The hot and humid days of summer have arrived. It is time to slow down, relax and enjoy the breeze when you can get it. Want to know the perfect place to do that? How about your very own treehouse!
A treehouse can be a great place to watch summer storms (plenty of those this year!) for young and old alike. They are super locations to play games, whether they be board games or games more of the imaginative type. If you need a little downtime, why not grab a book and escape to the quiet of reading in the treetops? Or grab a handful of neighbourhood kids and have an impromptu party high amongst the leaves.
So what do you need to create this childhood delight? How about a strong tree or two for starters! Choose sturdy, mature, live trees. One that is too young may not be durable enough to support the weight of your house. A dead tree is just plain dangerous (think rot, breaking limbs, etc). Good choices include oak, maple, fir, beech, hemlock, or apple. Of course anything that is strong and sturdy enough, and happens to be on your property will do as well.
Once you have selected your tree or trees, you need to come up with a design for your treetop abode. Do you want it multi-level? Will you be including windows, a roof or doors? How will you get access to your treehouse (rope ladder, standard ladder, stairs)? How high above the ground will your treehouse be (the higher it is, the more it will be affected by wind movement, plus the further it will be to fall)? Did you check with your municipality about any potential regulations that might affect your construction? Have you talked to your neighbours about their thoughts on a treehouse in their view? These are all details to take into consideration before ever picking up a hammer and nails.
With a design in hand, think about whether you have taken tree growth and movement into consideration. Not only do trees grow in height and width, but they also shift and move in the wind. Make sure to leave gaps around the tree’s main trunk to incorporate these factors. The other part of a tree you might forget about are the actual branches. Will you be cutting off limbs that get in your way, or including them in the design aspect of your treehouse? Remember that you are putting stress on a tree in building in it, so the less damage you do to the tree the better.
Think you are ready to start building? Hold on a sec. What about the main support for your treehouse? Will you be bracing up your main platform by drilling supports into the trunk of the tree? That is the traditional method of construction, but does the most harm to the tree. How about suspending the house from strong, overhead branches? That alleviates cutting into the tree, but limits the amount of weight your treehouse will be able to support. You can also sink support posts into the ground surrounding your tree. This is perhaps your best choice, as it takes much of the weight off the tree, plus doesn’t damage it with bolts.
Ok, now you can begin hammering away at your platform. You want to make sure it is level and center on the tree. If you spread the weight of your house over several branches you will have a safe play space that will last. You might want to consider building your treehouse on the ground, then assembling it in the actual tree. Don’t forget to include a railing to help prevent falls. Just in case, surrounding your treehouse with a soft landing-place doesn’t hurt either (need an order of mulch from CLC Tree Services?). Once you have assembled your platform, walls, roof, railing, perhaps a lick of paint, and whatever other design elements you are going to incorporate, the last step is your access point. With a ladder in place, all you need now is a bit of imagination.
Hopefully your treehouse and the fun will last as long your kids excitement does.