As a child, I have always been attracted by tree climbing and tree houses. Although my father did not build a tree house for me, I have always wanted to have one to play in with my friends, a secret place to hide in and a magical land where I can play with my toys.
Building a tree house by yourself is not such an easy task and there are numerous factors that you should consider, especially if you want it to be a safe playground for your children. Choosing the right tree, lightweight materials, the best access method and the favorite design may be a little challenging for you, especially if you have young children and you put safety first.
But the first and most significant step is certainly selecting the location. Involve your children in this process and let them feel like it is their own tree house. Construct as much as possible on the ground and do not forget that the tree will keep growing. Avoid restricting its growth and make use of large bolts for attachments to the trunk.
A long lasting, safe and economical structure has a floor that is capable to take the whole weight of the tree house. The floor has to be flat and solid as well. Refrain from fixing parts of the roof or even walls of the house to branches, because they move with the wind and this may damage the entire construction. The walls should be rigid and resistant, able to support the weight of the roof.
By using cables and metal brackets will allow the flexibility necessary to the structure and try to build the parts separately and only after join them together (the floor, walls, supports and roof). Do not forget to always ask your children’s help, even if they are too young. They will feel that they are a part of the building process and this will keep them busy and enthusiastic as well.
When building the frame, use regular timber from a building supplier. A good looking, yet strong floor may be obtained by using maple or oak, while the walls may be made of exterior plywood or boards. The rain will certainly not penetrate the walls, because boards are typically overlapped. If you want to add a natural look that will also allow air to ventilate the entire tree house, use woven branches. Panels of cedar or even of other straight grained wood are the most popular choices.
When making the roof, use a base layer of plywood that will increase the rigidity of the roof, but also use roofing materials such as roofing felt or shingles. Once the tree house is ready, you can bring inside a bed, table and some chairs, but you can also use some source of light to allow your children play when it is darker outside.
Your children will love to play inside their tree house even when it will be a gloomy whether outside. Bring them their favorite toys and you will certainly become the best parent in the world!