How to build tree forts


How to Build a DIY Treehouse

Project details

Skill

5 out of 5 Hard Installing the decking is easy, but the framing is challenging.

Cost

$1,787

Estimated Time

Two days

Kids will pass the time in nearly any backyard for a little while. Add a tree fort and you introduce an element of adventure that will keep them playing until the streetlights flicker on. That’s how Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House, remembers his childhood. And it’s why he took charge of building a fort for Katherine and Murat Bicer, the owners of 2015’s project house in Belmont, Massachusetts.

“When my dad brought plywood scraps home from job sites, we added them to any of the neighborhood forts we had going,” Kevin says. He built a tree house for his own kids but points out that a simple platform provides plenty of fun: “All they really want to do is climb up, look down, and throw things at each other.

Kevin and TOH general contractor Tom Silva built the platform for the Bicers’ son and daughter out of pressure-treated wood, and supported it with specialty hardware that requires just four holes through the tree’s vital cambium layer. Follow along as they show you how to create a distraction awesome enough that the kids might even forget about screen time.

Watch the full episode here.

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Gregory Nemec

How to Build a DIY Treehouse

1. Drill the Holes

Anthony Tieuli
  • Mark the bark about 17 inches below the finished deck height on one side of the tree. Use a 3-inch self-feed bit to bore into the trunk 2 inches past the bark layer.
  • Drill a second hole directly opposite the first.

2. Screw in the Hardware

Anthony Tieuli
  • Using a 1 1/8-inch auger bit, drill 2 inches into the middle of the first hole; make sure it’s level.
  • Then use a 1-inch auger bit to drill another hole 4 1/2 inches deep to accept the threads of the tree bolt.
  • Slip the pipe bracket that will support the framing onto the tree bolt, cap it with a hex nut, as shown, and twist the threaded end into the hole with a 1 7/8-inch socket wrench (or a pipe wrench). Repeat the process on the opposite side.

3. Install the Beams

Anthony Tieuli
  • Make a beam by joining a pair of 2x10s with construction adhesive and 16d ring-shank nails.
  • Slide the beam onto the pipe bracket, as shown, and center it. Attach the bracket to the beam with 4-inch structural screws.
  • Level the beam using a 4-foot level, then brace it by driving 2-inch deck screws through 2x4s or deck boards and into each end of the beam. Repeat the process for the beam on the opposite side of the tree.

4. Add Headers

Anthony Tieuli
  • Attach joist hangers a few inches inside the ends of the beams with 1 1⁄2-inch joist hanger nails.
  • Make a short beam with more 2x10s to fit in the hangers. Nestle the header in the joist hanger and nail it in place with more joist hanger nails, as shown. Repeat at the opposite ends of the beams.

5. Size the Knee Brace

Anthony Tieuli
  • A specialty bracket and 4x6 timber support the end of the beam assembly. Use a rafter square to hold the bracket at a 45° angle to the tree, as shown.
  • Pull the tape measure from the metal tab to the underside of the header to get a rough length. Repeat this step on the other side of the tree.

6. Form the Bird’s Mouth

Anthony Tieuli
  • Start by making a mark on the board face 2 1⁄4 inches up from the bottom edge of the 4x6.
  • Rest the shoulder of the rafter square against the bottom edge with the 45° angle facing the board end. Draw a 45° line from the mark to the bottom edge.
  • Flip the square over with its shoulder against the opposite edge and the angle facing the end. From the mark, make a second line along the angle to the top edge, creating an angled L, called a bird’s mouth, on the face of the timber. Start the cut along the lines with a circular saw, then finish with a reciprocating saw, as shown.
  • Now measure from the corner of the L and cut the timber to length.

7. Cut a Bracket Slot

Anthony Tieuli
  • The knee-brace bracket rests in a slot cut into the end of the 4x6. To make the joint, use the rafter square to mark the center of the end of the 4x6.
  • Then use a circular saw or chainsaw to cut a 3⁄8-inch-wide channel in the timber as long as the tab on the bracket. Make a second knee brace following these same steps.

8. Add the Lags

Anthony Tieuli
  • Hold the knee-brace bracket against the face of the 4x6 at the slotted end and mark the two bolt holes.
  • Use a 5⁄8-inch bit to drill through the timber. Slip the bracket into the slot, hammer the lag bolts through, as shown, then add washers and nuts.
  • Tighten the nuts with an adjustable wrench. Repeat for the second brace.

