- Checklist -
Before we get to the treehouse build stage there is a few things you might want to consider while planning your treehouse site.........
Think you're ready to build your own treehouse? Take this quick quiz:
A. Experienced with carpentry and understand the elements of engineering and can build a treehouse.
B. Confused about the difference between a flat-head and Phillips-head screwdriver.
When I look at finished treehouses, I feel:
A. Confident in my ability to pull it off and, if not, I can ask for help.
B. I can knock it out in a weekend.
A treehouse should be:
A. Built methodically, carefully and with the safety of all inhabitants in mind.
B. Sturdy. And if not I'll just hammer a few more nails into the tree.
If you scored B's across the board, swallow your DIY pride and check out our following guide for treehouse builders. Here's how to get started when building a treehouse or before calling a treehouse building company.
The Main Ingredient
Professional treehouse builders may quibble about materials and methods, but they all agree on one thing: You don't pick a tree, the tree picks you. "The trick is not to force a treehouse on a tree," ......"You need a strong tree with good spaces, nice views and a solid overall feel. Like love and good art, you'll know it when you find it."
Got it? Good. Now call an arborist to determine if the tree is the healthiest host for your tree house building project.
Once the tree has been given a clean bill of health, the next step is to find the right space for your treehouse. "Get a ladder or a rope, get up in there and start dreaming," ...... "Look around for a good height with open space and imagine what you can fill those spaces with."
At this point, everything's a possibility, so let your imagination run wild. "On one treehouse you can draw at least 20 versions, from a small shed to pirate ship," ......... "Just start putting your ideas on paper to see what the treehouse idea and designs would look like."
Now things get a bit more technical: Make a detailed map of the location of all the trunks in relation to each other.
"Once you have a map of the trunks, you can play with different locations for your foundation, and where you can connect your beams, Then it's like building a deck, except it up in a tree that'll move in the wind.
Big Moment #1
This is one of the two moments in a treehouse project when you don't want to guess wrong. You're building a floor between—and maybe around—tree trunks, so decide where you can put beams to support the floor, how you can arrange them so they span between good-sized trunks and how to line them up so you can install them with as few attachments to the tree or trees as possible.
If this part of the process makes your brain feel like it's been replaced
by cotton candy...... consult with a treehouse builder.
Big Moment #2
You are choosing the one thing that will not only attach your structure to a tree—a tree that will grow and change and move—but will support everything you put in the tree, including humans big and small.
Many different kinds of hardware can get this job done, but the majority of treehouse builders use a Garnier Limb, or a "specially design bolt that gives you a place to bear your load for the foundation of the treehouse,"....It's an artificial limb because it keeps the wood of the treehouse away from the trunk to prevent rotting, and it also allows for movement.
The Fun Part
You've got your tree, your map and the one thing that holds it all together. From here, It's all just creative imagination.
DIY designs range from open-air decks and simple tree houses to multi-tiered, fully finished spaces complete with windows, doors, slides, secret hiding spaces, rolling roofs, plumbing and electricity (which often powers video gaming systems!). Rectangular or square shapes are always safe bets, and the majority of professional treehouse builders sell custom or pre-made designs for every level of expertise.
You may be alone in a tree in your backyard, but there is help all around you. From books and magazines to the Internet and a country full of consultants who've answered every question imaginable, there's no reason not to reach out if you find yourself stuck between a trunk and a hard place.
The design and construction of a treehouse is similar to a house on the ground, so you have a lot of resources to draw upon. Also DIY builders should take every precaution possible for their safety and the safety of those who will enjoy the treehouse for years to come. Use roofer's scaffolding. Use safety harnesses. Pay close attention while you work and don't rush the process; injuries often happen when builders are in a hurry.
"You're a bit higher than most DIY folks are used to being, and the structure you're perched on will move underneath you from time to time—and not always at the moment or in the direction you anticipate..........But the upside is, it's one heck of a view.
How high should I build a treehouse?
Most arborists advise building a treehouse in the bottom third of a tree where the motion is more controlled. If a five year old can stand over your head, they're in heaven. Don't build any taller than you have to for kids."
How can I do the least amount of damage to the tree possible?
Drilling a hole into a tree is not the kindest thing to do, so do it right and don't do it often. "When you put a Garnier Limb in, it damages the tree.......They don't heal but they compartmentalize the wound and grow around it making it stronger"
How can I ensure my tree stays healthy?
The beauty of trees is that they require little to no care, but you definitely want to show your host tree special attention. Checking on its growth periodically and giving it tree food to combat insects and fungus. If you care for your tree, it'll become your advocate and protector. You're getting the better part of the deal because the tree does all the work."
How much time should I give myself to build a treehouse?
A good rule of thumb is to add one month to the time it would take you to build a shed. If you can do a shed in six weeks, you can do a treehouse in 10 weeks. If it takes you all summer to do a shed, it'll take you a year to build a great treehouse. It always takes longer and costs more than you think........But that's true for any project."
Cant Handle all the details?.....
Well then give us a call or send us an email.......
Prime Time Treehouse Builders
Do I need a building permit to build a tree house? - Check with your local building department.....or call us and we do it!
Some criteria from building departments for cities in california for building treehouses that apply:
1. A tree house is referred to as an accessory structure (incidental to the main dwelling- sheds, greenhouses, pool house, office, tree houses, etc), detached 3' from main dwelling and no kitchen. Attached to a tree or free standing does not alter the applicability as an accessory structure.
2. Any accessory structure less than 120 sq ft does not require a building permit but still must comply with zoning regs. Structures 120 sq ft or greater requires a building permit and counts as lot coverage. Greater than 200 sq ft needs a conditional use permit.
3. Regardless of the above (Bldg permit, CUP), the zoning ordinance applies to any structure in a setback or the buildable area. a. Accessory structures can be no higher than 12' (pretty limiting for a legal tree house). b. Must conform to daylight plane (to preserve privacy, natural sunlight exposure and limit shading n neighboring property). On the side and rear, measured at lot line 8' high and 3:1 slope, there can be no protrusions other than listed exceptions (chimney, incidental features, eves, antenna, etc.)
4. Zoning codes have not been drafted to specifically regulate tree houses--as far as I am aware.