Everyone has combined the memory of a tree fort with a happy childhood, right? And although we live in a world filled with technology and gadgets, you’ll be surprised to know that many children still love climbing trees, not only planting them. And we are here to help you know how to build a treehouse!
The benefits provided by a treehouse are a lot, both for you and your family. So why not practice your carpentry skills and build one in your own garden? Keep on reading to find out some amazing treehouse ideas and building tips to help you with your DIY project.
Table of Contents
Preparing to build your treehouse
Before you start building your treehouse, there are a few things you should first consider, like choosing the suitable tree and getting all the needed permissions. Keep on reading to find out all you should do to make your dream treehouse come true!
Choose the right tree
There are certain things to look for when choosing the tree for your treehouse. The first one is its health. You should select a tree that isn’t too old or too young to have the support you need. Some ideal tree options for treehouses include maple, oak, fir, and apple. For a more sturdy tree, find one that has 2 branches separating into a “V” shape.
Check with your local planning department
Take some time to learn about local regulations that may be relevant to your treehouse project, like height restrictions or protected trees on your property. You may even need planning permission to build.
Talk to your neighbours
It’s a good idea to speak with your neighbours to let them know your project plans. If the treehouse overlooks a neighbour’s property, this simple step may head off any future complaints.
Making a detailed treehouse plan before starting
After you’ve found the right tree and you are sure that you can move on to your treehouse building, make a detailed plan before you hammer in the first nail. To help you plan your treehouse look, here is a guide with the things you need to consider.
Choose your design
Do you want an A-frame or a square treehouse? Having a firm idea of the design of your dream treehouse is essential. You can find many treehouse designs online, or you can create your own. To ensure that your design works with the tree you’ve selected, you need to make accurate measurements. Also, when you are creating your design, don’t forget to plan for tree growth. You should allow enough space around the tree’s trunk for it to grow.
Decide on your support method
There are several ways to support a treehouse. Any method you’ll choose, remember that trees move with the wind. To make sure winds do not damage your treehouse, sliding joists or brackets are essential. Here are the 3 support methods for your tree:
- The post method is the least damaging one. This method uses sinking support posts into the ground close to the tree.
- The lag bolt method is the most traditional one but also the most damaging to the tree. It involves bolting the support beams or floor platform directly into it.
- The suspension method won’t work for every design and isn’t ideal for treehouses that will carry any significant weight. Using this method, you suspend the treehouse from stable and high branches using rope, cables or chains.
Decide on your access method
Before you start building your treehouse, you’ll need to decide on an access method, like a ladder made up of boards nailed to a tree trunk. Your method should be sturdy and safe, so here are some ways of access for a treehouse:
- The standard ladder. You can build or purchase an ordinary ladder for climbing into your treehouse.
- The rope ladder, which is made of rope and shortboards, that you hung from the treehouse platform.
- The small staircase is the safest access method if it’s compatible with your treehouse’s vision. Make sure to build a railing for safety if you choose this method.
Keep safety in mind
Having safety in mind is crucial for this project. To make sure that everyone building this treehouse stays safe, take these precautions:
- Don’t build too high, as it could be dangerous.
- Construct a safe railing where the treehouse occupants don’t fall out.
- Cushion a potential fall by surrounding the area below the treehouse with a soft natural material like wood mulch.
Gather your power tools and materials
Use your treehouse building plan to find out every item you’ll need to make your dream―I mean your children’s dream― play area a reality. You should gather things like fasteners, mitre saws, joists, decking screws, rafter ties, etc. to have them ready for use.
Step-by-step guide: How to build a DIY treehouse
You are now ready to start building your own. You want it to be safe and sturdy, so make sure to follow our step-by-step tutorial for a simple treehouse design!
Step 1: Building a platform
- Pre-drill the tree at 4 different locations, on each side of the ‘’V’’. Make sure that all holes are even.
- Measure the distance between the holes.
- Using the original measurement between the 2 holes in the tree, make a mark at the other end.
