University of Florida

Tree Houses

Tree houses conjure up pleasant childhood memories for many. Even for those who didn't grow up with one, a tree house might seem like a fun place for their own children.

However, tree houses aren't much fun for the tree. Driving nails and bolts into a tree can damage it, and tying chains or ropes around branches may eventually cut off growth.

The good news is that you can build a great tree house without using screws, nails, or ropes to attach it to the tree. Build a sturdy free-standing tree house from the ground up for a tree-friendly play area at leaf level. Ropes, ladders, and bridges can connect the tree houses for maximum enjoyment of the tree's canopy.

Consider safety—even normal winds can cause serious damage to a tree house as the tree moves—and consult a professional carpenter for complex jobs.

It's best to consult a professional arborist beforehand, not to mention your neighhors, who might be concerned about privacy. Also look into community guidelines—some homeowner associations don't allow tree houses.

Also on Gardening in a Minute

Other Sites