Gravel or mulch in hammock area (pictures)

nealveyFebruary 13, 2007

Hi all, first-time poster!

My wife and I bought our first house back in August. It's on a sloped lot (you can see on 2nd picture below) causing some difficulties in how we're going to landscape. Currently there isn't a lot in our backyard. We put a 6' privacy fence up and that's about it so far. We have several projects lined up but I believe we're going to start with this one:

We have three (walnut?) trees in the far corner of our backyard. They form a triangle and two of the trees are just a few feet from the fence (one about 24', the other 4.5 feet). We have a nice hammock we want to hang between two of the trees. Rather than just have grass around it, we want it to become a nice area that sticks out from the yard. We plan on putting a small bistro set or a park bench back there as well.

Here's my question(s): What should we put down to 'enclose' this area? Our initial thought was mulch, however we have two dogs and they tend to use the mulch as temporary chew toys. They would have it all over the yard in a day. B/c of this, we're leaning towards pea gravel. I've read several posts on here about how hard it is to put down and for it to look good, and I also realize the dogs may make a mess of this as well. However I don't see them eating it (and throwing it back up in the house) like I do the mulch. Any ideas/thoughts on this?

I would guestimate we have a max of 30 sq feet. We're not 100% sure we'll go all the way out to the third tree. Below are a few pictures of the area we're looking at. Our plan is to put some type of edging (stone) to create the perimeter and then fill as needed and recommended. Thanks and sorry for the long post!

http://www.boosecat.com/fence/pictures/fence29.jpg

http://www.boosecat.com/fence/pictures/fence12.jpg

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nealvey

I also have a 360 degree view of the backyard. It was created just after we added the fence so the yard was (and still is) looking a little rough.
http://boosecat.com/fence/360/

One more picture:
http://www.boosecat.com/fence/pictures/fence08.jpg

The hammock will hang between the tree on the left and the tree in the middle. The gravel/mulch would at least go around both of those trees...

We also plan to take the grass from this area and put it on the other side in hopes of getting rid of the Bermuda.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 2:02AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

For the hammock, I would leave the grass. Either gravel or mulch will be messy and detract from the appearance, and serve no purpose. (My unprofessional opinion.) How do you plan to deal with the slope for a table and chairs?

While I understand you only want to work on this one bit now, it will be easier for you in the long run if you consider your plans for the entire back yard to bring this small project into proper context before proceeding.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 11:41AM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

On another forum somebody recently posted the link below. It is an article titled "Top 10 Gardening & Landscaping BlundersÂand How to Avoid Them!". When I saw your post I immediately though of the following two blunders: "We think too small" and "We devote too much space to lawn".

It just struck me as odd that you have a basically empty backyard that is wall-to-wall lawn surrounded by a fence and the big question is "gravel or mulch?" As pointed out by catkim: "it will be easier for you in the long run if you consider your plans for the entire back yard to bring this small project into proper context before proceeding."

BTW, I have never had a problem with dogs and mulch. Maybe you could try some different kinds of mulch.

Good luck!

- Brent

Here is a link that might be useful: Top 10 Gardening & Landscaping Blunders

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 2:46PM
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nealvey

Thanks for mentioning "Top 10 Gardening & Landscaping BlundersÂand How to Avoid Them." My wife is reading it as we speak! :) We do have a master plan for the yard. We measured all major obstacles and have it all plotted out on graph paper. One could argue our design, but we do have a complete plan. We're starting with this area as we have the all of accessories sitting in the garage.

The other furniture will probably consist of a small coffee table and possibly a bench. We may even just put a large stone down there for "sitting." The yard is sloped there, but not as bad as some areas. We may have to flatten a small area out so that the coffee table, etc. will be level.

I just reformatted our computer this weekend and have not hooked the scanner back up. Once I do, I will scan the overall design in and get some opinions. It consists of a patio in the center area of the yard, with one of the corners starting at the Maple tree and going up towards the deck. An area for cornhole will be added between the new patio and fence. We'll be putting some Crape Myrtles or something of the like along the back of the house to hide some of the stucco. We also have some other smaller trees (Japanese Maple, etc.) planned to be the start of some other beds.

