Porch swings and hammocks: classic parts of the American experience

Phantom Screens / May 30, 2016

Blog /

Whether it’s the height of summer or a fall afternoon, there are few features that can add more to your enjoyment of the outdoors than a porch swing or a hammock. These classic staples of American outdoor life are the kinds of amenities people have always aspired to add to their homes, significantly enhancing any of your outdoor living spaces, whether they are porches, verandas or yards.

Historic and timeless

Porch swings and hammocks can be found in all regions of the country, adorning all types of homes, from cabins in Appalachia to beachfront estates in Malibu. That ubiquity is a testament to people’s enduring desire to be able to make the most of their free time by lazing in the shade of an old tree or under the eaves of their covered outdoor spaces.
They are also timeless, as recognizable for their place as decorations on antebellum Southern mansions as they are for being the centerpiece of classic 1950s Americana. The image of families gathered on the porch, two kids swinging their legs over the edge of a bench attached by chains to a porch roof is as evocative as a Norman Rockwell painting.

Choosing between a porch swing and a hammock

Deciding between these two options isn’t always easy. However, your outdoor spaces might make the decision for you. If you don’t have a porch large enough to suit a swing, you might have to turn to a couple of old trees in your yard that could support a hammock. If, on the other hand, you have a porch but not a lot of tree cover on your property, a swing may be your best option.
But what if both options are available to you? Of course, you could always just install a swing and a hammock. However, if you’re trying to decide between the two, there are a few factors you might want to take into account:

  • If you have kids, a porch swing might be the better option because it can seat more than one person, making it ideal for family gatherings.
  • Singles or empty nesters might want to go with a hammock, since it can be more relaxing for someone who is just looking for a spot to relax and read a book on a lovely afternoon.
  • As compromise between the two, you might want to buy multiple hammocks, one for every person in the household.

Installing a porch swing or hammock

For people who have recently moved into a home that has a large porch or outdoor area, or are looking to finally add a swing or hammock to their current residence, placement is key. You have to find that perfect spot with just the right amount of physical leverage and natural shade.
Sometimes, when you’re on your porch, you might be exposed to the intense heat of the sun, or be bothered by insects. So why not explore the option of adding retractable screens to help provide you with the kind of relaxing, protected area that will meet your needs. After all, if you’re going to treat yourself to something as simple, yet luxurious, as a porch swing or hammock, why settle for anything less than ideal when it comes to where you put it?

Spending an afternoon resting in a porch swing or a hammock, reading a book, maybe listening to the radio, is one of those experiences that evokes a feeling of contentment and satisfaction that is hard to find anywhere else, especially in something so relatively simple. So, when you’re considering outdoor design ideas, don’t forget just how good something as easy as a swinging outdoor recliner can make you feel.