Monday, April 14, 2014

The Hammock Hookup (PT.1)

First things first. We are not done with this project yet by any means, but since it's taking a while, I figured I would just write out the whole thing in parts. A couple people who have been able to see this have asked that I do at least a small write up of it so far, so I am breaking it up into three posts.

Welcome to post #1!

We have known that we wanted to install some sort of hammock hangers in the backyard for a while. We both have light weight camping hammocks that we love to use, but there are no trees close enough to actually hook them up. We decided that some supports that could triple as hammock hooks, torch holders, and architectural interest would be a nice additional surround for the fire pit. Since we each had a hammock and many of our friends had their own, for both entertaining and symmetry, having three places to hook up would be best. That means two bolts for each of three hammocks to hook into.

We grabbed four pressure treated 4x4s, a post hole digger, and one of our hammocks, and started measuring.

All of the tutorials we read said to measure your hammock and then add a foot onto the length. We laid out the hammock and added our foot, marking it with some green spray paint.

For us, these measurements were 132" from the center of one post to the center of another.

Then we started to dig. We were only really able to work on one at a time because we only had one post hole digger. This process was made even slower by the fact that our yard is full of rocks. Not small, gravelly rocks, but large ones that have to be broken up to be moved. Scott ended up having to use a spud bar (ha!) that he borrowed from our friend David to make any headway.

It's essentially a giant iron bar that you ram into the ground and it exhausts you. I think it's supposed to be an efficient way of breaking up rock so you can move it, but it still takes a ton of work to use. It did allow us to finish two holes in one day, though, so I would still totally recommend using one if you have any rock issues like this in your own yard.

As usual, the girls were of no help. Especially Sam who taunted her laziness at every turn.

When we believed that the holes were deep enough, we took some dry cement and added it to the bottom of a post we had already set into the hole. Scott added temporary supports to the bottom of the post while I leveled each side so that it wouldn't move while setting. We then added the appropriate gallon of water to the hole and worked on the other post.

Since we wanted all of our posts to be the same height, but our yard slopes, we had to use the string method to make sure that everything was lined up. This meant that he dry set the other post in the hole he had dug and held a string at the top. I held the other end of the string at the top of the post we had just set in cement and then we pulled just tight enough that the string was taught. We set our level against the string to get an idea as to how much dirt we needed to add or take out of the hole for the new post and worked from there.

We managed to get the other support level and set in cement before we went in for the day. That was on a Saturday, so we had planned on working on it on Sunday, but God had different plans. Kentucky weather is a little weird. For instance, our last two days have been in the 70s, sunny, and perfect. It's supposed to snow tomorrow. Same thing happened that Sunday.

Sunday mid day.

Less than 3 hours later.

We weren't able to work on it again until the next Saturday. Our first order of business was to repeat what we had already done so we could get the other posts in the ground. Thankfully this didn't take very long. We just made sure they were level and added our supports.

Then put in our dry cement and added our water.

After the cement had set for all four posts, we were able to add hardware to attach our hammocks to. We ended up using large stainless steel screw eye bolts that were long enough to feed all the way through the 4x4s. I just measured 42 inches from the ground (a number which we got from setting up our hammock awkwardly in the corner of the yard and measuring the height of the clasps) and drilled through the supports. Then it was just a matter of screwing in the bolt all the way and securing it with a large washer and bolt.

We hooked up our first hammock and....almost disaster! The supports by themselves weren't going to be able to hold a human's body weight over time, especially after being weathered, so we had to change our strategy slightly. We grabbed some pressure treated 2x4s that we used as cross support beams and tried the hammock again. Success! There is even a plan to make it look like a mini pergola so that it doesn't stand out so much (that'll probably be the third post in this series).

I also tried out some paint colors to brighten up the whole facade, but quickly decided that wasn't the way to go (so ignore any bright orange you might see!). We were able to assemble and mount our cool new DIY torches we have been wanting to use for a couple of years, too, though, so we accomplished quite a bit. (How to make some DIY tiki torches is going to be post #2 in this series. I'm hoping to have that one up by this week!)

So far, our backyard is looking like this.

(Keep in mind that it's still spring. Our yard will look more lush in a month or so!)
Which is a far cry from where we started.

Now we just need to:

-Strip off the orange paint (ugh)
-Finish the pergola support beams
-Stain entire structure dark
-Move the dirt in the flowerbed to the dirt pile
-Reseed the entire backyard
-Redo our temp walkway into a permanent one with stone
-Landscape and mulch
-Start our garden against the back fence
-Create a bird feeder area on the other side of the house

It's quite a list, and not all things that we want to accomplish this year necessarily, but at least it's a place to start. For right now, we have really enjoyed the use we have gotten out of our new outdoor entertaining area. We had some friends over a couple of weeks ago that really helped us break it in! We have discovered it's also the place to be when UK wins basketball games and you want to listen to the police scanner all night!

Do you have any plans for your backyard this year? Sam wants to know, so leave it in the comments and we'll read her your answers! (She can totally probably read, she is just lazy)

1 comment:

  1. This is very, very cool! We have a hammock stand, but it just broke. So we might need to do this soon! I love the fire pit area!