I'll try to get the plot up soon and will also try some other mulch. We have a Whippet who doesn't touch the mulch. Our Brittany ate mulch/bark at my inlaws house when she lived there. They mainly had decorative bark for mulch, but also had some cyprus. Any other ideas? We prefer a dark mulch for around our current shrubs.

Thank again for your insight and help!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 4:16PM
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inkognito

"We have several projects lined up but I believe we're going to start with this one:" a nice place for the hammock! Hum. Make the place you live like the way you want to live. I read that somewhere. If you have a real job you want to spend your off time doing what you enjoy or doing nothing, not gardening. Take the dogs for a walk, or a 'run' with the whippet. Buy one of those sling sticks with the ball in the end and take the whippet out. My point? If you make the area around your house a space that allows you to to relax and unwind and enjoy the dogs and the what do you call it 'bistro' you will be happy and provided it doesn't look like a tip it won't be a problem. On the other hand if you try to live according to some PBS ideal can you hack it?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 5:15PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

A hammock is for relaxing. Gravel under a hammock is hard and cold and does not convey the feeling of comfort.

Any visiting child will find your hammock irresistable. They will throw themselves on it, fall out of it, do it repeatedly. Mulch is soft to fall on, gravel is not. Grass is soft too.

I have a hammock, there is grass under it, nice and soft and relaxing.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 7:00AM
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kelly_cassidy(z5 E. WA St.)

Are you sure those trees are big enough to support a hammock without damaging the bark?

Beyond that, the far corner of a yard does not, for most people, create a cozy feeling of retreat. Nearer the house, or some other shelter, is more likely to inspire a feeling of security. However, it's you that will be in the hammock, so only your feelings matter.

With an energetic dog like a Brittany, you might want to design a yard that gives plenty of room to play with the dogs. One of our dogs is a Brittany. They seem to like lots of brush to crash through looking for birds. Keep that in mind when choosing plants.

Kelly

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 11:01AM
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nealvey

We're leaning towards mulch if we can find some our Brittany won't chew on. And yes, she'll destroy many plants so we'll have to find some hardy ones for her.

In our yard, the only "established" area is the corner area. The privacy fence provides no privacy since the yard is so sloped, however that area is the most private. The main road behind our house is out of view and it's somewhat quiet in that area.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 1:54PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

To me too, nothing looks right under a hammock except grass. In particular, I agree the surface should be SOFT! However, why not take it a step at a time. You could put the hammock up in the spring, and see whether that's the right place for it and whether the grass suits you. Nothing is stopping you from making an adjacent area defined by a different surface for a bistro set rather than including the hammock in that patch.

Besides, I don't know how sensitive those particular trees are, but I suspect that the less disruption or covering of those tree roots, the better.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 2:20PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I just wanted to mention that you don't ever want to put pea gravel down as any sort of walkway or patio.

It is round and very hard to walk on.

You want a gravel that has been crushed that has sharp edges that pack together.

I would not put gravel under a hammock either.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 12:33PM
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ssfkat3(7/8 virginia)

gravel is definately a no no under the hammock!!! My neighbor had one, and every time he fell out, he found whatever stone might of come to the surface, and those things aren't the easiest things to get in and out of!!! I'd love to have that backyard, slope and all!!! For the rest, no suggestions other than no gravel, ouch.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 12:47AM
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nealvey

It's been a while but we put the hammock up during the spring...It's just grass under it and looks great (IMO)! The dirt around the fence is now grass so it looks even better. We've also cleaned up the strings hanging off of the hammock.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 4:41PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Perfect!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 12:30PM
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misslucinda

Yes, but your tree doesn't look very happy about the lobotomy...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 11:12AM
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gardenbrat72

I can't link to your pictures...perhaps you could post some more :)

Brat

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 6:51PM
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