The first summer we lived in Mississippi, my wife and I decided we wanted to build a tree house for our niece and nephew. We had three acres of land with lots of trees. They were all kinds and being in the south, they changed colors and dropped their leaves. Plus, it seemed like it would be a fun project to work on together. All of us as a family, grandparents helped out, aunts and uncles. Had we known how hot it got around there we maybe would have planned it better ha ha.
We looked online at designs and decided to use the tree house from the movie Tarzan as inspiration. Keep in mind this isn't an instructional on how to build a house way up in a tree, but just to maybe give you some ideas or inspiration.
As a kid, I had always wanted something cool, elaborate, elevated and aloft. What kid wouldn't want a tree house or fort like this? This also probably helped in choosing the inspiration or design, something just really neat.
Alas, I was never fortunate enough to have one. We, me and my friends, did have several tree forts, just not necessarily houses. We actually had bunches of forts strategically located throughout the neighborhood and city. We had one or two underground ones, a few up in trees, a lot of them in the deep woods.
Some had rope swings and secret paths to get to them and there were always feuds of some sort going on between rival forts. The threat always seemed to exist that someone was trying to wreck your fort. Had to remain vigilant.
The most elaborate tree fort I ever owned was one I built myself. It wasn't a house but it was about 10-15 feet up in a tree. I laid a bunch of boards as slats across a few branches. There were spots where boards could lay down and make a floor or seats. This was a cool thing about Washington, so many trees to choose from. The cedar branches bent and curved, easy for climbing but bad for nailing. You wanted straight branches.
My Dad always had this drawing of a fort he was going to build for me and my sister. But that too never happened. I still remember bits and pieces of it, the drawing. One side of it had a tire swing coming off of it, another had a huge telephone pole he planned on sinking in the dirt and attaching a climbing rope. Lofty goals. Again, this is probably why we had to make sure that this project got done for the niece and nephew, and cousins.
Anyways, after some discussion, we picked out a big oak tree with thick branches that wasn't too tall. Strong like bull right?
Our first trip to the hardware store, we purchased lumber, saws, and a nail gun to make the process easier. Never hurts to have an excuse to buy tools right?
We also purchased netting for the underside, just like the tree house in the movie. Thankfully I wasn't the one needing to pay attention to these details. I was mainly a construction person.
We ended up borrowing a circular saw from a neighbor to make cutting the wood easier, and we bought tons of sand paper to sand down the rough edges. Rough edges on lumber isn't your only safety concern when building something like this, or anything for that matter.
It took the better part of two weeks to get the house put together, and then we painted it and furnished it with a little table, some chairs, and some older board games for the kids to play with. Not sure if the board games ever really got touched except for the overnight camp outs. It was always too much fun for them to go up and down, or try to hide. We even added a secret door that led to a small room with chalk board walls.
It was an awesome project and we had a ton of fun with it. This was several years ago and we no longer live on that property. Always wondered what happened to it. Is it still standing? Did it crumble away and start to fall down? Tree houses and forts are like the old barns and farmhouses that eventually wilt and sag to the ground.
So make some memories. Build something together that your kids can write and talk about 20 years from now. What are you waiting for?