Plans from Treehouse Guides

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Plan your build

There are two main types of planning you will need to consider for the construction of your treehouse; the physical design (practical planning) and the red tape you may have to deal with (legal planning). Both are important and can determine whether your treehouse is a good/bad or non-existent one! Practical planning will save you time and money so it's strongly advised that you work through a design in advance.

Practical planning

Treehouse brain planning

This is what most people think of when they imagine treehouse plans, and involves the physical integrity of the treehouse, its safety and the aesthetics of the design. At the beginning of a treehouse project it may seem like yet another hurdle to start creating a design on paper, especially when some amazing treehouses appear so 'organic' and naturally shaped. The reality is that setting out even a few simple sketches gives you a proper idea of the scale and look of the treehouse before you start. Get to know how your treehouse will appear in the tree, draw up some plans and check things over for potential errors. Set out a time scale and a budget for the project.

Designing a treehouse is as much about architecture and aesthetics as anything else. You will want to create a beautiful structure that fits into its settings, but at the same time has sufficient space and is structurally sound. Simplicity is a very important concept in thinking out the shape you want your treehouse to be. Consider a square treehouse with a flat roof—it is essentially a cube and is the simplest fully enclosed treehouse possible. Now imagine adding a sloping roof to this model. Notice how several new angles are introduced for only one alteration. So you must bear in mind that the more 'organic' (or non-square) your treehouse is, the more complicated the cutting list will become.

Why spend time planning?

Create a successful design

Usually unwelcome and sometimes an intrusive service, the legal system of planning regulations and building codes can cause many a headache for would-be treehouse builders. The myriad laws governing building works are meant to provide a uniform and measurable level of safety for occupiers and have, of course, done well to protect people from serious structural failings and health hazards in regular buildings. However, in my communications with other treehouse builders the law has—in every case I can think of—been a hindrance to the builder. In the pursuit of ever more restrictive safety regulations, the inherently unconformist features of a treehouse are widely frowned upon and condemned by officials. This has the unfortunate result of preventing some people from ever starting their own build.

Most people's impression of building a treehouse is as a fun exercise that takes hard work but gives a huge sense of achievement and a lasting, useful addition to their garden. Involving children in various parts of the work teaches them many practical skills and gets them occupied with something creative, rather than television or video games. One of the reasons I started this website was because I think treehouses are so great that everyone should be able to learn to build one. So follow these tips to avoid having your exciting new plans stopped unexpectedly.

Keep on the right side of the law