9. Connect Brace to Header

Anthony Tieuli
  • Toenail 2x8 joists 16 inches on center to the carrying beams with ring-shank nails to create an 8-by-10-foot framework. Use hurricane ties to reinforce the joist–beam connections.
  • Lift the header about an inch with a 4x6 and a bottle jack—you’ll remove it to put tension on the brace once it’s installed.
  • Hold the brace in place with the bird’s mouth biting the header. Drive a pair of 6-inch structural screws through the outside of the header and into the 4x6, as shown.

10. Bolt Hardware to the Tree

Anthony Tieuli
  • Hold the end of the knee-brace bracket to the tree. Using the metal tube as a guide, drill an 8-inch-deep hole into the tree with a 1 1⁄4-inch auger bit.
  • Thread a 15-inch galvanized lag bolt into place and tighten it with a socket wrench. Leave a few inches between the bracket and the bolt head to accommodate tree growth.
  • Now lower the jack and repeat the process on the other side of the tree.

11. Attach the Decking

Anthony Tieuli
  • Place a piece of full-length decking 3 inches from the tree, to allow for growth, and hammer ring-shank nails through it into each joist.
  • Work out toward the edge of the framework, using the same nails as spacers between boards. Stop about a foot from the joist ends.

12. Scribe the Short Pieces

Anthony Tieuli
  • Now work in the other direction, installing the boards interrupted by the tree. Scribe the ends to follow the contour of the bark, as shown.
  • Cut the marks with a jigsaw, and attach the boards, again leaving 3 inches for growth.
  • Install all the interrupted pieces, then continue laying full-length boards, stopping a foot shy of the joist ends.
  • With the decking in place, trim the ends of the boards with the jigsaw, creating a natural edge.

Tip: To accurately scribe the boards that run into the tree trunk, hold the compass so its legs are parallel with the joint in the boards.

13. Install Blocking

Anthony Tieuli
  • For the corner posts, nail 2x8 blocking about 8 inches in from the joist ends of the first and last joist bays on the long sides.
  • Add blocking for two field posts evenly spaced between the corners. The rail posts are made from straight branches 4 to 6 inches in diameter.
  • Make corner posts by cutting a 7 1⁄4-inch-long notch into one side of a branch with a reciprocating saw, as shown.

14. Attach Posts

Anthony Tieuli
  • Position a corner post with the notch against the joist and shoulder on the decking, and drive a pair of 10-inch structural screws through the post and into the blocking, as shown. Repeat with the remaining corners and field posts for the long sides.
  • Now notch the last deck boards to fit around the posts and install them.

15. Finish the Ends

Anthony Tieuli
  • On the short sides, plan for one field post between the corner posts. Notch all four sides of the field posts with a reciprocating saw.
  • Hold a post in place on top of the decking, mark around the notch, then cut a mortise with a jigsaw.
  • Drop the field post in the hole, as shown. Use 10-inch screws to attach the post to the side of the joist.

16. Add the Rails

Anthony Tieuli
  • Use a reciprocating saw to cut the field posts about 3 feet tall and notch their tops for a half-lap joint.
  • Find one long top rail that spans corner to corner and notch its ends to complete a half-lap joint with the posts.
  • Then notch the rail’s underside where it meets the field posts with shallow saw cuts and a chisel.
  • Drive deck screws through the top rail and into the posts.
  • Attach the bottom rail in sections between the corner and field posts.

17. Finish the Railing

Anthony Tieuli
  • Miter the ends of 2-inch-diameter branches to make balusters.
  • Drill pilot holes through the mitered ends and into the top rail and attach with deck screws, as shown. Screw the other end of the balusters into the bottom rail. For safety reasons, space the balusters about 3 1⁄2 inches apart.
  • Attach the cargo netting to the fort with eye hooks and secure the other end using stakes.

Tip: Use a scrap piece of 2x4 to help space the balusters consistently.


Tools

Tools & Materials

DIY Treehouse Ideas and Helpful Building Tips

Advice and tips for building, attaching and furnishing your home in the treetops. Learn how to build a treehouse from experienced builders.

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Maremagnum/Getty Images

Where Should You Build a Treehouse?

When thinking about treehouse ideas, take stock of the trees in your yard. Choose a healthy, long-lived hardwood for maximum support, with load-bearing branches at least eight inches in diameter (larger if the species is a softwood). The best trees include maple, oak, fir, beech, and hemlock. It doesn’t need to be too high, just high enough so nobody bumps their head when walking underneath it.

Does building a treehouse seem like biting off more than you can chew?

