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Garden hammock tips for rookies

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What's a garden without a hammock to nap in? Every gardener wants one. Problem is, not all of us know how to hang or use them. Oh sure, you think it's simple enough. That is until you find yourself in a heap on the ground wondering what went wrong. How do you like that hammock now? That's OK. You'll do better next time with these tips.

Setting up your hammock

Supports

You will need two trees to support your hammock. The trees should ideally be about 12 – 15 feet apart. Any less and the hammock won't have enough sag. Stretch it too far and it will be too taught to get into. Or at least, too taught to stay in. Tie the hammock about 3 feet off the ground. Adjusting the hammock properly is something I like to call sagging it.

Sagging it

When setting up your hammock, be sure it has a little give to it. Not as much give as that kid down the street who sags his pants. Just enough so you don't spill out of it the second you get in. Make initial knots loose. Test before tightening them by pushing on the hammock center with your hands. The hammock center should remain at least 2 feet off the ground. It should have about a foot of good sag in the center.

Tying the knot

The best knot to use when tying up your hammock is the bowline. It keeps the hammock straight for easy access. If you're not that great at tying knots, it's OK. Another alternative is using large screw eyes. These work most securely when used with the hoop facing up, like a basketball hoop.

No trees?

If you have no trees that will adequately support your hammock, use two posts. Make two 1 foot deep holes, 12–15 feet apart with a post hole digger. Insert two 4x4 posts into the hole. The posts should be at least 4 feet tall. Cement them in for safety. Be sure to use a level to get them straight. Brace the posts while the cement dries. Now you can insert your screw eyes and set up your hammock between the posts.

Note: Of course, you could buy a hammock stand for your garden, but what fun is that?

Using your hammock

Be prepared

Before getting into the hammock, be sure everything you need while using it is close at hand. A nice little garden table can hold a book, a tall glass of lemonade or whatever you require. Once you perfect getting into the hammock, you won't want to hop right back up to fetch something you need.

Getting into the hammock

Do not, I repeat, do not enter the hammock feet or knees first. This will result in you landing promptly on the grass beneath your feet.

*Spread the hammock out.

*Sit in the center.

*Slowly lay back

*Swing your feet into the hammock.

Don't be discouraged if your first attempts end in failure. This takes practice. Believe me, I have the bruises to prove it.

Getting out of the hammock

Getting out of the hammock is pretty much the reverse of getting in.

*Swing your feet off the side of the hammock.

*Sit up.

*Hold the hammock edge.

*Push yourself up to a standing position with your feet.

A hammock for two is somewhat trickier.

It takes some coordination to get two people into a hammock. Luckily, once you're in there, it's smooth sailing. I've found it works best when both parties approach the hammock from different sides. Then, follow the steps for getting in simultaneously. On the other hand, sometimes it makes for a fun experience if you just wing it. A good laugh and a small tumble never hurt anyone.

This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo! property.

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