Building a Children’s Treehouse

The childhood dream of having a treehouse is something we never entirely get over and somehow pass to the next generation. Having a one of a kind playhouse in the sky is a childhood experience cherished for many years to come. If you’re lucky enough to have some great trees in your backyard, there’s a good chance your kids will ask to build a treehouse they can call their fort.

Treehouses in the backyard or the front yard are a way to give your kids a space of their own, where they can spend time exploring, creating and making childhood memories. By taking charge of the building process, you’ll be sure that your treehouse is safe and aesthetically pleasing. You can also be sure to add on unique equipment like slides, bridges, or ladders as your kids and family grows!

Take a look around

One of the biggest things you’ll want to consider when planning and building a treehouse is where you’ll start building exactly. You want to make the right choice when it comes to the tree itself and the surrounding area.

Choose a healthy, long-lived, and hardwood tree for maximum support and that it sports load-bearing branches that are at least 8 inches in diameter. You’ll want to find larger load-bearing branches if it’s a softwood tree.

The best trees for a treehouse are maple, oak, fir, beech, and hemlock trees. They don’t have to be the tallest trees in the forest either! You want to build your treehouse high enough off the ground so that no one hits their head when running around your yard but not so high that it can become dangerous.

Keep weight and stability in mind

Building up off the ground brings a whole host of issues and problems that can quickly arise. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so rather than picking up the pieces after you’ve spent time and energy building, look ahead and plan for the weight and stability.

Building a Children's Treehouse

Start by building your treehouse’s platform as close to the trunk of the tree as possible and add any diagonal bracing necessary to support uneven loads. You’ll also want to put the load over the tree’s base rather than on one side.

If you’re building a large, heavy treehouse, you might need to spread the treehouse’s weight across several trees. If you’re building on just one main trunk, level the platform by cantilevering the beams and then supporting them from below to keep it safe for everyone.

In an area with high winds, a treehouse will act like a sailboat ripping out the tree and the treehouse in no time. To keep that from happening on some dark and stormy night, build your kid’s treehouse in the lower third of the tree. That will keep the center of gravity low and the wind blowing over the top of the treehouse.

Building a Children's Treehouse

Don’t restrict tree growth

As you build, avoid tree growth restriction. Leave gaps around the tree to accommodate tree movement and growth. Be careful not to constrict branches with ropes, straps, or wire that can eventually strangle the tree.

Building with extra-long large bolts leaves the shaft exposed so you can mount items on the ends and let the tree grow over the shaft. To keep your treehouse safe and there for a long time, it’s an excellent investment to keep the tree healthy!

Keep it level

The larger your treehouse grows and expands, the harder it can be to keep it stable. To help the process along, center the treehouse’s load over the trunk of the tree and spread the weight along a few different branches. Keeping the floor level will make it much easier to build the rest of the treehouse, and it will reliably support the entire weight of the structure.

Build on the ground and lift them up

Always build from the ground up. Instead of climbing up in a tree and building everything in the air, get started on the ground! Build large sections of the treehouse on the ground and then hoist them into position within the tree branches.

Use the right right fastners

Choosing the right fasteners plays into the safety of the treehouse and the health of the tree. Pick out and use flexible supports so if you’re connecting to more than one tree, the trees can move with the wind. Floating brackets allow the tree to sway with the wind instead of holding it stiffly and creating the possibility of it breaking.

Use as few bolts and fasteners as possible. One larger bolt is better than a bunch of screws or nails. It’ll make the work easier on you, give you the same strength, and create fewer puncture wounds to the tree. You can also put your treehouse on top of fasteners instead of pinning the beams to the tree, which will allow the tree room to move and grow without causing massive damage over time.

Fun attachments

The central part of your treehouse will take the bulk of your time and effort, but the best part of any treehouse is the cool and fun attachments that come afterward! These types of extensions can be built and added over time as your kids grow and their interests change.

Some of the most fun accessories and attachments are slides for exits, zip lines between points within the yard, rope swings, bridges, water cannons, and anything else your imagination can dream up! Let your kids help you plan and build their treehouse, so their input is heard and expressed in all of the cool things you add to your backyard hideaway!


Building a treehouse is every kid’s backyard dream! Whether you’re building a huge one that will sleep all of their cousins and friends, or you’re making a small, simple hideaway, the possibilities are endless. Before you start building your treehouse, make sure all safety precautions are taken and that your selected tree is sturdy enough to withstand all the construction. Build for the future by allowing the tree to continue to grow and sway throughout the years. Let your imagination run wild! Add accessories and attachments to the treehouse that will grow and change with your kids interests and hobbies! Invest some time and effort into your backyard treehouse, and you’ll have a yard feature that will last for generations!

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