Have you ever considered building a tree house? It’s a fun, family-friendly project that can give your children a reason to get off their devices and play outside. You don’t need a big, sturdy tree in your yard to make a tree house—even the smallest, weakest tree can hold one if you use wooden panels for support. In this guide, we’ll go over all the things to consider when you’re building a tree house so that you can make it fun, safe, and long-lasting for your children.
Plan the Design
When you’re planning the design, you’ll want to balance appearance and function. The design needs to consider the tree’s size and strength, but it should also have some fun features for your kids. You can handle the structural elements and let your children plan smaller, decorative details, like the color you’ll paint it. Some fun features you can consider adding are:
- a tire swing
- a slide
- a loft
- a porch
- a trap door
- a hammock
- a bird feeder
If you’re planning to paint your treehouse, consider using low or no-VOC paint. These products are non-toxic, making them safe for younger children. You’ll also want to use latex paint, which is more durable on exterior surfaces.
Choose the Right Tree
The biggest thing to consider when you’re building a tree house is the tree you’ll use. It should be decently sturdy, though you can always add additional support if necessary. Your tree house requires a solid foundation, so make sure the quality of the ground is safe, too. It shouldn’t be moist or uneven, and it should be strong enough to bear the weight of the construction. When you can, try to pick a tree with a good view—it makes the whole experience better! If you have a large backyard, you might want to choose a tree that’s closer to the house so that you can keep an eye on your kids from the living room or kitchen window.
Make Sure It’s Secure
Above all else, the tree house needs to be safe for your kids to jump, climb, and play on. Carefully consider the different methods available for supporting a tree house, and pick the one that’s best able to handle the construction’s weight. The two methods for supporting a tree house include rigid framework and floating framework. If your tree isn’t naturally sturdy, you’ll need to make sure there’s enough support by adding additional wood pallets or poles that anchor to the ground. You’ll also have to consider how you’ll join the house with the tree. Instead of using nails and screws, which can damage the tree, opt for bolts and ropes. Try to keep the bolts a minimum of 12 inches apart. Placing bolts too close together can reduce how secure your tree house is due to corrosion. In general, you’ll want to use the smallest number of joints possible to hold the structure.