How to build a tree house?

Followers of 80s cartoons most likely remember Tom sawyer, this Japanese television series adapted from Adventures of Tom Sawyer, novel by American writer Mark Twain published in 1876, which starred Tom Sawyer, a young American orphan in the XIXe century in pre-Civil War Missouri, and his wandering friend Huckleberry Finn – hero of another novel by the same author, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, appeared in 1884. It is this friend “Huck” who, at the beginning of the series, will build a makeshift “house”: a cabin suspended among the trees on the banks of the Mississippi River.

A cabin, what for?

Unlike Huck, you are not – at least we hope – homeless. In addition, if you are reading this article because you are interested in the topic, it is a priori because you have, or are about to do so, a house with a garden, a garden in which at least one tree sits majestically.

That’s it ? Have you made up your mind? Are you seduced by the idea of ​​building something with your own hands, of feeling the satisfaction of the work accomplished and of being able to contemplate it daily near your home? It’s a great decision! Besides the pleasure of tinkering, alone or with others – essential here for safety reasons, see further -, you will be delighted with this “new room”, to look at and to experience.

Children will have fun there like crazy, giving free rein to their legendary imagination and creativity. For adults, a perched shelter allows them to cut themselves off from urban or domestic life, disconnect from electronics, isolate themselves to work, concentrate, dream, relax, imagine, rest, recharge their batteries. Because it also allows you to get closer to harmony with nature, the environment created by a treehouse is ideal for reading, writing, composing, playing, painting, so many artistic and manual activities of which we have need to suspend time in a world where everything goes so fast. In short, “secondary resilience” at a lower cost.

What materials, tools, wood treatment?

A “100% recycled” construction would be ideal, but unrealistic and above all relatively dangerous. Even if you want to paraphrase Mark Twain – “They didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it” -, be pragmatic and efficient, in particular for the elements which will support the structure of your cabin: they must be of unfailing stability and solidity.

For wood, the classics boards recovered from pallets and driftwood (large and thick branches fallen in the streams and more or less polished by time) will be able to do the trick for the side faces and the roof, but it is not easy to find in quantity and which are in an exploitable state. It is recommended to get closer to specialist suppliers, many on the internet, in addition to the traditional DIY stores. They generally offer two ranges for each species: raw wood and planed wood. The latter, slightly more expensive, is to be preferred to avoid very unpleasant splinters when handling the boards.

When it comes to cabin construction, the preferred wood species for their strength are pine, the’spruce and the douglas, three conifers of the Pinaceae family which are particularly suitable for exterior constructions. As such, such an arrangement potentially confronted with bad weather requires a stainless steel screws to avoid as much as possible the risk of rust.

For the ties, where applicable, steel wire dedicated to gardening as well as ropes or cords treated to withstand the outside will be perfect.

the wood treatment, essential for the life of your shelter, is generally very polluting. There is an ecological alternative which, however, has the drawback of a relatively long drying time, from several days to two or three weeks depending on the case and the number of coats: “Norway tar”, also called “Swedish tar” or “liquid pitch”, discovered by the Vikings to nourish and protect the wood of their drakkars. It is a vegetable tar obtained by carbonification of pine, which should not be confused with creosote, which is prohibited from use.

At the level of the tools, prefer electric (screwdriver, saw, etc.). If you can easily fix a hook on a door with the sole force of your hands with the help of a screwdriver, the repetition of the task and the hardness of certain materials here could make your life difficult and discourage you. To facilitate screwing without altering the solidity of the fasteners, opt for the “pre-holes”, made with a drill with a drill with a diameter rather smaller than that of the screw.

To bring different elements of the hut up high, think, finally, of the cable and pulley systems.

Regarding the ” combat uniform “, for your comfort and your safety, you will also adopt gloves and closed clothes and shoes. Glasses are also recommended during drilling and sawing operations.

Which design method respects nature?

Plan ahead and be pragmatic: draw from sketch and plans, same approximate. If you are comfortable with computer tools, you will find many devices on the internet to help you model in 3D the cabin of your dreams.

Of course, your treehouse in your garden is, among other objectives, to bring you closer to nature. Therefore, you are committed to protecting it, including the tree you are about to invest. In this case, there is two main modes Design for a cabin that do not damage the tree : the clamping flange and the structure on stilts. It is neither essential nor desirable to dig or drill the tree to secure its structure.

If you are not confident in your DIY skills, train first with constructions intended for smaller inhabitants: birds, your cat, your dog.

From tutorials and plans very detailed and very educational are available on many websites, for free or for a few euros.

Pay attention to safety

It would obviously be very unfortunate if the pleasure of building and the happiness of having a tree house in your garden turn into a drama. To prevent this risk as well as possible, various precautions are necessary.

The importance of lift

Check the stability in all angles of the “living” area. Depending on the type of construction, the tree is more or less “bearing” of the structure. Make sure that the branches that support certain weights are not rotting.

Your safety during construction

Do not carry out the work alone, consult relatives who know a little about it or sworn experts, follow the basic DIY safety instructions (gloves, shoes, protective glasses) and, where applicable, those relating to working at height (harnesses, guardrails, etc.).

Everyone’s safety after construction

As the structure is installed at a height, the risk of elements or people falling to the ground cannot be excluded, in particular in the event of severe weather (storm, heavy rains, storms).

If the falls from a perched hut do not appear in the “news” sections of the local press, it is mainly because the vast majority of them are designed by qualified installers complying with safety standards and carrying out regular checks. As such, the operation of the cabins for hoteliers has been authorized in France since 2007 and some of them are federated, affiliated to a network, such as Cabanes de France.

For individuals, it’s “another pair of boards”, so be careful, especially if you want to “occupy” your construction adventurer, in addition to its decorative function.

Solidity, stability and accessibility should be given priority when designing and building your cabin. As such, it is necessary to know how to consider the worst to prevent it: on the ground, soft and generous vegetation will cushion any possible fall, the ideal being, a few centimeters higher, the installation of a safety net, why not recovered near a fishery or a fishing port if you live by the sea.

These few ideas intended to help you imagine the cabin of your dreams and make it real are not limiting: give free rein to your creativity (design, recovered materials, etc.) while remaining reasonable in terms of safety and security. harmony with nature.