Tree House Designs
Building a tree house is as much about your creativity as it is a solid building plan. No tree house design will fit perfectly to the way your tree has grown.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need a decent tree house design to help you solve the problems associated with attaching your tree house to the tree and doing it in a way that will not damage your tree. Although it might look cool for awhile, a tree house on a dead tree eventually will only become a hazard to anyone who crawls up into it.
Starting Your Tree House Designs
Great tree house designs work with the shape of the tree and are really only limited by your imagination and budget.
Your design should start with the occupants and your location. If you are building this treehouse for kids, how old are they? If your kids are very young, then a treehouse high up off the ground is only asking for some broken bones.
If your kids are a bit older and more coordinated, then you can try “riskier” designs at higher elevations. That’s not to say the treehouse you build today won’t be around for a long time. Plan for kids to grow and if you’re really inventive, you can build in places to expand (like a firemen’s pole) when your kids are more capable of handling difficult access.
What about your location? What climate zone are you building this treehouse in? If you build a completely enclosed tree house in a very hot environment, it might get too hot to use in the deep summer. Or if you have in open design in a cold environment, you can almost guarantee the treehouse will go unused for most of the year.
Your treehouse designs should maximize your location so that you and your family will enjoy it year-round. Here are some things to consider when building your treehouse design to add to the “awesome factor” and so you can add features later:
- A hinged roof that can be opened up when it’s too hot
- A removable wall in case you want to expand
- Using multiple trees connected by sturdy bridges
- A zip line for quick exit
- A sealed trap door that you can add a rope or pole exit later
- A removable roof section so you can add a second story as your kids (and trees) grow
There are millions of little features you can add to your treehouse to make it expandable and functional for whoever you are building it for.
Tree House Designs for Your Tree
Building a treehouse is an exercise in building something functional and safe, but also considering the extra weight you are putting on your tree. For this reason, it’s probably not a great idea to build your treehouse in a tree with soft wood like pine, balsam or ash.
You should also consider building with the lightest possible materials so you don’t overload your branches. Consider building with light synthetic deck wood at least for your foundation. And if you are considering building separate rooms in your treehouse, use metal studs on the interior. You can use metal studs throughout, but they don’t look very cool, so you will have to finish the walls with more wood on the inside. This add extra weight and takes away the rustic feel, but it also allows you to insulate if you live somewhere very cold.
You definitely want to use as much of your tree’s natural support system by attaching your treehouse to the tree in as many places as possible. Minimize the amount of nails you drive into your tree by resting your frame on as many branches as possible.
You might even consider putting down some rubber padding where treehouse meets tree. If you double up on this Rubber Anti-Vibration Mat you will have a strong, bark-protecting barrier for a long time. The best part is that you can cut this mat to fit into every place where there will be contact so this mat should be enough to handle your entire treehouse.
If you are pounding nails into live wood, you might also consider some Tree Wound Dressing so your tree doesn’t start rotting where you have punctured it.
Build it right, build it once
The problem with treehouses is that since they are off the ground, the chances of someone getting hurt increase. Your tree house design has to be sturdy and solid. You need to build it using solid building plans and adapt that to your tree’s natural shape.
If you have never built a complete structure before, then you are facing some disappointment, that’s why you should definitely have a guide to help you get through the process as quickly and safely so you don’t get discouraged and saddle yourself with another unfinished project.