From Tim on June 11th, 2009 in Tools and Tips
Photo credit: PatioandMore
Lazy summer days were made for relaxing on the swing or taking a snooze in the hammock. But then again, that could be just for kids and dad. The porch might also be the perfect place for a suspended garden oasis, a season of colors and sweet fragrances. No matter how you look at it, summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it’s resting in the hammock or shootin’ the breeze on the veranda. Summer is about kicking back and enjoying the season.
Installing a Porch Swing
There are a couple ways to approach this project. The most popular way to install a hanging swing is on the porch. But not all porch ceilings are built the same. Make sure the joists can hold the weight of the swing and the occupants before moving forward. If you’re not sure about the strength of the ceiling, have a carpenter check it out. Once you’ve determined the ceiling is strong enough, start by drilling pilot holes into the beam. Screw in eyebolts or large hooks and then hang your chain. You’ll need about three feet of clearance behind the swing so it doesn’t crash into the house or wall. Other options include hanging the swing from a sturdy tree limb or from a standard A-frame swing kit.
Installing a Hammock
Photo credit: ArchiExpo
There are many different hammocks in the world, some come with their own stand and are easily assembled, while others rely on rope to secure it between two hardy trees. Still others attach to hooks and are strung between posts cemented in the ground. A rope hammock can hang anywhere but it’s best suited between two mature trees. Make sure these trees are at least 12 inches around, and sturdy enough to hold a fair amount of weight. Once you’ve found suitable trees and laid out the hammock between the trees or posts, you’ll need an extra foot of rope on both ends, to wrap around the trees. In addition to the extra rope, make sure the hammock has a minimum of five feet on both sides to swing freely. To finish hanging the hammock, drill starter holes in to the trees and then tighten your hooks and hardware. Try a stress test by pressing most of your weight on the hammock; if it holds get on board and take a few swings.
Photo credit: Sister72
This project isn’t nearly as complicated as the swing or hammock, but it can be just as rewarding. Screw in hooks to the ceiling beams and then attach your baskets. A common mistake is not gauging the amount of sun these baskets will receive. It’s either too much or not enough. If plants and flowers don’t get enough sunlight, they search for it. They get spindly or leggy or they won’t flower. Plants and flowers that do well in partial shade are Fuchsia, Impatiens, Mimulus, and Begonias. Their counterparts are full sunflowers and plant varieties such as Nemesia, Marigolds, Zinnia, Verbena, and Petunias. They enjoy 6 to 8 hours in the full sun. Deadheading the spent blossoms can be done at your own discretion and trimming overgrowth will keep the basket symmetrical. You may also notice that certain plants begin to dominate the scene; if you loose one or two varieties it’s okay, the rest should move in and fill the gap.