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Our latest shed is also a pavilion—and you can build it, too!

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Matt BoleyUpdated: Apr. 02, 2020Updated: Apr. 02, 2020

Advice and tips for building, attaching and furnishing your home in the treetops. Learn how to build a treehouse from experienced builders.

the 1 last update 2020/07/14 1 1 / 8
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Where Should You Build a Treehouse?

When thinking about treehouse ideas, take stock of the trees in your yard. Choose a healthy, long-lived hardwood for maximum support, with load-bearing branches at least eight inches in diameter (larger if the species is a softwood). The best trees include maple, oak, fir, beech and hemlock. It doesn''{"":"","":""}''s easy to get carried away with cool treehouse ideas, building a house in a tree brings with it certain physical limitations. Here are some structural things to keep in mind while designing your treehouse:

  1. Build the platform as close to the trunk as possible, and add diagonal bracing for extra strength to support uneven loads.
  2. Put the load over the base of the tree, not on one side.
  3. For heavy tree houses, consider spreading the weight among several trees.
  4. A tree house will act like a sail in strong winds, adding a large load to the tree''{"":[[0]],"":[[0]],"":[[0]],"":[[300,250]]}''{"":"","":"","":""}''{"":[[300,250],[3,3]],"":[[320,50],[300,250],[3,3]],"":[[728,90],[640,360],[3,3],[300,250]],"":[[970,250],[970,90],[728,90],[3,3],[300,250]]}''{"":"","":"","":""}''{"":"","":""}''t Restrict Tree Growth
    1. Leave gaps around the tree.
    2. To accommodate tree movement and growth, allow gaps around any branches or trunks that penetrate the tree house.
    3. Don''{"":"","":""}''s much easier to build the rest of the structure if the floor is level and can support the entire weight of the tree house. Consider these methods when generating treehouse ideas:

      1. Lay beams across the branches and shim until level.
      2. Run the beams between trunks of different trees.
      3. Cantilever the beams out from a single trunk and support them from above or below.
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Build Sections on the Ground First

It''{"":[[300,250],[300,600]]}''{"":"","":"","":""}''{"":[[300,250],[3,3]],"":[[320,50],[300,250],[3,3]],"":[[728,90],[640,360],[3,3],[300,250]],"":[[970,250],[970,90],[728,90],[3,3],[300,250]]}''{"":"","":"","":""}''{"":"","":""}''t run bolts through the tree. Lag bolts cause less tree damage than through bolts.

  • Don''{"":"","":""}''t forget the accessories with your treehouse ideas! Just a couple of finishing touches turn a "" into the ultimate fort and hang-out zone.
  • Here are some accessories that go great with a treehouse:

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    Be Conscious of Treehouse Safety Issues

    Building a treehouse is a wonderfully whimsical and romantic idea. But it''t put fasteners too close together, which can weaken that section of the tree. Use at least 3/4 in. bolts spaced at least 18 in. apart vertically and 12 in. apart horizontally.

  • Avoid slinging cables and ropes over branches. They cut through the bark as the structure moves.
  • Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Neighborhood Concerns and Municipal Regulations:

    Do you need a building permit? It depends on local laws and the nature of your treehouse. If you''t build your tree house where it will infringe on a neighbor''t build higher than eight feet and make sure to build safe, strong rails. Also, nobody should be in a tree house in high winds or lightning.

    Check out these incredible treehouse building plans to get started.

    Originally Published:September 30, 2019

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