Plans from Treehouse Guides

Self build treehouses and decks for beginners
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Planning the 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 - it is strongly advised to take time to work through the design in advance.

Practical planning

Treehouse brain planning

This 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?

Creating a successful design

Legal planning

An unwelcome and sometimes intrusive service, the legal system of planning regulations and building codes can cause many a head and heartache for would-be treehouse builders. The myriad laws governing building work are generally designed 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.

You will either agree or disagree with how I view treehouses and the law. My impression of a treehouse is that it is a fun exercise - something that takes hard work to build but which will give you a huge sense of achievement and a lasting, useful addition to your 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 web site was because I think treehouses are so great that everyone should have the chance to build one. 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.

Keeping on the right side of the law