- Create a 10cm slot at each mark, using a jigsaw to cut between the holes.
- Mount 2 main supports to the tree at the appropriate height. To do so, choose 2 sturdy pieces and place them flush against your tree. Drive 4 galvanised lag screws into the 4 slots using a wrench. Then, put washers in between the screw and the wood board. Repeat with the board on the opposite side of the trunk, ensuring both boards are at equal height and flush with one another.
- Place 4 slots, evenly spaced, perpendicular across the supports. Secure them with screws.
- Attach 2 slots to the ones nailed into place above. Your base should now be a square attached to the supports. Check that all your slots are centred and square.
Step 2: Securing the platform
- Attach the platform to the main supports using 8 rafter ties.
- Attach the platform’s middle to the sides with 8 joist hangers.
- Brace the platform adding at least 2 braces. Attach them to a lower portion of the tree and then again on both edges of the platform. To attach them to the inside of the platform, cut a 45-degree angle out of the top ends on them and form a “V” with them so that they overlap at a straight part of the tree. Attach the bracing’s top to the platform from the bottom and on the inside. Then, drive a lag screw through the overlapping braces at a sturdy point on the tree. For the best results, use a washer between them and the screw.
Step 3: Laying the deck and railing
- Measure to figure out where you’ll need to cut around to fit the trees through your floorboards.
- Put 2 deck screws at each board end. Make sure to leave a slight distance between each floorboard.
- Add covering and verticals to the platform to make a rectangle and create an entrance.
- Use 2 slots at each corner to start making uprights for the railing.
- Attach handrails to your uprights and screw them into one another through their mitred corners.
- Attach the siding to the platform’s bottom and the handrails’ bottom, nailing any available woods.
Step 4: Finishing up
- Build a rope ladder or buy one, secure your rungs with deck screws and wait for the glue to dry. You may stain the ladder to protect it from the elements and give it a nice hue.
- Add a simple treehouse roof. Some roofing ideas include waterproofing, framing and shingle work, but a well-supported tarp will do just fine.
- Paint or stain the wood to weatherproof your treehouse, or just give it a nicer look.
- Add some more features to make the treehouse irresistible to your kids. Add a swing, some cushions, add string lights, create some garden furniture or even a zip line with a pulley system. Your kids won’t get enough of it!
The benefits of building a treehouse in your garden
We all know that outdoor activities can affect children’s mental and physical health. Unfortunately, nowadays, many spend the majority of their time indoors. That’s why it’s essential to do what you can to encourage your kids or grandkids to spend more time outside, and a treehouse can be the answer! Here are some of the main reasons why you should build one on your property:
A treehouse can get your kids in touch with nature
Do you want your child to discover a new type of enjoyment outside? Having a treehouse, your kid will be surrounded by nature, green spaces and natural light. It’s well known that the more we are spending time with nature, the better we feel. Your kid can be both happier and healthier!
Being outdoors in the treehouse also gives a strong connection with natural processes. Spending all their time indoors detaches children from the regular seasons’ cycles, the weather and the animals and plants around them. Being up in a tree always offers something new to explore and learn.
It can be your family’s second home
Not only kids can benefit from having their own treehouse. The whole family can enjoy this eco-friendly house! You can use it as a place where you can all gather for some quality time together, like on a game night. Alternatively, it can serve as a second home for when someone needs privacy, like a garden room. Your children can also have their own space when studying, which can help them become more independent.
Your child will develop new skills
While the children are in their playhouse, their imagination can run wild! This free play can offer many benefits like enhanced creativity, language development, higher confidence, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. But there’s also a bonus; your kids can also learn to conquer their fears, particularly this of heights!
Are you ready to create your own getaway in the sky now that you know how to build a treehouse? The moment you start building yours, you’ll be so excited, you probably won’t be able to even sleep! Not to talk about your kids’ excitement! By any means, this is not a small task, but such a project can be incredibly educational and fun for all involved. Plus you will make life-long memories with your family. Follow the instructions above and enjoy your dreamy treehouse!