Many children dream of having a tree house of their own in their yard, but building one that is safe and sturdy enough is definitely not kids' stuff. If your kids start pleading with you for a tree house, you may not know where to begin. There are a wide range of designs for tree houses, and the layout of your property can help determine which style works best for your yard. Come up with a treehouse plan that earns you hero status with your kids and makes the most of your home's natural landscape.
A-Frame Tree House
An A-frame tree house is an ideal option for your children if you only have one suitable tree for the structure. Depending on the house's size, you can place two to four posts beneath it for additional support, while the tree supports the rest of the structure's weight. For a decorative touch, the A-frame can be singled with plywood or painted with bright colours. A Dutch door and a staircase can also be added for easy access, or you may simply cut a hole in the floor for ladder access. An A-frame tree house may also be built with an observation deck in the front, so your children can survey the neighbourhood or stargaze on clear nights.
Tree House with Swing Set
To provide additional play space for younger children, a tree house with an attached swing set may be an ideal fit for your backyard. This type of tree house does not require a tree to hold it up and instead has a supportive platform that is built around a tree. As a result, your children can enjoy a tree house even if you do not have a tree in your yard that is strong enough to support a structure. In addition, the playhouse portion can be built lower to the ground, which may be better for younger kids who are unable to climb a ladder to a higher platform. Stairs are usually built into the structure instead, providing easy access for most children. The attached swing set may also include monkey bars or a slide for additional fun.
Lookout Tower Tree House
For a simple tree house, consider a lookout tower design. This type of tree house is usually built as a freestanding structure, with four posts supporting it, so you do need to worry about finding trees that are strong enough to support a house on your property. The structure is typically on the smaller side, serving mainly as a lookout tower, but it still provides plenty of space for your children to play and observe their neighbourhood.
Because it is on the smaller side, a lookout tower tree house usually works best with a ladder and trap door access. For a decorative touch, you can add a plywood cutout in the shape of a star, moon, flower or your child's favourite animal to the front of the tower.
Open Tree House
If you are looking for a versatile tree house design for your children, an open style may work well. This type of tree house is essentially a raised platform but it can provide plenty of space for your children to play and hang out with their friends. However, an open tree house is easier to construct when you have a series of several trees in a circle that can help support the structure. If you do not have such an arrangement on your property, you may need to build support posts beneath the platform to compensate for missing trees. A ladder or staircase can be used to provide access to the house. Be sure to include railing all around the platform to ensure your children's safety.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images