The Treehouse Project: Part 1 – Research

Photo credit: Spencer Wright.

Photo credit: Spencer Wright.

I’m fortunate enough that my suburban existence includes a home featuring ample backyard space. It makes up for the fact that a quality bakery serving up fresh bagels is really nowhere to be found out here. So while my periodic cravings for boiled, ring shaped bread products may be going unfulfilled, I can happily stare out at my yard on a regular basis and imagine random DIY fun I can have back there. In many ways, the woodsy lot is similar to the the one I grew up on in Connecticut. Thus, it’s hard for me not to recall memories of un-permitted construction projects the neighborhood kids and I took on during our youth.

Hell will probably freeze over before my wife lets me construct a half-pipe in the backyard and attempt to turn one of my sons into Tony Hawk. But a treehouse, that’s a different story. While I’m not sure I need to go through her permitting process to get approval to break ground on construction (yes, I’m pretty sure I can get the kids jazzed up with a fancy ground breaking ceremony involving a golden shovel), my intuition is telling me that I should see what zoning regulations she’s filed away in her head. Imagine the sadness on the faces of my young boys when she comes marching out into the backyard with a stop work order. Imagine their wounded imaginations. Imagine my wounded pride.

When I was young, we lived on a street where some new homes were being built. Basically, we staged midnight raids, snagged sheets of plywood, a bunch of 2-by-4s, and did our best to channel our inner Bob Vila. Looking back on it, I’m amazed we actually built something that not only stayed upright, but it also didn’t hurt anyone. I doubt that approach will satisfy our home’s zoning supervisor. So what I need is a good plan. That first means some good research. Below are some of the best books, blogs, and websites I’ve found. Start soaking these up if you’re thinking of taking on your own treehouse construction project.


New Treehouses of the World

New Treehouses of the World

The Treehouse Book

The Treehouse Book

Those two books are coffee table style books rich with pictures of amazing treehouses. While they are beautiful and inspiring, if you’re an inexperienced carpenter and need some step-by-step guidance, the following book is one to add to your cart.

Black and Decker Complete Guide To treehouses

Black and Decker Complete Guide to Treehouses


All About Tree Houses

The Treehouse Guy

Complete plans you can buy – There are a lot of places on the Web where you can purchase or download a treehouse construction plan, but Treehouse Guides provides downloadable plans that are very thorough and lay out everything you need to know. From selecting a tree to purchasing materials and actual step by step instructions taking you through every aspect of the process–very much worth the price.

What’s next

In the next article of this series, I’ll share my treehouse plan and show what tree I’m using as the “base”

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