If you fancy making your little ones’ day, week, and year, you might want to consider building them their very own treetop retreat! This is definitely not a small task by any means, but such a project can be incredibly fun as well as educational for all involved. Plus, you will make beautiful life-long memories that will never be forgotten, and what’s better than that?!
So, without further ado, read on to learn everything you need to know about building a treehouse.
The Beginners Guide to Building a Treehouse
Having your very own treehouse in your backyard can be a really magical thing. It provides a playhouse in the sky for you and your loved ones. But treehouse building is much more than just carpentry— it’s an art form.
Additionally, building a top-notch treehouse is also a fairly complicated endeavor, so if you want your favorite family hangout spot to be in a tree in the sky, you’ll need a few building tips before you get started. For example, which tree should you use to build your treehouse, and how will it fit in with your landscaping?
Step 1: Check Local Building Codes
First things first, you need to check your local building codes. Chances are, there will be some kind of local building code or homeowners’ association guideline that dictates the location as well as the size of your soon-to-be treehouse. Check with any local agencies to ensure you’re allowed to build a treehouse in your backyard and become aware of any restrictions or guidelines you have to follow.
Whatever you do, do not skip this very important step. The last thing you want to do is go through all the blood, sweat, and tears of building your very own backyard treehouse, only to be told that you have to tear it down.
Step 2: Pick The Right Tree
Once you’re given the green-light to build your treehouse, pick the tree that you’ll use. The tree that you choose will determine what kind of treehouse you will build. For instance, your treehouse might be built around a single tree with added supports to hold up the structure or secured amongst a few trees. Whatever tree you decide on, just make sure it is healthy, strong, and capable of supporting your desired treehouse.
Step 3: Create a Building Plan
A detailed building plan is of the utmost importance before getting started on your DIY treehouse. Investigate treehouse ideas online to decide what kind you want to build, map out all of the tools and materials that you'll need, take accurate measurements, and devise a good construction plan for your treehouse.
Get your little ones involved and enjoy putting together the perfect treetop fun spot!
Step 4: Gather Your Tools and Materials
Next, you’ll need to round up all of your treehouse tool-building essentials, so you’re ready to rock n’ roll. Use your treehouse building plan to figure out every item you’ll need to make your dream, err, your kid’s dream, a reality. Things like joists, fasteners, washers, rafter ties, and screws should be gathered and ready for use.
Step 5: Build the Treehouse Base
Now for the fun part— it’s time to start building!
The first thing that you’ll need to build is the treehouse base or platform. This should include the frame as well as the interior support beams of the frame. Then, simply raise the platform into your tree-of-choice at your desired height and add the main supports that’ll hold up the base. These might be supports that extend from the base down to the ground or even to the tree trunk itself.
Step 6: Add Braces or Posts as Needed
Once you’ve got the platform done, you’ll want to make sure your treehouse has all the support it needs to be as safe as humanly possible. This will depend solely on the type of treehouse that you are building, but it could mean additional support to the trunk, ground, or to sturdy branches.
Step 7: Put Down The Floor
Now it’s time to put down the treehouse floor! Whether you decide on simple flooring like plywood decking or go for something a little more advanced, do keep in mind that whatever you choose is going to add quite a bit of weight. Oh, and since we’re on the topic of adding the floor— don’t forget to leave room for an awesome trapdoor if your treehouse plan includes one!
Step 8: Add Railings, Walls, Windows and Entrances
Once your treehouse floor is complete, begin on the frame of the actual house portion. When building the walls, don’t forget to leave room for doors and windows. If your treehouse has a porch, be sure to build a railing for added safety.
Once all of these elements are installed, it’s time to add any other fun additions like slides, bridges, fire poles, and of course, a swing.
If you ask us, we love to swing. But the truth is that installing a swing that won’t come tumbling down is no easy feat. Thankfully, SwingTie is here to save the day!
SwingTie is the original creator of the ultimate tool for attaching a swing to a tree— the quickest way to get swinging. All you have to do is hang the tie over the desired wooden beam or branch in your treehouse. Then, simply loop the small ring and carabiner through the larger loop. Pull the small loop nice and tight so that the largest loop slides up to meet the beam or branch. Clip your swing seat to the carabiners, and you are good to go!
And the best part? With this effective swinging system, you won’t have to worry about damaging the tree’s branches like many of the other swing installation systems on the market, thank goodness!
Step 9: “Raise The Roof!”
If your treehouse will have a roof (which it probably will), now’s the time to add it. More advanced roofing options will include waterproofing, shingle work, and framing, but a well-supported tarp will do just fine.
Step 10: Build The Ladder
Now that your dream treehouse is coming to life and is safely perched in the trees, it’s time to add a ladder so the kiddos can climb to their treetop hideaway. A simple and basic ladder works just fine, but a climbing wall or even a rope ladder can add some extra pizazz to getting up and down from your tree fort.
Step 11: Apply Any Finishing Touches
Your treehouse is almost complete, woohoo! Now it’s time to add all the fun finishing touches and accents that really make your treehouse unique. Think outside the box and get creative with it.
Slides, pulley systems, swings, and flags are, without a doubt, a nice touch. Try themed pieces to make your treehouse resemble a castle or pirate ship. Lighting, doorknobs, and interior decoration can take things to a whole other level, too.
Quick Tips: Important Notes To Keep In Mind
Don’t fasten or pin beams.
Whatever you do, never fasten or pin an essential beam to a major branch. This will either prevent the tree from growing naturally, ultimately harming the tree, or slowly push the beam away from its original supporting position. Essentially, this is a recipe for collapse.
Use the right fasteners.
Always make sure that you're using the right fasteners, but don’t use too many! When drilling into your tree-of-choice, it tends to seal rather than heal. Using one-too-many fasteners in a close space can be a set up for disaster as this makes your supports more likely to break away from the tree when under stress— not good!
Nothing is worse than swinging from a tree only to fall flat on your face because it wasn’t installed properly. There are a ton of different ways to install a tree swing, but arguably the best way to do it is by using SwingTie, the original tree swing hanger. SwingTie is safe, secure, and rated to hold up to a whopping 1,000 pounds. Keep your loved ones safe, and use SwingTie to properly install your tree swing.
A Final Word
Building a treehouse in your backyard is not only an incredible way to get outdoors, but it’s also a great project that the entire family can help with. Make your tiny tots’ dream come to life and follow our guide to build your very own masterpiece!