For any child, a treehouse is a magical hideaway. Building a treehouse takes careful planning and construction. However, once completed, you have a wooden sanctuary that your family can enjoy for years to come. Take the time to learn about local regulations before you embark on that treehouse project. Do check if you need a permit to build the structure in the first place. If you have protected species of trees on your property, there may be restrictions on building a treehouse on them. Do confirm if there is a limit on the height of such a treehouse.
In general, building a small treehouse in your own backyard for a child does not require a permit. However, the procedures differ from area to area, depending on the size and scope of the treehouse plans. Building a treehouse without doing your homework could end up in potential legalities down the road. Here are some basic guidelines to observe when building a treehouse on your own property.
Choose the Right Tree
Check the health of the tree you intend to build upon, whether it is too young or too old. Note that the treehouse you build is supposed to last for many years, way after your children have all grown up, perhaps your grandchildren could play in them someday. The tree must be sturdy, healthy, mature, and a living tree. It may be prudent to get an arborist to inspect your tree and confirm it has deep roots and must be free of disease or parasites in order to support the treehouse structure and the technical aspects related to the design of your dream treehouse.
Make safety the top priority as it is your family that will play in the treehouse. Do not make any compromise on the design and quality of material that makes up the structure. Keep a close watch on the height – keep it to a reasonable height with all safety guard rails and secured access stairways.
As a courtesy, talk to your neighbors, especially if your planned treehouse is adjacent and close to their property. This will definitely avoid future complaints, and even potential lawsuits should your treehouse be in plain sight of their bedroom windows. It may also be wise to check with your insurance agent for any possible damage to surrounding property in the future in the unfortunate event of adverse local windstorms.
Choose your design carefully before you hammer in the first nail. Treehouse designs are available online unless you are knowledgeable about building in general with wooden structures. There are important parameters to your treehouse, such as size, circumferential size of the tree trunk, projected structure height from ground level, type of internal wooden floor platform, windows, roof cover, and the type of stairway for access. Do not forget to take into account the future growth rate of the tree since the tree may outgrow the original design resulting in heartbreak when the structure is no longer safe.
The method of support is very important since trees move with the wind. Decide on your support method, typically (a) post method, (b) bolt method, or (c) suspension method. Do research thoroughly into the various methods of support. The access method is essential, as well. It is crucial to ascertain from a safety standpoint whether the access method is a sturdy staircase, a standard ladder, or a rope ladder. At the end of the day, do not overlook the design of a simple roof to your treehouse.
Keep safety in mind. Falling out of a treehouse is one of the most significant hazards. It would be best if you took a few precautions to make sure that everyone stays safe in the treehouse. Don’t build too high, especially for younger children. Construct a safe railing with balusters no more than four inches apart.
Safety is of paramount importance when building a treehouse. Making a decent treehouse on your own is tough work. It takes many man-hours to complete the project and a high financial cost in the procurement of materials such as wood and installation hardware. A chainsaw is the best way to go to start with the raw materials you have to cut them into the appropriate treehouse size. Not to mention the various tools and electric power tools required to get the job done on your own. In other words, it’s a job for dads. You will need loads of materials and tools.
Here goes some of the basic stuff you probably require:
(1) Coach screws with heavy square washers, strong wooden beams, pine decking for the platform, timber for roof joists and walls.
(2) Jigsaw power tool, cordless electric drill, rip saw, electric table saw, spirit level, large drill bits.
(3) Bag of clout nails and a hammer.
(4) Ratchet spanner with a set of heads to tighten the coach screws.
(5) Chisel to cut trenches for the trap door hinges.
(6) Four eye bolts that can be screwed into the trunk.
And the list goes on!
The walls are the easiest – assemble these rectangles on the ground, then hoist them into place. That said, they are extremely heavy, so use ropes and two people at least. Please do not attempt to lift the section without it being held by a strong safety rope. For starters, before you can even put in a nail, you will definitely need a stepladder and a long ladder in order to get onto the tree. It is absolutely crucial to have a drill powerful enough to send screws straight into the wood without pre-drilling. As we said, it is a job for dads.
Finally the Roof
There are various ways of finishing a roof. This is probably the most time-consuming part of the whole process. It is extremely dangerous (for dads only) in order to reach the highest point of the roof. When it is finally completed, the entire family can take pride and joy in the immensely satisfying undertaking of the do-it-yourself backyard treehouse. Enjoy nesting under the stars with the cool breeze rustling through the treehouse come rain or shine for many years to come. I hope the neighbors are not watching!