Make that backyard a comfy place
Last year, the media reported a new trend: foregoing big vacations for "staycations," or staying put and using the money saved for turning homes and yards into destination spaces for leisure.
But this year, things are different. If you've just scuttled a summer trip because money is tight and you're a little uneasy about job security, then adding on a new sunroom or canopied deck may suddenly seem mighty frivolous.
For many people, this is shaping up to be a summer of smaller pursuits.
Planting a line of ornamental trees, for instance, to block your view of that one neighbor you wish was not, and who's likely to be home more this summer as well. You won't get the fullest foliage this year, but each new spring will yield even prettier privacy.
Still, the real joy of vacationing is feeling like you're not required to do anything, and that's tough to manage at home. If only there were a way to cost-effectively create some kind of relaxation haven right in the middle of your daily life, a backyard oasis where you could just pop in and leave the world behind. But that's obviously impossible ...
Not if you've got a well-made hammock, it isn't!
"Repeat customers are always telling me the best mini-vacation they've ever bought has been a hammock and a hammock stand," says J.R. Pelletier, manager of TheHammockCompany.com, an international leader in hammock sales. "I think it's that sense of being supported while also being up off the ground -- it really feels as if you've been lifted out of your busy life where the driveway still needs edging and the fence needs painting."
Potential relaxers should, however, be aware that not all hammocks are alike, cautions Bill Russo, president of Nags Head Hammocks, one of the world's leading producers and retailers of hand-woven hammocks.
"A poorly made hammock may not last even the summer, so that's really wasted money," Russo says. "But a well-made one should give you a number of seasons of enjoyment, possibly even year-round, depending on where you live."
One note of caution though. A shady spot is best for setting up your hammock.
"If you fall asleep in direct summer sunlight -- and chances are you will fall asleep -- you won't feel nearly so relaxed when you wake up burned!" Russo says.
And if you time it to before all those lovely new trees start filling in and blocking the view, you can set up your hammock where that annoying neighbor can't help but see you in it, kicked back and relaxing.