The right tree house designs for any garden – even ones without trees

The appeal of tree houses is both timeless and ageless. If you’re in any doubt, simply take a look at any boutique travel website – you’ll find treetop getaways for adults all over the world. This proves that no matter how old we get, the sight of a beautifully built tree house never fails to impress. 

Bring that same magic to your garden by choosing from a range of tree house designs, and you’ll delight your children and your whole neighbourhood too.

Hondarribia-Irun - Our guide to building to the perfect tree house design explains everything you need to know, even if your garden is bare.

Finding the right spot

To build a tree house in your own back garden, you’ll need to choose tree house plans that work for the space and the trees you already have. For larger structures, you’ll need to spread the tree house across several branches or across the trunks of several trees. The more large branches or trunks you have available, the larger and heavier your tree house can be. Branches should be at least eight inches in diameter to be sturdy enough for your structure, and should be load-bearing – so firmly attached to the tree itself. Ideal varieties include hardwood varieties such as oak, beech or maple, and should be healthy to give you extra stability over time. 

Building a safe tree house

The height of your tree house design depends on a number of factors. To begin with, you should aim for the structure to be higher than head height, but no higher than eight feet off the ground. This means you and your children won't bang their heads underneath, but the risk of injuries from falls is also reduced. If your garden is open and gets very windy, your tree house should be lower down so it’s not at risk of being damaged by strong gusts. However, if you have some shelter from other trees or walls you can look to go a little higher.Keeping the floor level is one of the most important parts of making tree house designs safe and sturdy, and spreading the beams across several branches, trunks or cantilevers can help to create an even surface. 

Mastering the tips and tricks

Building the structure too close to the trunk of a tree is a common mistake you should always avoid. If a tree trunk is pressed right up against the walls or beams of a tree house, it can restrict growth or, even worse, the trunk could grow and damage the tree house as it does.If you don’t have any trees at all, your children don’t need to miss out - simply look for freestanding tree house plans on stilts. Always check with your local authority before choosing tree house plans, in case there are regulations to consider.And don’t worry about building everything in the air, you can always build some segments of the tree house on the ground and hoist them up into the tree when they’re done. 

Making an outdoor investment

Tree houses are just one of the many garden design elements that can add value to your home, not just financially but also in terms of the happiness and family time spent planning, building and enjoying the finished article. 

Take a look at our other outdoor living suggestions to make the most of your garden in many different ways.

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