Installing A Hammock on Your Patio
Comfy hammocks make this flagstone patio really swing.
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Homeowners Beau and Gina Davidson have a spacious backyard but nowhere to sit and entertain friends. Their yard has disjointed lawn and patio areas, mostly taken over by weeds (figure A). They want a low-maintenance design that will also provide a little privacy.
Landscape designer Dan Berger proposes an easy, low-cost flagstone patio surrounded by plants that tie in with their existing landscaping. At the edge of the patio, he will set three posts in a triangle for hanging two hammocks, which will serve as outdoor couches, seating four people comfortably. In the middle, a fire pit will serve as a focal point.
The materials for the hammock garden cost about $1,700, including $60 each for the hammocks and $500 for the flagstone. The project takes one and a half days to complete.
Contractors Fred Norgaard and Mike Meehan mark a spot for the head post, between a corner tree and a retaining wall, and then two foot posts, 14 feet from the head post, making a triangle.
They use a gas-powered auger (figure B) to dig the post holes five feet deep. A manual posthole digger works well too, but takes more effort.
Meanwhile, Beau and Gina dig up all the weeds in the area and clear the site. Dan has picked out a variety of plants (figure C) to tie in with the existing landscaping, including tall plants for privacy against the fence, flax for its bold foliage, lavender around the patio, cascading plants for the retaining wall and spiky accent plants. Accent boulders also add interest to the garden.
Mike places 6x6 pressure-treated posts into the holes and adds three to four 60-pound bags of dry, premixed concrete. The ground is wet from rain earlier that day, so they don't have to add water. Gina uses a stick to poke the concrete down into the holes (figure D), mixing it with the rainwater, and Mike makes sure that the posts are plumb.
Next they lay down the flagstone for the patio (figure E) and fill in between them with crushed rock.
The team cuts off the tops of the posts to make them level and drill holes for the lag bolts (figure F). Chains hang from the lag bolts to carabineer hooks, which attach to the hammocks. A blue "sock" around the chains can slide down along the hammock to protect it from rain.
Affordable, decorative copper post tops finish off the posts, and a copper fire pit is placed in the center of the flagstone patio.
The completed hammock garden (figure G) offers a warm, fireside sanctuary for relaxing with friends. The colorful, creative, simple design ties in the small space with the rest of the yard and creates a comfy outdoor room. As host Paul relaxes in the hammocks with Gina and Beau (figure H), he comments, "I've heard of feng shui; this is fun sway."
This "polka dot garden" adds curves and creativity to an ordinary square backyard.