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Photo courtesy of Sean Milroy

Keep Weight and Stability in Mind

While it’s easy to get carried away with cool treehouse ideas, building a house in a tree brings with it certain physical limitations. Here are some structural things to keep in mind while designing your DIY treehouse:

  • Build the platform as close to the trunk as possible, and add diagonal bracing for extra strength to support uneven loads.
  • Put the load over the base of the tree, not on one side.
  • For heavy tree houses, consider spreading the weight among several trees.
  • A tree house will act like a sail in strong winds, adding a large load to the tree’s roots. In high-wind areas, build your tree house in the lower third of the tree.
  • When building on one main trunk, level the main platform by cantilevering the beams and supporting them from below.

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Family Handyman

Don’t Restrict Tree Growth

  • Leave gaps around the tree.
  • To accommodate tree movement and growth, allow gaps around any branches or trunks that penetrate the tree house.
  • Don’t constrict branches with rope, straps or wire. This can strangle the tree.
  • Add spacers between the beams and the tree to allow movement.
  • Use extra-long large bolts. This leaves most of the shaft exposed so you can mount items on the ends and lets the tree grow over the shaft.
  • Allow a two-inch gap around the tree if it passes through the floor and a three-inch gap if it passes through the roof (see photo).

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Family Handyman

How To Level a Treehouse Floor

To keep a large tree house stable, center the load over the trunk and spread the weight among several branches.

It’s much easier to build the rest of the structure if the floor is level and can support the entire weight of the tree house. Consider these methods when generating DIY treehouse ideas:

  • Lay beams across the branches and shim until level.
  • Run the beams between trunks of different trees.
  • Cantilever the beams out from a single trunk and support them from above or below.

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Family Handyman

Build Sections on the Ground First

It’s easier and safer to fabricate the main sections on the ground and then hoist them into position. If branches penetrate areas of the tree house, complete the construction up in the trees.

“I assembled the platform and house on the ground, then disassembled them,” said expert Bob Lackey. “After attaching the supports to the trees, I lifted the platform piece by piece and assembled it on the supports. An extra set of hands was needed only to raise the four walls and two roof sections. Final assembly took place in the trees.”

Take a look at these great-looking kids room ideas for inspiration.

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Family Handyman

Use the Right Fasteners

  • Allow for flexible supports, especially if you use more than one tree, so that trees can move in the wind. Special floating brackets allow the tree to sway.
  • Don’t run bolts through the tree. Lag bolts cause less tree damage than through bolts.
  • Don’t use too many fasteners. One large bolt is better than many screws or nails. You get the same strength but with fewer puncture wounds to the tree.
  • Whenever possible, perch your tree house on top of fasteners rather than pinning beams to the tree. This gives the tree room to move and grow.
  • Even for smaller, lighter tree houses where the load is spread over three or four attachment points, consider using one inch or 1-1/4 in. dia. lag bolts.

You can order floating brackets and tree house fasteners from specialty suppliers such as garnierlimbs.com or treehousesupplies.com or special-order them from home centers. These bolts are pricey (about $100 each) and often require special tools. But they allow the tree more room to grow (they can support heavy loads up to five inches from the tree) and they hold more weight than normal bolts.

Let your kid feel like a spy with these awesome spy gadget toys.

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Photo courtesy of Barbarabutler.com

Cool Treehouse Accessories You Can Buy (Or Make Yourself)

Don’t forget the accessories with your treehouse ideas! Just a couple of finishing touches turn a “box up in a tree” into the ultimate fort and hang-out zone.

Here are some accessories that go great with a treehouse:

  • Ball/potato launcher
  • Water cannon
  • Fire pole or slide
  • Trap door
  • Solar-powered lights or lanterns
  • Fold-down benches and tables.

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Family Handyman

Be Conscious of Treehouse Safety Issues

Building a treehouse is a wonderfully whimsical and romantic idea. But it’s important to go into it with your eyes open. Keep the following issues in mind:

Tree Damage

Tree houses do damage trees. Foot traffic compresses the soil, which is bad for the roots. Adding weight in the branches can also stress the tree roots, and fasteners can cause infection. Most trees will survive this abuse, but think twice before you build in a treasured tree.

How To Minimize Tree Damage
  • Consider using one or two supports ground to take stress off the tree.
  • Make the fewest punctures necessary to support the tree house safely. Any damage to the bark of the tree is a potential entry point for disease and bacteria.
  • Don’t put fasteners too close together, which can weaken that section of the tree. Use at least 3/4 in. bolts spaced at least 18 in. apart vertically and 12 in. apart horizontally.
  • Avoid slinging cables and ropes over branches. They cut through the bark as the structure moves.

