The treehouse year
If you are about to build your treehouse, there are certain building and maintenance tasks that need to be carried out throughout the year. Most of these can be done at any time, but some are best done during a particular season. Treehouse building activity around the world tends to peak in spring (April-May) as the weather warms up, but if you are planning a new build you should get started earlier. The months shown below apply to the northern hemisphere.
It's cold, dark and wet outside but there are plenty of tasks that can be completed during the winter months. This is the one part of the year when trees are dormant, and most trees and vegetation will have lost their leaves.
- Photograph the branch structure of your tree and visualise where your treehouse will be placed.
- Remove any excess ground vegetation, allowing access by foot or vehicle as needed later in the year.
- Prune any branches that are dead, dying or in the way of your structure. This is best done between December and February.
- Spend the dark evenings inside planning your design. The more detail you go into at this stage, the easier the construction will be.
- Work out where to position safety ropes and pulleys.
- Order materials and tools.
- If weather conditions are safe to work in, this is the best time of year to fix bolts for the foundation of the treehouse when trees are still dormant.
Vegetation bursts into life and trees begin to open new leaves.
- Fix the foundation of the treehouse if you haven't done so already.
- Build the floor platform.
- Load the floor with test weights and leave for a couple of weeks.
- Prepare the walls and roof of the treehouse at ground level, preferably inside. Keep things small enough to be safely raised and positioned.
- Start building the remainder of the treehouse.
Long, warm days and drier weather make this the best time to build the house section of the treehouse on the prepared and tested floor.
- Complete the treehouse.
- Relax and enjoy the view.
The treehouse can still be used in fine weather, but preparations need to be made before winter sets in. High winds can be particularly damaging.
- Make the most of the view as the leaves change colour.
- Check the waterproofing of the roof using a large bucket of water and repair any leaks.
- Inspect the supports and sliding joints to ensure they are working as expected.
- Remove any loose materials from the roof (cones, branches) and from any decks you may have.
- Stay out of the treehouse in stormy weather.
- Drain any pipework (October-November) to avoid frost damage during winter.
- Remove any ropes or bridges that might constrict the growth of the tree. Replace these in a different position the following year.