Every kid dreams of having a treehouse in their backyard. A treehouse is a special place where kids can play, read, hang out with friends, or just enjoy nature.
Living among the trees also gives children a sense of freedom even though they are right in their backyard. Many parents fear that hiring a professional to build a treehouse will be a huge hassle that will cost thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, parents can build their children’s dream treehouse without the help of a professional. To do so, just follow these DIY treehouse tips:
Tip No. 1: Choose the Best Location For Your Treehouse
The first step in the building process is finding the best location for your treehouse. You will need to consider several factors when looking for the right spot in your backyard, including:
- Type of tree
- Proximity to neighbors
Type of Tree
Scan your backyard to look for a sturdy tree that will support the weight of a treehouse. Some of the best trees for tree houses include:
Don’t choose a tree that is too young or too old since these will not offer enough support. If you are building a standard 8’ x 8’ treehouse, the tree should have a trunk that is at least 12” in diameter. The ideal tree should also have deep roots that are firmly planted in the ground and thick, sturdy branches.
Height is another important factor to consider. Many parents don’t feel comfortable with their children playing in a treehouse that is too high off of the ground, so they shouldn’t choose a tree that is exceptionally tall. It’s best to find a tree that allows you to build a treehouse about 6-10 feet above the ground.
Proximity to Neighbors
It is important to respect your neighbor’s privacy when building a treehouse, so avoid locations that intrude on their privacy. For example, it’s not a good idea to build a treehouse that allows your child to see right into your neighbor’s home. Keep their needs in mind when choosing a spot.
Tip No. 2: Design Your Treehouse As A Family
The next step—and perhaps the most fun part of the process—is designing the treehouse. Get your kids involved and it will be a fun family activity.Here’s what this entails:
- Find a design online
- Choose a support structure
- Plan for tree growth
- Figure out how to access the treehouse
- Add personal touches
Find A Design Online
There are hundreds of different treehouse designs online, so start searching for one that will work well with the location you have selected. If you’re not an experienced builder, it’s best to choose a simple design so you won’t run into any issues when building it. Get your kids involved in the process by asking them to draw their very own dream tree house and saving the designs for when they grow up. This is definitely a nice way to build fond childhood memories.
Choose A Support Structure
Once the design is agreed, it’s time to decide which type of structure you want to use to support the weight of the treehouse. There are basically two different options to choose from, including:
- Posts: This method involves the use of sturdy support poles that are placed in the ground near the tree. These poles, rather than the tree itself, support the weight of the treehouse.
- Bolts: This method involves bolting the wood beams or the floor of the treehouse directly to the tree trunk or branches.
Many people prefer the post method because it allows them to build a treehouse without damaging the tree. But, it’s up to you to determine which support structure is best for your treehouse.
Plan for Tree Growth
Make sure to leave room around the treehouse to ensure the tree has plenty of space to grow. Keep in mind that tree trunks and branches do not only grow taller, but wider as well.
You will need to plan for this in your treehouse design. For example, if a tree passes through the floor of the treehouse, cut a hole for it with 2-3 inches of extra space so it can continue to grow wider in the years to come.
Figure Out How to Access the Treehouse
Kids need to easily get in and out, so figure out how you want them to access their treehouse. Some options include:
- Traditional ladder
- Rope ladder
- Climbing system on the tree
- Inclined ramp
Each of these options will allow your child to safely and quickly get in and out of the treehouse. The safest access options are the staircase and inclined ramp, but these are also the most difficult to build. If you’re not an experienced builder, the traditional or rope ladder are probably best.
Add Personal Touches
Don’t be afraid to add your own personal touches to your design. Some examples of fun elements to add to your design include:
- Trap door
- Bird house
- Basket/pulley system
- Speaking tube
These design elements make the treehouse more fun, functional, and exciting for kids. So make sure to do the research together, and include some of your kid’s ideas in the final design.
Tip No. 3: Buy the Right Materials
Treehouses are typically made out of wood, but some types of wood are better than others. The best choices are treated pine and oak since these are lightweight woods that are durable enough to withstand years of life among the trees.
Make sure all the screws and similar are galvanized. Remember this tree is meant to last for a long time so all materials must be of good quality and weather resistant.
Tip No. 4: Build A Safe and Secure Treehouse
Your children will want to spend a lot of time playing in the treehouse once it’s finished, so it’s important to make your treehouse as safe and secure as possible. Follow these safety tips:
- Build railings around the treehouse floor. A sturdy wood railing will protect your children and prevent falls.
- Apply a layer of mulch on the ground near the treehouse. This provides a nice, soft cushion to land on in the event that a child does fall from your treehouse.
- Make sure none of the nails you use during construction are exposed to prevent serious injuries.
- Check the sturdiness of the treehouse after bad weather. Rain, snow, and wind can affect the treehouse structure, so make sure you check its sturdiness before allowing your children to access it after bad weather.
- Double check nuts, bolts, and brackets to ensure they are holding the treehouse firmly in place.
Following these safety tips can help families stay safe while having fun in their treehouse.
Make Memories in Your Playhouse in the Sky
There’s no need to hire a professional to bring your children’s treehouse dreams to life. Building a treehouse is a family-friendly, fun project that everyone will enjoy.
By following these tips, you can create a playhouse in the sky for your children that they will make memories for years to come!