Neighborhood Concerns and Municipal Regulations

Do you need a building permit? It depends on local laws and the nature of your treehouse. If you’re considering building one that will be visible to your neighbors, discuss it with them in advance to avoid problems. Often a municipality becomes involved after a neighbor complains. Stay away from boundary lines and don’t build your tree house where it will infringe on a neighbor’s privacy.

Injuries

Kids can get hurt playing in a treehouse. Don’t build higher than eight feet and make sure to build safe, strong rails. Also, nobody should be in a tree house in high winds or lightning.

Check out these incredible treehouse building plans to get started.

Originally Published: June 18, 2020

How to Build a Medieval Castle / Sudo Null IT News

The Norman Conquest of England led to a boom in castle building, but building a fortress from scratch is far from easy.


Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, founded in 1385

1) Choose your site carefully.

Castles were usually built on natural elevations, and were usually equipped with a link to the external environment, such as a ford, bridge or passage.

Historians have rarely been able to find evidence of contemporaries regarding the choice of a site for the construction of the castle, but still they exist. On September 30, 1223, 15-year-old King Henry III arrived in Montgomery with his army. The king, who had successfully led a military campaign against the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, was going to build a new castle in this area to ensure security on the border of his possessions. The English carpenters had been given the task of preparing the timber a month earlier, but the king's advisers had only just now determined the site for the construction of the castle.


Montgomery Castle, when it was started in 1223, was located on a hill

After a careful survey of the area, they chose a point on the very edge of the ledge above the valley of the River Severn. According to the chronicler Roger of Wendover, this position "looked unassailable to anyone". He also noted that the castle was created "for the security of the region from the frequent attacks of the Welsh."

Tip : identify places where the topography rises above traffic routes: these are natural places for castles. Keep in mind that the design of the castle is determined by the place of construction. For example, a castle on a ledge of exposed rocks will have a dry moat.

2) Make a workable plan

You will need a master mason who can draw plans. An engineer knowledgeable in weapons will also come in handy.

Experienced soldiers may have their own ideas about the design of the castle, in terms of the shape of its buildings and their location. But it is unlikely that they will have the knowledge of the level of specialists in design and construction.

To implement the idea, a master mason was needed - an experienced builder, whose distinguishing feature was the ability to draw a plan. With a grasp of practical geometry, he used simple tools such as straightedge, square, and compasses to create architectural plans. Master masons submitted a drawing with a building plan for approval, and during construction supervised its construction.


When Edward II ordered the construction of a tower at Knarsborough, he personally approved the plans and demanded reports on the construction

approved the plan created by the London master mason Hugh Tichmarshevsky - probably made in the form of a drawing - but also required regular reports on the construction. From the middle of the 16th century, a new group of professionals called engineers increasingly began to take on a role in planning and building fortifications. They had technical knowledge of the use and power of cannons, both for defense and for attacking castles.

Hint : Plan slits for a wide angle of attack. Shape them according to the weapon you are using: longbow archers need large slopes, crossbowmen need smaller ones.

3) Hire a large group of experienced workers

You will need thousands of people. And not all of them will come of their own free will.

It took a lot of effort to build the castle. We do not have documentary evidence of the construction of the first castles in England since 1066, but from the scale of many castles of that period it becomes clear why some chronicles claim that the English were under the yoke of building castles for their Norman conquerors. But from the later time of the Middle Ages, some estimates with detailed information have come down to us.

During the invasion of Wales in 1277, King Edward I began building a castle in Flint, northeast Wales. It was erected quickly, thanks to the rich resources of the crown. A month after the start of work, in August, 2300 people were involved in the construction, including 1270 diggers, 320 lumberjacks, 330 carpenters, 200 masons, 12 blacksmiths and 10 charcoal burners. All of them were driven from the surrounding lands under an armed escort who watched so that they did not desert from the construction.

From time to time, foreign specialists could be involved in the construction. For example, millions of bricks for the rebuilding of Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire in the 1440s were supplied by a certain Baldwin "Docheman", or Dutchman, that is, "Dutchman" - obviously a foreigner.

Advice : Depending on the size of the workforce and the distance they traveled, they may need to be accommodated on site.

4) Secure the construction site

An unfinished castle in enemy territory is very vulnerable to attacks.

To build a castle in enemy territory, you need to protect the construction site from attacks. For example, you can enclose the construction site with wooden fortifications or a low stone wall. Such medieval defense systems sometimes remained after the construction of the building as an additional wall - as, for example, in the castle of Beaumaris, the construction of which was begun in 1295.


Beaumaris (English Beaumaris, Val. Biwmares) is a city on the island of Anglesey, Wales.

