There is something about treehouses that improves the appeal of the backyard and invites children to spend more time outdoors. Building a treehouse with your kids can be an amazing summer project. You’ll spend a lot of time together outdoors and will make some fun memories. Not to mention that involving your kids in the process will develop their skills and their thinking.
However, building a treehouse on your own is not an easy project. It requires a significant amount of materials and you need to consider the safety of the construction. By planning and designing carefully you can ensure a stable and gorgeous treehouse.
Step 1: Think safety first
Find a suitable location for the treehouse. Look for a big tree to hold the weight of the construction. Choose a healthy, long-living hardwood tree with branches with a diameter of at least 25 cm. The most proper trees can be oak, beech, or maple. The tree should not have any holes or damages on the trunk and it should be alive. If you have more than two or more trees growing close to each other in your backyard, they can be the perfect base for the treehouse.
Don’t build the treehouse too high. 2 metres from the ground is a great position for the platform of the house. Have in mind that if you want to build a bigger and heavier house, you should use more than one tree as a base. Also, make sure that the location of the house is far enough from power lines.
Step 2: Requirements and permits
Some states might forbid building a tree house within your area or on a certain type of trees. Those regulations can also restrict building too close to your neighbour’s property. Check the local regulations first and make sure you have a permit to build the house, to avoid disappointing your kids.
Step 3: Planning
Take time to make a plan for the treehouse. Use a paper and a pencil and start designing the look of the house. You can involve your kids in the process. Deciding together how the treehouse will look like, will excite them and you’ll be sure to create something that your children will enjoy playing in.
Sketch out the size of the treehouse. Figure out how tall and how big you want it to be. How many rooms you’ll want it to have? Decide what type of furniture you’ll want to fit in (if you want to fit any at all) before picking a size. The dimensions of the construction depend mainly on the number of trees you’re going to use for support. If you have only one tree, don’t make the house too big for safety reasons.
Choose the materials you’re going to use. You don’t have to buy fancy beams and planks you can search around your garage for old materials you can use. But make sure that the timber is not damaged by moisture. Make a list of the tools you’ll need. Calculate the amount of wood you’ll use in order to complete the construction in a certain size. Consider platform, roofing, walls, decks, windows, doors.
Here are some DIY treehouse plans you can check, if you’re not sure how to do it.
Step 4: Build the platform
Тhe most essential part of building a tree house is to construct the platform. Build the stand around the tree’s branches and trunk. You need to leave the tree healthy and able to grow, so leave a little bit of space for the branches to allow them to grow.
Make the platform as close as you can to the trunk. Use at least 10 cm thick planks for it and make sure to build extra support. You can do that by adding diagonal bracing around the tree’s trunk.
You can use as a base the spot where the branches are joining and forming a V-shape. Measure the space between them and mark their position on the platform. You need to cut holes in the stand to fit the branches.
After measuring the branches and cutting holes on the timber, start constructing the platform. Build the foundation of the platform first, and start nailing the planks on top of it to create the platform.
Step 5: Build walls and roof
After you have the platform safely build on the tree, it’s time to start constructing the walls. The easiest way to do so is to build them one by one on the ground and fasten them with nails on the platform and the tree. When building the walls don’t forget to leave space for windows and doors.
Most of the tree houses have a flat roof. You can build it on the ground as well and attach it to the house once is ready. Think about how the kids will climb to the house. Consider building and attaching a small ladder with railings.
Step 6: Decorating
The final part is the most fun one for children. Leave the decoration of the treehouse to their imagination. Brainstorm colours and a theme and start finishing.
Think about adding climbing walls, slides, ropes for climbing to make the house more fun to play around. Get the kids involved in choosing the paint colour and in the painting process as well. Let them choose the chairs and the table for the house. Add accessories such as fun, colourful flags, posters, cushions.
Step 7: Check for hazards
Before allowing your kids to play in the house, you need to check it thoroughly for safety hazards. Climb the house and check for extruding nails, squeaky boards, unsanded boards. If you live in a rainy area, check after a rain if the roof is leaking.
If you’re not a handy person, building a treehouse can be a difficult task. You can always hire a carpenter or a handyman to ensure the treehouse is safely and securely build.
My name is Eva Bowker and I’m home improvement coordinator at Fantastic Handyman Australia. My passion is to help people build the home of their dreams by sharing home renovation and interior design tips with them. I love to think out of the box in order to create lovely spaces.