In this day of electronics and video games, children are spending less time outdoors and more time inside. Stimulate imaginations and provide a personal space for youngsters with a treehouse overlooking the garden. Although treehouse designs vary widely in both cost and complexity, a quaint, yet alluring treehouse is a manageable project for the homeowner who has some basic carpentry skills. Integrating your treehouse design into the existing landscape works well if you have a few stout and sturdy trees. Kids will love the privacy of their new garden treehouse, and there is just something fun about having space to call your own.
Prep Work - Select a tree with large and sturdy limbs growing low to the ground. The tree needs to be surrounded by flat ground in order to construct a level floor for the tree house.
Form an 8-by-8 foot square with garden stakes and string. Mark each corner of the square with a bit of spray paint. These will be the locations for installing the posts.
Use a post hole digger to dig a 3 foot deep hole at each spray paint mark. Shovel 6 inches of gravel into the bottom of the holes. The gravel will keep water from pooling under the posts and causing them to rot.
Measure and mark a location on each fence post 4 feet from the ground. Make the mark large enough to be clearly seen from on the face of the posts.
Construction - Place a 4-by-4 fence post in one of the post holes. Mix a batch of quick-drying concrete, according to the package instructions. Ask an assistant hold the post vertical while you pour quick-drying concrete around the post into the hole. Repeat for each of the remaining three posts. Allow the posts to set in for at least 24 hours before continuing with the construction process.
Place a 2-by-6 board horizontally across the front faces of two of the posts. Adjust the board, so it is even with the marks made on the two posts. Screw the board in place using three wood screws on each post. Repeat this process on the remaining three open spaces between posts. Install each of the boards even with each other.
Trim any small branches or twigs of the tree that may be in the way of construction or play. Try to avoid cutting large limbs, as these can be used to help support the tree house.
Lay a 2-by-6-board flat across two of the previous installed 2-by-6 boards. Arrange the board so that it is horizontal with the two 2-by-6 boards it is not touching. Screw it to the boards it is touching, and screw it to any tree branches it may cross. This is the first piece of flooring. Continue to install flooring in the same manner, leaving a 1/4 inch between each board.
Place a panel of deck railing across two of the posts, above the tree house floor. Adjust the panel so that it is even on the flooring boards. Screw the panel to the portion of the two posts that stick up above the flooring. Repeat on each side of the tree house.
Cut a small portion of the railings out of one of the railing panels. This will be an opening for the entrance to the tree house. Lean a ladder against the tree house so the top is in line with the opening. Screw the ladder in place by attaching it to the sides of the floor boards. Sand all rough areas of the tree house, railing and ladder.