As children, many of us sat at the kitchen table, pencil in hand, and tried to corral the whirlwind of ideas and visions long enough to make that pencil meet the paper. Our plans very seldom conveyed what we had envisioned, and the finished product seldom resembled either. Now that we are certainly older, and ideally, wiser, we have the chance to light up our children’s faces with their dream treehouse. While there is no one size fits all tree house design or plan, here are a few tips to help you design and build a treehouse that will be safe, and will offer years of enjoyment, as well as a lifetime of memories
Don’t leave the kids out of the planning
It is well understood that most kids do not have the knowledge or know how to envision or design a structurally secure dwelling that defies gravity. It is important, however, to remember that they will spend a great amount of time in it. It will be their fort, their lookout, perhaps even their cool, quiet place to read a book. Find out what is important to them. Knowing how they plan to use the structure will allow you to plan appropriate supports and mechanisms to keep them safe.
Pick the right tree
Every good house has a great foundation, and the foundation of any treehouse is the tree that it co-habits. If there is any doubt about the load bearing capacity, or structural integrity of the tree you pick out, contact a local tree care expert. It would be a shame to spend so much time and money on something that is not safe to use. In addition to the stability of the tree, you should consider the amount of sunlight the treehouse will receive, the impact of the shadows, and the visibility from neighbor’s houses. It may not be a bad idea to discuss the plans with neighbors to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Find a good team
When the plans are solidified, materials ordered, and schedules cleared for construction, make sure that you have a great team in place to transform the vision into the reality. The number one rule of tree houses is support. Make sure that there is someone familiar with the basic tenets of construction there to supervise. Remember, your kids will grow, getting bigger and heavier. You don’t want to build this tree house to support their current sizes, but where they will be in 5 or 10 years.
Safety first, safety last, safety always
From the design phase, to the building, to the use of the tree house, safety needs to be the number one concern. Be sure to take extreme caution using power tools around children, and be sure that no one uses the tree house until the construction has been completed and verified to your specifications and satisfaction.
Want a surefire way to get the kids out of the house and having fun this summer and fall? You just read it. Obviously, once the tree house is assembled, there are hundreds of personalizations that can be made to personalize it, and really make it a home.
One of the ways to personalize the treehouse is to let the kids paint it or draw on the railings. We’d love to hear some of your suggestions as well!