammocks are crafted of the latest weather-resistant and colorfast fabrics, which accounts for their price. The fabric selection includes a large variety of colors and designs. Each hammock is quilted with a layer of batting for greater comfort. This is a style preferred by those who often relax with a beloved pet or a small child for whom the open weave of a rope hammock is difficult to maneuver within.

The third and final style offers a combination of the open – cool - weave of a rope hammock and the full fabric bed of a quilted hammock. This is the vinyl-coated open weave hammock. Vinyl-coated fabric is constructed in an open or “mesh” style for easy airflow and is coated for long life in the out-of-doors. Many colors and designs are available in this style also.

Accessories… Your relaxation is enhanced with a long list of hammock accessories starting with hammock stands that eliminate the need for conveniently placed trees. The most popular stand available is made of steel and easily assembles without any tools. This stand offers a welded vs. screwed together construction for safety. One of the safest designs is constructed by welding the elbow into the foot cross piece in a 360% weld called a “right connection” by the manufacturer. A weight capacity of from 450 to 600 pounds is available on most hammock stands. Steel hammock stands are available in color options via a powder coating that also assists with a long outdoor life. Other stand styles available include an arcing laminated cypress stand that provides a dramatic outdoor statement as well as a steel version of the same arching design.

The next most popular accessory is the hammock pillow. Weather resistant fabrics are used to craft large, beautiful hammock pillows that accommodate two-person relaxing. Other accessories that will create just the right relaxation spot include wheel kits, canopies, rocking kits, misters, drink holders, storage bags, portable tree straps, and many more. A Wheel Kit makes it easy to move the hammock when mowing the lawn or into the sun for drying out. Canopies provide shade and can be attached to the steel hammock stand without tools. As Hammock Rocking Kits make that gentle sway like a constant breeze possible, the Mister Hammock attaches to a hammock and standard garden hose to produce a soft mist like that off the ocean.

Hammock Care… Once your relaxation retreat is in use, maintaining it for years to come becomes a concern. Quality hammocks are built for long life in the outdoors and easy clean up when there encounter the elements. A mild soap solution removes most outdoor dirt while and keeping it out o f direct sunlight and rain whenever possible also will give you years of enjoyment.

2. Where to Buy a Hammock… Hammocks are beginning to pop up everywhere. Today a hammock can be purchased through a variety of retail channels including the traditional outdoor or patio furniture store, pool and spa stores, sporting goods stores, gift shops, as well as such non-tradition outlets as grocery stores. Mail order catalogs have been carrying hammocks for over 30 years while the internet is a brand new way to obtain a hammock.

Lie Back and Relax… Every do-it-yourselfer, after toiling on project after project to provide greater comfort and beauty for their surroundings, needs to learn the do-it-yourself tips of relaxation. They are as easy as 1,2,3… ahhhhh.

CONTACT: Laurie Rudd, Creative Director, 888-261-1885 –

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