Secure communication with the outside world is also important for the delivery of building materials and provisions. In 1277, Edward I dug a canal to the river Kluid directly from the sea and to the location of his new castle in Rydlane. The outer wall, built to protect the construction site, extended to the piers on the banks of the river.


Rydlan Castle

Security problems can also arise during a major rebuilding of an existing castle. When Henry II rebuilt Dover Castle in the 1180s, all work was carefully planned so that the fortifications provided protection for the duration of the renovation. According to surviving decrees, work on the inner wall of the castle began only when the tower was already sufficiently repaired so that guards could be on duty in it.

Advice : building materials for the construction of the castle are large and voluminous. If possible, it's best to transport them by water, even if that means building a dock or canal.

5) Prepare the landscape

When building a castle, you may have to move an impressive amount of land, which is not cheap.

It is often forgotten that the fortifications of the castle were built not only through architectural techniques, but also through landscape design. Enormous resources were allocated for the movement of land. The scale of land works of the Normans can be recognized as outstanding. For example, according to some estimates, the embankment erected in 1100 around Pleshy Castle in Essex required 24,000 man-days.

Some aspects of landscaping required serious skills, especially the creation of moats. When Edward I rebuilt the Tower of London in the 1270s, he hired a foreign specialist, Walter of Flanders, to create a huge tidal moat. Digging the ditch under his direction cost £4,000, a staggering amount, almost a quarter of the cost of the entire project.


An 18th-century engraving of the plan of the Tower of London from 1597 shows how much land had to be moved to build moats and ramparts.

With the rise of cannons in the art of sieges, the earth has become even more important as an absorber of cannon shots. Interestingly, experience in moving large amounts of land has led some of the fortification engineers to find work as garden designers.

Advice : Save time and money by digging out the masonry for the castle walls from the moats around it.

6) Lay the foundation

Carefully implement the mason's plan.

Using ropes of the required length and pegs, it was possible to mark the foundation of the building on the ground in full size. After the foundation ditches were dug, work began on the masonry. To save money, the responsibility for construction was assigned to the senior mason instead of the master mason. Masonry in the Middle Ages was usually measured in rods, one English rod = 5.03 m. At Warkworth in Northumberland, one of the complex towers stands on a lattice of rods, possibly for the purpose of calculating construction costs.


Warkworth Castle

Medieval castles were often built with detailed documentation. In 1441-42 the tower of Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire was demolished and a plan for its successor was drawn up on the ground. But the Prince of Stafford, for some reason, was not pleased. The king's master stonemason, Robert of Westerley, was sent to Tutbury, where he held a conference with two senior masons to design a new tower at the new site. Westerley then left, and over the next eight years a small group of workers, including four junior masons, built the new tower.

Senior masons could be called in to certify the quality of work, as was the case at Cooling Castle in Kent when the king's stonemason Heinrich Jewel assessed work completed from 1381 to 1384. He criticized the deviations from the original plan and rounded the estimate down.

Tip : Don't let the master mason fool you. Make him make a plan so that it is easy to make an estimate for it.

7) Fortify your castle

Finish with complex fortifications and specialized timber structures.

Until the 12th century, the fortifications of most castles consisted of earth and logs. And although stone buildings were subsequently given preference, wood remained a very important material in medieval wars and fortifications.

Stone castles were prepared for attacks by adding special battle galleries along the walls, as well as shutters that could close the gaps between battlements to protect the defenders of the castle. All this was made of wood. Heavy weapons used to defend the castle, catapults and heavy crossbows, springalds, were also built of wood. Artillery was usually designed by a highly paid professional carpenter, sometimes with the title of engineer, from the Latin "ingeniator".


Storming of the castle, 15th century drawing

Such experts were not cheap, but as a result could be worth their weight in gold. This, for example, happened in 1266, when Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire resisted Henry III for almost six months with catapults and water defenses.

There are records of camping castles made entirely of wood - they could be transported and erected as needed. One such was built for the French invasion of England in 1386, but the Calais garrison captured it along with the ship. It was described as consisting of a wall of logs 20 feet high and 3,000 paces long. There was a 30-foot tower every 12 paces, capable of housing up to 10 soldiers, and the castle also had an unspecified defense for archers.

Tip : Oak wood becomes stronger with age and is easiest to work with when it is green. The top branches of trees are easy to transport and shape.

8) Provide water and sanitation

Don't forget "amenities". You will appreciate them in case of a siege.

