I explained in an earlier post that this summer we planned to be less preoccupied with farm projects and a bit more intentional about enjoying the summer with our kids. One of the ways we were going to accomplish this was to build the treehouse we’ve been promising them.
Building a treehouse that consists of more than a few nails and some scrap boards is kind of a big deal. Ryan decided to take a four-day weekend to kick start the project. I began referring to it as “The Four-Day Treehouse Weekend” (4DTW). We cleared our schedules and I stocked the fridge with quick, easy meals along with lemonade and water for refreshing the workers. We were so excited for our weekend to begin.
Using the plans in the treehouse book Ryan purchased, we selected two healthy-looking, mature trees and began designing the structure.
Day 1Ryan began by attaching two 2x10s on both sides of the trees with lag screws. Next he built the platform with 2×8 boards. The platform is roughly 8×8 feet. Ryan, Elijah and I carried this very heavy platform over to the support beams and propped it up. We weren’t sure how in the world we were going to get that thing on top! It’s over 7 feet off the ground; way above our heads. Elijah got on one side with a rope to help pull it (like that was going to do anything!) and Ryan and I heave-hoed the platform on top. I think we were both surprised it actually worked quite easily. He had to hop on a ladder once we had it halfway on to push it over. Success! Ryan screwed the platform to the support beams. And that’s a wrap for Day 1.
Time to attach the corner supports. Until this step is done, the platform is not safe to be on. Abigail wished to be a part of the building process, so here she is trying to screw a lag into the tree. All four corner supports are now up. This day was a very slow day, with multiple set-backs, broken tools and a trip into town for more supplies.
Ryan began screwing 2x6s down for the floor. As soon as he had a section of boards up, making the platform a bit safer, our oldest son, Elijah, got to join Dad and (very carefully) help screw in floorboards. Floorboards are all screwed in.
Handrails are under construction. Ryan used 2x4s attached to 4x4s in each corner and middle.
It turns out that four days is not enough to finish a treehouse project of this magnitude! By Day 5, Ryan taught me to use the screw driver and drill, and I drilled and attached my fair share of railing boards. All hands on deck to finish this project!
Finally, after six days, the treehouse is complete! Ryan finished the railings with 2x2s, added a gate, built a ladder with 2x6s, and added a bucket on a rope and pulley. Lying on the platform and looking up at the sky is one of my favorite features of the treehouse. The bucket and pulley was one of the easiest and cheapest additions to the treehouse, but is proving to be a highlight for the kids.
The treehouse is high enough off the ground that it feels quite adventurous (and super fun!) to be on.
When the treehouse was finally complete and the kids came up to check out the new features, Caleb (6) said “We have the best dad in the world.” ❤ Aww, that’s what this is all about. The kids will never forget this treehouse and we hope they spend many fond moments in it.
But we aren’t done yet! We have ordered a zip line to add to this “adventure platform!” It will run about 90 feet from the treehouse to the oak tree to the right of that white post (that’s actually a bird feeder). Ryan will need to trim some branches to clear the route, but we are all pretty excited to receive our zip line kit and get it installed.
That’s all for the treehouse this year. Next year, we’ve talked about adding a second platform on the ground for a clubhouse, and connecting the two platforms with a slide and a speaking tube (you need a way to pass secret messages, right?)