5 Tips for Building an Outdoor Tree-House

When you think about building an outdoor tree house there are a number of things worth remembering.

It is vital to consider the location, support, design, and security of your tree-house. You need a definite idea of what the tree-house must be. Is it intended to be a fun place for kids to play in? A place where you can go to relax and spend time in nature? Building a tree-house is not much different to building any wooden structure except that instead of resting on a foundation a tree-house rests upon a platform and using playhouse plans for such a structure is a good idea.

Choosing the right tree location is very important to success. Strong, sturdy trees such as beech, chestnut, or oak are great options.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Your first priority is to select the tree and where about in the tree you intend to build the tree-house. This is when you need to contemplate the purpose of the tree-house. Ask yourself whether it is to be a playhouse for the kids. If so, you need to be sure that you do not build it too high up. Around 5 feet off the ground is ideal and to the kids it will seem higher anyway.

Choose a healthy, mature tree that doesn’t have any special pruning needs. It is advisable to call in a professional arborist for advice regarding pruning that might be required and if any is necessary have it done by a professional.

1. CONSTRUCTION OF THE PLATFORM

Any tree-house needs a strong and secure base for the construction to be a success. It needs to be built close to the trunk of the tree and it needs diagonal bracing to add strength, especially if there are no supporting branches or posts. The platform needs to be level and centrally balanced around the tree so that it can handle uneven loads and minimize swaying or movement. In the process of securing the platform take care in keeping damage to the tree to a minimum. Instead of using nails rather opt for rope lashing but ensure that you are familiar with the way to tie the knots properly.

2. FLOORS AND ROOF

When you have the platform in place the next phase is attaching the floor. Exterior plywood sheets or proper tongue-and-groove floorboards are ideal. When it comes to the walls you can construct them in the tree or choose prefabricated ones which are then lifted up and into place.

Minimize the work you have to do up in the tree by adding external wall finishes on the ground, including fixing the doors and windows into place. Likewise the roof can also be pre-assembled unless there are to be branches entering it, or if it is an asymmetrical shape, in which case building it on place is the more feasible option.

3. DECK AND RAILINGS

Nothing can beat the pleasure that comes with relaxing outside the tree-house itself amid the branches and leaves and to this end a deck is a great addition. A deck can either be a part of the tree-house itself or situated nearby perhaps accessed via a rope bridge or wooden walkway. Whichever one you choose is a matter of preference but safety is paramount and so secure railings are essential.

4. THE ENTRANCE

Once the tree-house is built there is the issue of accessing it. If the tree-house is not too high up a simple wooden or rope ladder is ideal. Higher tree-houses are more easily and safely accessed by steps with handrails. Spiral steps that wind their way up the trunk are always fun and seem more natural than a straight flight. Whichever you choose ensure that you follow the proper design and that the stairs or ladder is secure, safe, and can support the weight of those that will be using them.

5. MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS

Of course the last thing you want is for the tree-house to fall down after all your hard work and effort, especially if someone is inside it when it does! Don’t neglect regularly checking the floors, decks, railings, etc. for any signs of rot or weakness. Check the ladders, steps, and walkways also and make sure that damage is repaired immediately. Also, regularly check the tree itself for any growth and movement and make sure that you fix any attachments when and if needed without delay.

Peter Craft is a woodworker lover and is a garden enthusiast who has a website dedicated to woodworking projects and that has a lot of information about your outdoor
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