Efficient access to water was the most important aspect for the castle. These could be wells that supply water to certain buildings, such as a kitchen or a stable. Without a detailed acquaintance with the medieval well shafts, it is difficult to do justice to them. For example, in Beeston Castle in Cheshire there is a well 100 m deep, the upper 60 m of which are lined with hewn stone.

There is some evidence of complex plumbing that brought water to the apartments. The tower of Dover Castle has a system of lead pipes that delivers water throughout the rooms. She was fed from a well with a winch, and possibly from a rainwater harvesting system.

Efficient disposal of human waste was another challenge for lock designers. The latrines were assembled in one place in the buildings so that their shafts were emptied in one place. They were located in short corridors that trap unpleasant odors, and were often equipped with wooden seats and removable covers.


Chipchase Thinking Room

It is commonly believed today that closets used to be called "cloakrooms". In fact, the lexicon for toilets was extensive and colorful. They were called gongs or gangs (from the Anglo-Saxon word for "a place to go"), nooks and jakes (the French version of "john").

Tip : Ask a master mason to plan comfortable and private latrines outside the bedroom, following the example of Henry II and Dover Castle.

9) Decorate as needed

The castle not only had to be well-guarded - its inhabitants, having a high status, demanded a certain glamor.

During the war, the castle must be defended - but it also serves as a luxurious home. The noble gentlemen of the Middle Ages expected their dwelling to be both comfortable and richly furnished. In the Middle Ages, these citizens traveled with servants, things and furniture from one residence to another. But home interiors often had fixed decorative features, such as stained-glass windows.

Henry III's tastes in furnishings are recorded very carefully, with interesting and attractive details. In 1235-36, for example, he ordered that his hall at Winchester Castle be decorated with images of a map of the world and a wheel of fortune. Since then, these decorations have not survived, but the well-known round table of King Arthur, possibly created between 1250 and 1280, remains in the interior.


Winchester Castle with King Arthur's Round Table hanging on the wall

A large area of ​​castles played an important role in luxurious life. Parks were created for hunting, a jealously guarded privilege of aristocrats; gardens were also in demand. A description of the construction of Kirby Maxlowe's castle in Leicestershire that has come down to us says that its owner, Lord Hastings, began laying out gardens at the very beginning of the castle's construction in 1480.

In the Middle Ages, rooms with beautiful views were also loved. One group of 13th-century rooms at the castles of Leeds in Kent, Corfe in Dorset and Chepstow in Monmouthshire were called gloriettes (from the French gloriette, a diminutive of glory) for their splendor.

Tip : The interior of the castle should be luxurious enough to attract visitors and friends. Entertainment can win battles without having to expose itself to the dangers of combat.

how a childhood dream became an adult business

Summer is coming - the time of school holidays and children's expanse in the country. For many families, the Soviet "six acres" are a thing of the past - people are trying to buy a large plot of land with a forest, in such a territory there is a place for a spacious house, and for landscape design, and for barbecues, and for playgrounds. In recent years, tree houses have been gaining popularity in Russia - a story that came from America and won the love of not only children, but also adults. The treehouse is associated with a childhood dream of adventure, a private nook where you can secretly with friends or read a book, but the industry has long stepped over this framework - treehouses have turned into quite adult entertainment.

One of the world leaders in this field is the American Pete Nelson and his company Treehouse Masters. To get an idea of ​​how amazing tree houses can be, just take a look at their Instagram. In the meantime, MIR 24 spoke with representatives of three Russian companies about children's houses not a tree - whether all breeds are suitable for construction, is it safe for the trees themselves and how long such a house can serve.

Ivan Chernov, GnezDom, Zelenograd:

“Our business started in 2012, and in 2016 my partner, Alexander Bolnykh, and I left our jobs and organized a company. Then our workshop was placed in a car, now we are professionally engaged in the construction of tree houses in an equipped spacious workshop. Why houses? This whole story is connected with the psychological needs of a person. When we are children, we begin to feel the limits of our boundaries, when we are comfortable or uncomfortable, to seek security. Someone builds a fortress from blankets and pillows, someone builds huts from sticks, someone dugouts, someone builds tree houses. This is all a realization of the need for security. Then we grow up, and this need is already realized in an apartment, a private house, and our office. But we always subconsciously dream of returning to childhood, remembering how carefree we were - when the trees were taller and the ice cream tasted better.

