Making an elevated hideout for youngsters
A tree house’s design must fit the tree in which it is built; its construction must be flexible enough to give a little when the tree moves in the wind. For a span of 7 feet or less, use 2 x 6’s for the frame, 2 x 4’s for joists and braces, and 1 x 6’s (not plywood) for the floor. Nail floorboards at their ends only.
The easiest treehouse to build is a triangular platform that is secured to the trunk and two limbs of a low-branching tree. Nail the frame with 16d galvanized nails-they shouldn’t hurt a healthy tree if they aren’t driven during the spring, when the sap is running. Make sure that the boards are level. Install joists every 2 feet or so. at right angles to the longest side of the frame. Using 10d galvanized nails, secure the floorboards to the frame so that they run across the joists. Add walls or a railing at least 2 feet high. To build between two limbs, nail two 2 x 6’s to them, making a crossbeam. Assemble the platform on the ground and lift it onto the crossbeam. Brace the corners. Before building between the trunks of two trees, stabilize the trunks; toenail a 4 x 4 snugly between them, then run a cable and turnbuckle as shown. Pad the cable with garden hose to protect the trees.
Nail or hinge a ladder to the platform. not to the tree trunk. Don’t just nail boards to the tree trunk; such a “ladder” is undependable and dangerous.