There’s been a lot of research on the health benefits of exposure to nature. Whether we’re immersed in the deep forest, digging in on a hobby farm or just puttering around a backyard garden, the evidence shows that humans respond positively when surrounded by plants. In fact, there’s a branch of social science devoted to exploring the benefits of what is termed ‘horticultural therapy.’
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, psychiatrist and psychotherapist Sue Stuart-Smith notes that having a garden provides an escape – an escape from the stress of work and home life, a hideaway from external judgment and nagging self-doubt. She cites a 2014 survey conducted in Great Britain that found that close to 80% of people believed gardens improve quality of life, and nearly 40% reported feeling healthier after simply spending time in a garden. According to Stuart-Smith, gardens help us calm our minds, decompress and come away feeling renewed.
It’s easy to see how spending time surrounded by plants would be beneficial. And for most of us, the easiest place to cultivate is right outside our door…which is also (not surprisingly) the most convenient place to hang a hammock. Coincidence? I think not.
Here at LA SIESTA, we believe that every outdoor space would be enhanced by the addition of a hammock. Whether your property has 5-acres of forest, a small but neatly-trimmed lawn, or an uninspiring pad of concrete charitably termed a “patio,” read on to find out how to use hammocks to spruce up your outdoor space.
1. Brightly-colored hammocks bring some ‘zing’ to your outdoor space
If your outdoor space is decorated with plants, they may be pretty…but the color scheme will be pretty predictable. Most plants have green stems and leaves, and when combined with a verdant swath of grass, most backyards will be predominately green, most of the year. So what better way to add instant ‘zing’ than to string up a Colombian hammock like the Carolina? The vibrant colors and distinctive weave pattern will set the it apart from the green background, as well as turn the heads of your guests.
Maybe you’re not blessed with a foliage-filled backyard. Maybe all you’ve got is a dull grey concrete space that your landlord once used to change his car’s oil. Never fear – that’s why planter boxes and hammock stands were invented. First, go online and order a brightly-colored Sonrisa hammock and a Canoa hammock stand. While the package is in transit, head to the local garden center and choose some bushy shrubs to create privacy and some perennial daisies. Arrange the shrubs along the perimeter and the daisies front-and-center. When the doorbell rings, open the package, assemble the stand, hang the hammock, and enjoy! Bonus points: because the Sonrisa is made from waterproof material, you’ll always be singing in the rain.
2. If you’ve got trees, hang a hammock between the trunks or a hammock chair from an overhead branch
If you have trees in your outdoor space, consider yourself fortunate. Trees are great – they make it easier for us to breathe, by drawing in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. What’s more, their overhead leafy canopy provides shade on sunny days, and dry cover on rainy days. As if that wasn’t enough, trees offer an additional benefit: the trunk and branches provide support for attaching hammocks.
If you’ve got two mature trees at least 10 feet apart, then suspend a lovely Currambera double hammock between the trunks. That way, if if you’re craving companionship, you can invite a friend; or you can sprawl out like a starfish and have it all to yourself.
If you’re one tree trunk short of a pair, don’t despair – order a hammock chair! Designed to hang from a single point, a hammock chair like the Orquidea volcano allows you to utilize any strong branch overhead, making it adaptable to whatever type of tree is around.
3. No trees on site? The ideal excuse to build a palapa in your outdoor space
Throughout the equatorial regions of the planet, where sizzling temperatures and high humidity are the norm, residents rely on hammocks to keep themselves cool. For most people living in the tropics, air conditioning is an unimaginable luxury, so instead they hang a hammock outdoors under a palapa (an open-sided shade structure) and chill out – no pun intended – in the breeze.
A palapa is a great addition to any outdoor space. Not only does it provide a support structure for you to hang your hammock, it also becomes a showpiece in and of itself, especially if it is done to a high standard. Note that while building a palapa isn’t rocket science, like any construction project it requires a competent carpenter to ensure the beams are sufficiently strong to hold the weight of one (or more) hammock enthusiasts.
4. a hammock provides the ideal place to admire your horticultural handiwork
Gardens are beautiful to admire – but as any green-thumb will attest, gardening is hard work. Whether you prefer flower beds or vegetable patches, you’ll soon find there’s no such thing as a free lunch in the horticultural world. Preparing the soil, planting the seeds, trimming and watering and pulling up weeds…the list goes on. It’s enough to make you want to lie down and chill out before launching in.
Well, if you’ve had the foresight to hang a hammock nearby, give yourself a pat on the back, then climb in the hammock and relax. There’s not much in life more fulfilling than being able to kick back (and possibly nod off) surrounded by the fruits of yours (or someone else’s) horticultural handiwork.There are many ways to sit in a hammock. How many of them do you know?