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What kid doesn't dream of a tree house? It's a fort, a palace, and a place where kids can live out their imaginations in their own backyards. A tree house can also be the basis of an entire backyard kid paradise. It's possible to attach zip lines and other playground equipment to the tree house so that even getting in and out of the tree house provides kids with the chance for fun and adventure.

Choosing the Right Tree

The right tree for a tree house will be large and strong but flexible. It must be very healthy, and it's best to choose a tree from a species that isn't prone to disease. The tree should be fully grown but not so old that it's likely to die soon. Attaching a tree house to a tree is stressful for a tree, so the tree must be healthy and young enough to recover from the stress.

Deciding on a Tree House Design and Blueprints

Those interested in building a tree house need to make some decisions before choosing their plans. Common things to consider include how large the tree is where the tree house will be built, how many kids will probably use it at a time, how they will use it, and whether you want to attach zip lines or slides to the tree house. Also, is there a certain design aesthetic in the rest of the yard that the tree house should match or blend in with? With a tree house, only budgets and physics limit what can be built. There are tree houses that consist of multiple levels and ones that are quite simple. Remember to get the input of the kids who will be using the tree house. They often have ideas about how they'd like to use the space and what they want it to include.

Choosing Materials

Cost and aesthetics are the biggest drivers of what materials are used to build a tree house. People should also consider how much maintenance they want to do yearly on the tree house to keep it safe and functional. It's possible to use recycled materials to make a fully green, and often more affordable, tree house. Other people may want to use materials that match the fencing, other outbuildings, or the main house. Sometimes, the design of the tree house dictates what building materials are used.

Building the Tree House

Once the tree, design plan, and materials have been chosen, the next step is attaching supports to the tree for the tree house. Then, a platform should be attached to the supports to serve as the floor of the tree house. Next, it's time to make and attach braces to hold up the walls of the tree house. Floorboards then go over the platform. Next comes the framing and siding. Once this is done, doors and windows can be cut into the structure. Finally, attach the roof, stairs, ladders, and all safety equipment.

Customizing and Decorating the Tree House

It's important to think about safety when outfitting a tree house. Materials that are designed to be used outdoors will last longer and help prevent mildew or mold from getting in. And anything that could be a fire hazard is a bad idea. Other than these simple rules, though, how a tree house is customized and designed is up to the family. A family with space-obsessed kids might decorate the tree house like a shuttle, while another family might choose to make their tree house look like a castle.

Tree House Safety

One way to reduce injuries around a tree house is to use a protective material, like wood mulch, that will absorb shock if someone falls getting in or out of the tree house. Solid walls are a safer choice than railings and also help prevent falls. Walls and floors should be sanded to prevent injuries from nails or splinters. But the most important safety aspect is that kids should only use the tree house with adult supervision.


Edited by: Ben Thompson