Building Your Very Own Tree House

by Rachel Laurendeau on June 13, 2012

Have you ever thought of building a tree house in your yard for your children? Most kids that I know would love to have their own little clubhouse to hang out in. If you think about it, this is really a win-win as the little folks get what they want, plus some fresh air while you get a little more quiet time in the house and maybe a little less mess indoors.

• I remember as a child, I always wanted a place of my own to hide out and play in but our yard just didn’t have any good trees for a tree house. If your yard is like that, an alternative would be to build a freestanding playhouse. If you want to make it more mysterious, paint it to blend into its background, place it at the back of your property, or plant some quick growing vines to grow up and cover it.

• A backyard tree house or playhouse can be as simple or elaborate as you like. You can convert a shed, buy a playhouse kit or create something of your own design. If you do an Internet search, there are literally thousands of images that will come up and there are many sites that provide easy to follow designs and plans as well.

• As a parent, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a tree house for my child is his safety. When building your tree house, take into consideration the location, height of the structure, safe means of climbing up and down, railings for the stairs or balcony if there are any and if there are windows, make sure they are high enough that kids can’t lean over and fall out. Don’t forget the safety of the building materials that you choose. Most pressure treated wood is no longer recommended for children’s play structures due to the toxicity of the chemicals.

• Building a tree house can be a family affair: a great time for bonding but also a wonderful time to share your knowledge and skills and pass them on to your children. What other home improvement project can you really get your kids completely involved in? With Fathers’ Day coming up this weekend, wouldn’t this be a great project to tackle as a family?

• Finally, let your kids have fun decorating their playhouse with reclaimed rugs, some fun fabric in the windows, a table and chairs, some chalkboard paint and anything else their big imaginations can come up with. If you’re going to be putting anything of value in the tree house, you’ll want to be sure that there are no drips or leaks in the walls or roof. If you aren’t sure how to finish them, talk to a local roofer for some tips.

Green Tip: A great way to save some money and be earth-friendly is to use recycled materials when building your tree house. A great source of free wood is to ask at your local building center for discarded wood pallets. You will have to sort through them to get unbroken pieces but these are great for the structure. You could also go to your local Habitat For Humanity ReStore, which carries new and gently-used building materials for things like windows and doors and roofing materials.

Whether you’re building a loft in the sky or a tiny playhouse, have fun and happy building!

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