We’re big fans of Todd Davis’ book, Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids, which features some good tips for treehouse building. If you’re in most of the United States, you’re burning daylight at this point to get a treehouse built before the end of the warm weather, so you better get going.
Here are some other handy pieces of advice for building a tree house:
TIP #1: A tree house, plus the kids who play in it, can be a lot of weight for your tree. When constructing a tree house, The size and type of tree must be taken into consideration. Even with the largest trees, keep houses under 3,600 pounds to avoid damage.
TIP #2: Trees can move and grow a lot after a tree house is built. When building a tree house, it’s important to accommodate for a tree’s growth. Keep platforms and supports 2-3″ from branches and trunks and follow a building plan that suspends your tree house securely within the tree’s branches so that it can move independently of the tree.
TIP #3: Rope swings and tires swings are a fun addition. Use a braided arborist rope ½” or greater in diameter and use a running bowline knot to hang your swing ? your tree will thank you.
TIP #4: The best trees for tree houses are Oaks, Maples, Beeches and Sycamores because they all have long lifetimes and strong branches to support a tree house.
TIP #5: BARK is like a tree’s skin, protecting it from diseases and bugs. When building a tree house, avoid damaging the tree’s bark by using fixtures specially designed for tree houses. Using artificial limb supports and avoiding the concentration of support points in one area will ensure both the tree and your tree house stay sturdy.
TIP #6: Before you start construction, make sure the tree is healthy enough to support your tree house or swing – a certified arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture can come evaluate your tree to determine if it can support a house and if the tree needs pruning, deep root feeding or support cabling for optimum health.
This list was provided by the makers of CLIF Kid and Living Tree. They recommend Peter Nelson’s book Home Tree Home: Principles of Treehouse Construction and other Tall Tales, for safe plans that can help build the ultimate tree house, but we have not seen it. www.LivingTreeOnline.com has a service for making treehouse plans and fantasies come true.