Tree House Plans
If you are like me, you have had tree house plans since you were a little kid. I have always wanted my own escape high in the trees, away from parents, away from thoughts and pressures of school and studying, performing in sports, and even certain neighborhood kids that seemed to show up at the most inopportune times.
The house I grew up in was small, and the concept, and prospect of privacy was simply non existent with 5 brothers, and sisters. How I longed for somewhere to go, to be alone with my thoughts without being disturbed by anyone. Lacking any trees in our back yard, however, it was left as a dream or a fantasy to have my very own treehouse.
The best I could hope for in having a treehouse, would be to join with some neighborhood buddies, whose folks were willing to let us attempt to build a tree house in their back yard.
We set about the task of finding old boards, crates, plywood, and nails that were left around our streets, or in the back of grocery stores in and around dumpsters, that were nearby.
With little sense or knowledge of planning, we borrowed some tools from our parents, a few hammers, saws, and a ladder, some rope, and we went about the work of setting up a base for our new treehouse.
Once we accomplished that, no easy task mind you for 8 to 11 year olds, we put together some walls with the plywood we had left. A rope was used to send up tools, nails, and what not to the designated builder on the platform, as it could only hold one or two guys at a time at that stage.
We sawed a few openings that passed for windows, and an opening in the floor, fashioned a make shift roof, and put together a ladder with a few ropes.
With some smaller pieces of wood that would serve as steps on the ladder, and we were almost done, at least to our impatient satisfaction.
We also put together a hatch for the floor opening with an old door hinge and an uneven piece of plywood, and we were finished. The rickety rope ladder that was secured by a railroad spike we hammered into the tree, could be pulled up into the treehouse to keep unwanted guests from joining us from down below.
It is a wonder that none of us were injured either in the construction, or the enjoying phase as we encountered more than a few mishaps.
Seems it was a never ending battle of keeping our prized treehouse from falling apart. One day it was soggy wood from rain storms, and the next day it was damage to the structure from rough housing among the guys that called for a quick, creative fix.
This makeshift ensemble that passed as a treehouse lasted all of a few months of a summer between grade school sessions. A combination of unstable construction, too much needed maintenance, and our boredom of going in the treehouse, spelled it’s inevitable doom.
We would have to pass the time again by playing baseball at Fred’s field, or playing pinball at the local bowling alley, if we were able to scrounge up some change.
It was fun to build a treehouse as a child, and have always been fascinated with the possibility even as an adult. Within the last few years, as you are likely aware, there has been a movement towards building tree houses both for children, and adults. In fact, there has been a real resurgence in designing, and constructing tree houses for adults on the properties of many people.
Perhaps there are many others like me that loved either having, or the idea of having a treehouse as a youngster, and the feeling never left them as an adult.
At this point in my life, I would rather pay someone to build a fine treehouse on my property for me, than to attempt to take on such a gargantuan, dangerous task myself.
You well may have seen Pete Nelson, the expert tree house builder, do his thing on television, on HGTV, and possibly elsewhere. Pete is an amazingly talented guy who designs and builds some truly gorgeous, and complex tree houses. You might say, he is a man with tree house plans.
But, before I agree to allow a tree house builder ( I’m sure Pete Nelson is too busy, and expensive ) to put one together on my property, I have some pressing questions.
- What are the costs involved? This is clearly the most important aspect, as I am still building my fortune. ( Just kidding, hardly a fortune ) Turns out that treehouse builds start at $9000 for a very basic kid’s one, to upwards of $500,000 for a mega deluxe adult model. The majority of treehouses for kids run between $10,000 and $30,000. Most adult treehouses that have either a commercial use, or could be used as a bed and breakfast, start in the $40,000 range, and go up from there. Don’t let the costs involved put a damper on your tree house plans.
2. Are tree houses safe? I don’t know about you, but I would sure hate to fork over a large chunk of change, and have my tree house blow over during the next strong windstorm. Especially with me in it. And what about neighboring trees blowing onto the tree house?
Strong wind gusts can damage a tree house structure by forcing walls or roofs apart, especially since wind can get underneath the structure sometimes in ways that houses on the ground are not exposed to.
Close by trees or branches could come off and land on or in the tree house while you or someone else are in it. Or, they could land on the steps and block off your only way to escape.
Lightning is another danger. It can cause trees to explode, which could subject you to the current if you are in the treehouse during the ligtning storm. Not to mention, if it hits a tree that is used as a support for your treehouse, it could cause serious injury or worse to any inhabitants.
Probably best to vacate a treehouse during a strong thunderstorm, or any condition where strong winds are present, if at all possible. So, if you plan to spend any time in a treehouse, have a plan B where you can go in case any of these severe weather happenings appear. You may have tree house plans for a weekend or just an afternoon, but best to be safe than sorry.
3. Will the trees on my land work for a treehouse? I have some trees on my property, but will they suffice as treehouse supports?
Apparently, and not surprisingly, hardwood trees work the best for treehouses. Not knowing how to differentiate as to tree hardness, it’s best to know which tree types work the best, and which do not. It is then up to me to find out the tree types that I have.
Obviously, you don’t want to use a tree that is dead, or is declining, no matter the type.
Best trees for treehouses: sugar maple, oak, apple, hickory, monkey pod
Worst trees for treehouses: birch, sassafras, cottonwood, willow, spruce
4. Is it difficult to put electric, and plumbing in my treehouse? Is it even possible? Would sure like to have a kitchen, and a bathroom, and the ability to listen to music, and watch television.
Electric apparently is not a problem for treehouses. The lines can be run above ground like wires to your house, on the ground, or in the ground through conduit.
Plumbing, on the other hand, is a different animal. Because treehouses usually move in the wind, the plumbing pipes going to and from them will move too. If they are not designed to move with the treehouse, they will break, causing costly repairs, or replacement.
PEX tubing is one type of flex pipe for your supply lines, and flexible Fernco fittings on the drain lines will decrease the chances of your pipes breaking when the winds are blowing.
Pipes that are exposed to the elements can freeze. It is important to thoroughly insulate all exposed piping to prevent this. There is also the issue of hiding the big ugly drain/sewer pipes. It is possible to do this by running the piping under stair ways, ladders, and framing.
You should utilize the services of licensed electricians, and plumbers to ensure that you are doing things within established code, and in the safest, and most professional way possible.
Armed with this knowledge, albeit limited, I am now able and willing to take on the project of having a treehouse built on my property. All I have to do now is find a reputable, and experienced tree house builder in my area, with his own set of tree house plans.
With any luck, I will be enjoying some tree house plans of my own for the first time in my life by this time next year.
I have tree house plans, how about you?
I may change my name to Tarzan.
See you in the trees!