The construction of houses in Russia is not regulated by law, they are not capital buildings. There are norms for playgrounds, we work with these GOSTs and, accordingly, fulfill all these requirements: calculation of fences for different heights, entrances and exits of children's slides, distances between game elements so that children do not intersect. There are standards for timber-frame housing construction, we also use these standards, because, in fact, we build American-style frame houses. When we attach directly to trees, we use the American Treehouse attachment bolt (TAB) system. It was invented by American Michael Garnier. This technology has been tested and used for more than 30 years in the global tree house construction market. The pioneers in this industry are the Americans, now the Europeans are actively building, there are teams in South America, Russia, Ukraine. This is a large and friendly community.

Trees with a well-developed root system and sufficiently dense wood are suitable for building houses. Pine and spruce have a normal density, but not the strongest root system. Oak, maple, ash are good... Trees with soft wood should either be avoided or other methods of securing the house should be used. In American culture, for example, a treehouse is anything that is above ground and has a platform with trees running through it.

We often hear the position of clients that they would not want to cause even minimal damage to trees, then we put the house on support pillars at a height of two meters, pass the trees through the platform and thus achieve the desired effect. Often there is a question: what to do if there are no trees at all? In this case, the house is placed on supports, then with the help of a landscape designer, landings are made around it, or a large-sized tree is planted (if the customer's resources allow), or a small tree is planted that will grow with the child.

TAB is safe for both the tree and the structure it supports. Much more dangerous is the system of so-called wells, when a tree is surrounded by vertical or horizontal pieces of wood and then squeezed with a cable, studs or chain. The problem is that in this case almost the entire field of its supply is clamped. Using TAB, we drill a small hole with a diameter of 64 mm without interrupting the flow of juice. Over time, the tree grows and "eats" this glass. In the case of a well, if it is not stretched (and often clients do not), the tree simply goes around this choke and dies.

A parent's task is to bring up a child harmoniously, and a treehouse is a great tool. This is a space where you can create, play, at the same time, this is a secluded place that can be equipped with various game elements so that the child develops physically: slides, a climbing wall, a rope, a fire pole, a net. The bungee is a must have on every site. We even had a tree house project with insulation, heating, Wi-Fi, a triple bed and a personal panda park. The clients signed a property transfer agreement with the children, that is, the children decide whether to invite their parents to visit or not. Of course, they invite them, and their parents spend the night there with them. Now there are more and more requests for full-fledged tree houses, this culture is actively developing in Russia.”

Anton Sinkevich, Tree House Company, St. Petersburg:

your space. So I built the first tree house, it still hangs on a birch. I liked this job and it seemed promising. My wife and I looked at what is offered on the market, and found almost nothing. Then I advertised on Avito, where the first orders began to come from, and then I organized my own website.

By profession, I was originally a joiner and carpenter. Then he entered the institute and took up the installation of metal structures. Then it was the Forest Engineering Academy, now it is the St. Petersburg Forest Engineering University. I graduated with honors, entered graduate school, then received a Ph.D. - all this in various forest areas. In parallel, while I was studying, I worked in forest management for 10 years. As a result, I have accumulated a vast knowledge base about wood science, materials science, forest plants, forest diseases. That is, I know trees, ranging from anatomy-physiology, ending with forestry on a national scale; processes occurring with a single tree, with a group of trees, with forest stands, and so on. Not every tree, not every breed, can be fixed with a house. The weight should depend on the configuration of the tree species. The trees themselves, which I inspect before starting construction and design, I always evaluate according to silvicultural criteria: how healthy, viable it is, what load-bearing load it has. In cases where there is doubt, a special tool is drilled and a core is pulled out - a column of wood that determines the age of the tree and the presence of rot or disease inside.

There are a lot of requests now, as the idea is starting to gain popularity. In 90% of cases, my houses are fixed only on trees and are not connected to the ground in any way.

This is a space that lives with the tree, sways along with it, creaks. The child in it holds on to the trunk, listens to how the tree breathes - everything is for this. This is a children's story - not a heavy structure without insulation, plumbing and the like. Play equipment does not really fit into my concept either. A house is your own space where you can hide, sit, raise a ladder so that no one touches or sees you. And if you hang all sorts of bungee ropes, climbing frames on the house - this is another thing. The finished playground can be placed at the other end of the site and play there.

The height depends on the courage of the child, the maximum I did was about 4.2 meters from the ground. Parents are fully responsible for safety. The most popular requests are for railings and stairs: for some reason, most parents believe that the child will fall at the moment when he goes up or down from the house. Everything else depends on the trees: no two houses are the same, because no two trees are the same. On one large tree with a diameter of 26 centimeters or more at the height of the lower trim, you can make a house measuring 2.5 by 2.5 meters. Such a house weighs approximately 500-600 kg. A house four by five meters will already weigh about three tons. There must be many trees to support such a load.

