Your Guide to an Easy Hammock Setup in 6 Simple Steps

You’ll be chillin’ in no time with these hammock hookup hacks

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated July 13, 2022
Woman sitting on the hammock
Photo: rh2010 / Adobe Stock
Difficulty

Simple

Saturday skill builder.

Time to complete

2 hours

If you don’t need to install anchoring hardware, it will take less time. This time frame does not include installing posts.

Cost

$65 to $400

Doing the labor yourself goes a long way.

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • A drill (if you are mounting hardware)

SUPPLIES

  • Hammock
  • Installation kit (straps and s-hooks, carabiners, or ring buckles)
  • Two heavy-duty eye-bolts or J-hooks

There are few things more relaxing than a lazy afternoon in a hammock. Installing a hammock in your outdoor living space will give you a place to happily hang around during your downtime.

But before you get too comfy, you’ll need to follow a few simple hammock installation steps. 

Prepping to Install Your Hammock

A garden with hanging hammock
Photo: Zoja / Adobe Stock

Depending on the kind of hammock you purchase, you’ll buy some or all of the items listed above. A basic hammock installation kit will include everything to hang your hammock. If hanging your hammock from posts, you will need to purchase anchoring hardware.

  1. Buy Your Hammock

    There are two main types of backyard hammocks, and both types come in various materials, including woven cotton and quick-dry rayon. Whatever type you buy, be sure to check the maximum weight it will hold. 

    • Standard hammocks: This type of hammock is looser than spreader bar hammocks and molds better to the shape of the person in it.

    • Spreader bar hammocks: This hammock type has a wooden or metal bar on either end to keep the hammock spread open.

  2. Select Your Hardware

    If your hammock does not come with an installation kit, you’ll need to purchase one with the right kind of hardware. Tree strapsare a popular choice because they are user-friendly, offer quick setup and takedown, require no anchoring hardware, and don’t damage trees.

    Some hammocks come with chain straps, which hook into an anchor point. You may need to purchase the anchoring hardware (eye bolts or J-hooks) separately. Rope is inexpensive, but you need confidence in your knot-tying skills. It works best with anchoring hardware.

  3. Find Your Spot

    The ideal spot for hanging a hammock is between two trees or posts 10 to 15 feet apart and at least 6 inches in diameter.

    For a standard hammock, calculate the range by measuring your hammock from ring to ring and adding two feet. This is the distance you need between the trees; a 10-foot hammock would require 12 feet. If you’re using a spreader-bar hammock, you can get away with slightly less space. Measure the distance from ring to ring and add one foot.

    If you decide to install fence posts to hang your hammock, make sure the holes are at least 18 inches in diameter and set at least 2 feet deep in concrete.

  4. Prep the Posts

    If you aren’t hanging your hammock from posts, skip this step. 

    Posts need hardware for attachment points. Follow these steps to prepare the posts:

    • Drill a small pilot hole into each post, about 4 feet up from the ground.

    • The pilot hole should be half the diameter of the screw of the hook. For example, if you bought ½ inch eye bolts, your pilot hole should be ¼ inch. Adjust as needed.

    • Screw the eye bolt into the hole and tighten until the eye contacts the wood.

  5. Hang the Hammock

    Hang your hammock 18 to 24 inches off the ground so it doesn’t drag, but you can still get in and out easily. 

    If you’re using tree straps, wrap the single-loop end of the tree strap around one tree. Pull the long end of the tree strap back through the loop to secure it, like tightening a belt. Use an S-hook or carabiner, attach the strap loop to the hammock’s metal ring. Repeat on the other side. 

    To hang using anchoring hardware, loop your straps through the mounted eye bolts or J-hooks instead of going around a tree. If you’re using anchoring hardware and rope, loop the rope through the anchoring hardware and tie a secure knot, such as a taut-line hitch. Use either an S-hook or a carabiner to attach the rope to the hammock ring. Repeat on the other side.

    If you’re using chains to hang your hammock, use provided clips or hooks to attach your hammock from ring to anchor point.

  6. Do a Safety Check

    Before climbing in, push down with as much of your weight as you can. Does the hammock hit the ground or feel loose? Adjust the height and tension by tightening or loosening the straps (or rope) or adjusting the connection of the chains. Your hammock will stretch out over time, so you should perform this check regularly.

Using a Hammock Stand

If easy-breezy is more your style, try a hammock stand. Often sold together as a set, hammock stands are quick to set up and require no tools. Just assemble, hook up your hammock, and commence relaxing.  

Installing a Chair Hammock

Hang a chair hammock inside to make a cozy reading nook or a hammock swing chair outside as a porch or tree swing. Remember when installing chair hammocks, anchor points are from above rather than to the sides. Here are a few rules of thumb: 

  • Anchor points should be at least 6 feet off the ground.

  • Tree branches should be 8 inches in diameter minimum, and any beam or ceiling joist should be at least a 4’ x 4’. Both should be able to support at least 200 pounds.

  • Purchase a kit made specifically for hanging hammock chairs.

  • Leave room to swing! Mount at least 3 feet from a wall.

DIY Installing a Hammock vs. Hire a Pro 

Hanging a hammock is relatively straightforward. If you need to install posts or anchoring hardware, the task becomes slightly more complex. Overall, it’s still very doable for most homeowners.  

If you’d rather spend more time relaxing in your hammock than installing it, you can hire a local handyperson service. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $80 per hour. (Note that many services have a two-hour minimum.) Purchase and decide where you want to hang your hammock before they arrive. 

The total cost to DIY ranges from $65 to $400, depending on what type of hammock and hanging kit you purchase. You could pay $115 to $480 or more, including labor, if you hire outside help.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.