DIY Tree Fort | A Step-by-Step Guide

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Step One: Find a clump of three or more trees. We happened to have 4 cedars growing close together.

Step Two: Design something! While a traditional tree house is fun, we opted for a basic tree fort with no roof. This felt easier for us to maintain and keep an eye on little ones from afar. No guessing what they are up to behind walls. It also gets hot here! This allows the wind to blow through.

Step Three: Secure the larger beams to the trees. We did this by drilling holes through the trees and boards with an auger bit, then using some all thread rod, washers and nuts to tie it all together. Use a level during this part!

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Step Four: Lay your boards! Because we had four trees to work with we made two over lapping triangles. Once all the beams were in place we decked the two triangles, just like building a deck on the ground. Remember to orient the deck boards so that the “bark” side is up. This helps the boards shed water, thus preventing bowing.

Step Five: Finishing touches! We added a small railing around the perimeter. While this wouldn’t be to code on an actual deck, because it’s a little tree fort, we got creative with the railing. And then added a rope ladder!

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Because our structure is permanently attached to the trees, it is considered real estate and conveys with the property. While it doesn’t necessarily add or detract from the overall value of the home, a tree house/fort can be used for marketing purposes. I personally think a tree house is great for families with children and even empty-nesters with grand kids who visit. When installed correctly, maintenance is simple and quick, annually.

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