The technology I use does not harm the tree. In a special way I press the beam to the tree, drill it through with a drill, put a hairpin, tighten the nuts - something like this. Which beam is attached to which tree is an individual component of each project. The ascending flow of fluid in a tree occurs in the trunk, the descending one - along the bast or along the bark, that is, between the bark and the wood. When drilling through a tree, I make the contact spot with the beam smaller than if I wrapped around the trunk with some kind of large collar and squeezed it from both sides. If you have seen trees that are strongly compressed by some kind of cable, they usually dry out because the downward current is being clamped. It harms the tree much more than a piece of metal of small diameter, drilled through.

What percentage of the trunk circumference can be squeezed and subjected to injury varies depending on the species, age of the tree, weight of the house, condition of the tree. Pine has a crust, not so it is damaged. You can’t work with a Christmas tree like that, because it has a thin bark, the deformation will be larger and deeper. It is better not to work with aspen at all - it starts to rot early, by the age of 40, then it is attacked by tinder fungi, etc. A thin aspen will be healthy, and an aspen with a diameter of more than 24 cm will, as a rule, be already affected, that is, its bearing capacity will be much lower. You can build on birches, oaks, beeches, ash trees, bird cherry. Once I built a house on a gray alder. This is a tree of the second magnitude, but it is short-lived, I dissuaded people. They still wanted it - they said that in two years, if the tree dries out, they will dismantle it.

I estimate the service life of the house - five to seven years, but in general it will sag more. Last summer, I took apart a house that had been hanging for 18 years. It was made by a person who simply nailed the boards to a tree with nails - no struts, complex weighting elements, nothing was attracted by the studs . .. The reason for such durability is good ventilation. Less fluctuation in temperature than at the surface of the earth, that is, the house is well ventilated, moisture evaporates faster, the boards rot less. This is where operational aspects come into play. If the house is actively used, the wood will wear off. If these places are tinted every year, then 10 years will stand 100%. And then the need passes, because the children grow up.

Nikolai Lutov, MneDomik, Moscow:

“The story of my building treehouses began about five or six years ago. At first, I built a small house on the ground for my daughter, I saw the reaction of the children and realized that it was really very necessary. I began to look at what we have on the market in terms of the construction of children's facilities - at that time the situation was not very good. And I decided to do it. Later he took on more serious buildings: large playgrounds, tree houses and others.

An ideal house should definitely be at a height of at least three meters and at least six to eight meters in area. If a house is considered for living, then it is already from 20 meters or more. The law does not regulate the construction of houses. The question of whether this structure is capital or not capital is regulated. There are no signs that this building is capital (foundation, availability of communications, etc.). If the house is made with communications for commercial use, then here you can “pull” signs of capitalization onto the object itself. But none of my clients have experienced this.

There are two technologies: we often use the German one, this is a crimp fastener, which is made directly based on the dimensions of the tree. It consists of several segments that are bolted together. The tree grows, so you need to loosen these bolts about once every five years, this is done quite easily. The second technology is when a garnier bolt is screwed into a tree. All stem flows successfully bypass it, the tree is easily restored. One big bolt is better than 10 small ones. And if the customer has a desire to dismantle this house, we recommend that in no case unscrew the bolt, but simply cut it off. An important nuance is if the house is attached to several trees at once. Since they tend to sway in the wind, in order for the house not to be torn apart, certain sliding fasteners must be installed.

Houses with additional supports are popular with us, and trees often play a decorative role. With the help of supports, you can fix additional elements in the form of nets, climbing walls. Trees pass through the house, through the platform on which the house stands, and all the load is concentrated on the posts. On Christmas trees, we generally do not recommend doing load-bearing things, since the Christmas tree has a superficial root system. Spruce often brings down during hurricanes. Birch in the Leningrad, Moscow regions often has a rotten core. The core will show what is happening with the birch at the moment, but you will not do it every month. Pine, oak, larch, bird cherry, acacia are excellent for building a house. In other cases, we suggest making additional supports.

Of the most interesting projects we've done, I really liked the ship that stood on two trees. The customer is a former sailor, his son loves the nautical theme, and they asked to make a ship with a mast, a long bow - about seven meters long. And the house itself is a felling. Another customer asked for maximum glazing. Of the load-bearing and frame wooden elements, there was a minimum, everything else was glass, painted by the artist with stained glass paints. When you are in this facility on a sunny day, and the rays of light pass through the stained-glass windows, leaving beautiful drawings on the floor, it seems that you have entered a magical land. As a rule, our adult customers are also very fond of spending time in these houses.


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